O thou wild rantin' wicked wit;
Are thy works, thy fame livin' yet?
Will thae daft people never quit
An ne'er ha'e done
Disturbin' me in my black pit
Wi' Burn's fun.
Though mony years ha'e fled away
Sin' thou wert buried in the clay,
Thy rhymes, unto this vera day,
Are mair than laws;
Thy name's set up on ilka bra'
Wi' great applause.
And yet, thou wonder-workin' chiel,
I'd let ye' charm Scotch bodies weel,
But that "Address unto the De'il"
Made i' your sport,
Has raised a maist revengefu' squeel
In my black court.
Still by the names you gi'e I'm greeted,
By every Lallan tongue repeated,
I canna turn but what I meet it,
In toun or village;
My bluid, though hot enough, is heated
Till't boils wi' rage.
My deeds that ha'e been handed down,
Sin' I aspired to Heaven's crown,
By thee, Rab, lad, dressed up in rhyme,
To do me skaith,
Are circling still the empire roun'
After thy death.
Ye say I roam in search o' prey,
An' rest na' neither nicht nor day;
A' that ye heard ye'r grannie say
Ye hae confest,
An' mair than hinted at my stay
In Robin's breast.
My secret agents everywhere,
A' Scotland roun', but maist in Ayr,
O guid abuse their ain' an' mair
Ye try to gie them;
Nae credit tae ye that ye were
Acquainted wi' them.
O' ghaists an' kelpies deeds, you ken,
Hauntin' the foord and lonely glen,
Lurin' the tipsy sons of men
In bogs to die;
0' auld wives girnin' but an'ben
Ower bewitched Rye.
An' screeden down, wi' wicked han',
0' my deep laid successfu' plan;
Vexed at the idlest o' man,
Your faither Adam;
That got him sent to till the lan',
Him and his madam.
You are like money I ha'e saw,
For though ye kenned I caused the fa',
An' as ye say, "maist ruined a',"
In that same hour,
You did na strive to get ava
Out o' my power
At Kirk you'd neither pray nor praise,
But on the lassies ye wad gaze,
Notice neat feet, blue eyes, fine claes,
Or Jenny's bonnet,
An makin rhyme on what ye ha'e,
Seen creeping on it.
Hech Rab ye were na blate ava,
Ae time ye're mockin Kirk an' a',
An' then tae me ye gie' your jaw,
Or my abode,
An' tell how weel I laid my claw
On patient Job.
Aye! an' although ye richt weel knew
That I wi' masons had to do
Ye could na' rest, oh, no, not you!
Till numbered wi' them;
Gi'en your "heart's warm fond adieu,"
When gaun to lea them.
An' aft ye did your sire provoke,
By jest and jeer at better folk,
A' solemn thought wad end in smoke,
Sae wad his teachin',
And fun wad fly in jibe an' joke
At lang faced preachin'.
The mair they frowned, you joked the mair,
0' grave ye had a scanty share,
The verra text ya wadna spare,
Be't e'er sae holy,
An' rhymin' ower the pithy prayer
O' pious Willie
Aye' Rab, ye, rail it at me and mine,
Yet hungert after things divine,
I kenn'd how sairly ye wad pine,
For deeds ill done;
Ower talents lost, ower wasted time,
For sake o' fun
An' then remorse wi' pickled rod,
Wad gie' ye mony a lash an' prod,
But aye ye went the rantin' road,
An prone tae err,
You sair misca'd douce men o' God
An Holy Fair.
I winna say it is untrue
What's certified o' me by you,
If ilka ane their duty'd do
As quick an' weel,
As I, my certie! they'd get through,
Spite o' the De'il.
There's ae guid turn ye did for me,
An' I acknowledge't full an' free,
In praisin' up the barley bree
"In tuneful line;"
Nae bard but you its praise could gie
In words sae fine
An' listen tae me 'Rab, my man,
I dinna ken a better plan,
To ser' my turn wi'silly man
An wark them ill,
Than charming them to pleasure drawn
Frae the whisky gill,
This is what gars me maist complain,
Maist as weel kenned as mine's your name,
Auld Scotia claims ye as her ain,
Her dearest one;
An' that daft gilpey, Madam Fame,
Owns thee her son.
I thocht that jests wad flee fu' fain,
Forgetfulness come in again,
That I wad claim ye as my ain,
Tae baud an bin' ye
But noo through a' o' my domain
I canna fin' ye.
Noo fare ye weel, whaure'er ye be,
Ane thing I ken ye're no wi' me,
I ha'e searched high an' low to see,
By spells an' turns;
Sae I maun even let ye be,
O Robert Burns.
G. Hill, 1840.