To Gavin Hamilton, Esq., Mauchline. (Recommending A Boy.)

A poem by Robert Burns

Mossgiel, May 3, 1786.


I hold it, Sir, my bounden duty,
To warn you how that Master Tootie,
Alias, Laird M'Gaun,
Was here to hire yon lad away
'Bout whom ye spak the tither day,
An' wad ha'e done't aff han':
But lest he learn the callan tricks,
As, faith, I muckle doubt him,
Like scrapin' out auld Crummie's nicks,
An' tellin' lies about them;
As lieve then, I'd have then,
Your clerkship he should sair,
If sae be, ye may be
Not fitted otherwhere.


Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough,
An' bout a house that's rude an' rough
The boy might learn to swear;
But then, wi' you, he'll be sae taught,
An' get sic fair example straught,
I havena ony fear.
Ye'll catechize him every quirk,
An' shore him weel wi' Hell;
An' gar him follow to the kirk,
Ay when ye gang yoursel'.
If ye then, maun be then
Frae hame this comin' Friday;
Then please Sir, to lea'e Sir,
The orders wi' your lady.

My word of honour I hae gien,
In Paisley John's, that night at e'n,
To meet the Warld's worm;
To try to get the twa to gree,
An' name the airles[1] an' the fee,
In legal mode an' form:
I ken he weel a snick can draw,
When simple bodies let him;
An' if a Devil be at a',
In faith he's sure to get him.
To phrase you, an' praise you,
Ye ken your Laureat scorns:
The pray'r still, you share still,

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