Sept. 13th, 1785.
Guid speed an' furder to you, Johnny,
Guid health, hale han's, an' weather bonny;
Now when ye're nickan down fu' canny
The staff o' bread,
May ye ne'er want a stoup o' bran'y
To clear your head.
May Boreas never thresh your rigs,
Nor kick your rickles aff their legs,
Sendin' the stuff o'er muirs an' haggs
Like drivin' wrack;
But may the tapmast grain that wags
Come to the sack.
I'm bizzie too, an' skelpin' at it,
But bitter, daudin' showers hae wat it,
Sae my auld stumpie pen I gat it
Wi' muckle wark,
An' took my jocteleg an' whatt it,
Like ony clark.
It's now twa month that I'm your debtor
For your braw, nameless, dateless letter,
Abusin' me for harsh ill nature
On holy men,
While deil a hair yoursel' ye're better,
But mair profane.
But let the kirk-folk ring their bells,
Let's sing about our noble sel's;
We'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills
To help, or roose us,
But browster wives an' whiskey stills,
They are the muses.
Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it
An' if ye mak' objections at it,
Then han' in nieve some day we'll knot it,
An' witness take,
An' when wi' Usquabae we've wat it
It winna break.
But if the beast and branks be spar'd
Till kye be gaun without the herd,
An' a' the vittel in the yard,
An' theekit right,
I mean your ingle-side to guard
Ae winter night.
Then muse-inspirin' aqua-vitæ
Shall make us baith sae blythe an' witty,
Till ye forget ye're auld an' gatty,
An' be as canty,
As ye were nine year less than thretty,
Sweet ane an' twenty!
But stooks are cowpet wi' the blast,
An' now the sin keeks in the west,
Then I maun rin amang the rest
An' quat my chanter;
Sae I subscribe myself in haste,
Yours, Rab the Ranter.