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Poem by Robert Burns

Scotch Drink

        Gie him strong drink, until he wink,
          Thatís sinking in despair;
        Aní liquor guid to fire his bluid,
          Thatís prest wií grief aní care;
        There let him bouse, aní deep carouse,
          Wií bumpers flowing oíer,
        Till he forgets his love, or debts,
          Aní minds his griefs no more.
                Solomon (Proverbs xxxi. 6, 7).

LET other Poets raise a fracas
ĎBout vines, aní wines, aní drunken Bacchus,
Aní crabbed names aní stories wrack us,
    Aní grate our lug;
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
    In glass or jug.

O thou, my Muse! guid auld Scotch Drink,
Whether throí wimplin worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,
    In glorious faem,
Inspire ms, till I lisp aní wink,
    To sing thy name!

Let husky wheat the baughs adorn,
Aní aits set up their awnie horn,
Aní pease aní beans at een or morn,
    Perfume the plain;
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn,
    Thou King oí grain!

On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale oí food!
Or tumbliní in the boiling flood
    Wií kail aní beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heartís blood,
    here thou shines chief.

Food fills the wame, aní keeps us liviní;
Thoí lifeís a gift no worth receiviní,
When heavy-draggíd wií pine aní grieviní;
    But, oilíd by thee,
The wheels oí life gae down-hill, scrieviní
    Wií rattliní glee.

Thou clears the head oí doited Lear:
Thou cheers the heart oí drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves oí Labour sair,
    Atís weary toil:
Thou even brightens dark Despair
    Wií gloomy smile.

Aft, clad in massy siller weed,
Wií gentles thou erects thy head;
Yet humbly kind, in time oí need,
    The poor manís wine,
His wee drap parritch, or his bread,
    Thou kitchens fine.

Thou art the life oí public haunts;
But thee, what were our fairs and rants?
Evín godly meetings oí the saunts,
    By thee inspiríd,
When gaping they besiege the tents,
    Are doubly firíd.

That merry night we get the corn in!
O sweetly then thou reams the horn in!
Or reekiní on a New-Year morniní
    In cog or bicker,
Aní just a wee drap spíritual burn in,
    Aní gusty sucker!

When Vulcan glee his bellows breath,
Aní ploughmen gather wií their graith,
O rare to see thee fizz aní freath
    Ií thí lugged caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like death
    At evíry chaup.

Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel;
The brawnie, bathe, ploughman chiel,
Brings hard owrehip, wií sturdy wheel,
    The strong forehammer.
Till block aní studdie ring aní reel
    Wií dinsome clamour.

When skirliní weanies see the light,
Thou maks the gossips clatter bright
How fumbliní cuifs their dearies slight-
    Wae worth the name!
Nae Howdie gets a social night,
    Or plack frae them.

When neibors anger at a plea,
Aní just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley-bree
    Cement the quarrel!
Itís aye the cheapest lawyerís fee
    To taste the barrel.

Alaken that eíer my Muse has reason
To wyte her countrymen wií treason;
But mony daily weet their weasaní
    Wií liquors nice,
Aní hardly, in a winterís season,
    Eíer spier her price.

Was worth that brandy, burning trash!
Fell source oí mony a pain aní brash!
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken bash,
    Oí half his days;
Aní sends, beside, auld Scotlandís cash
    To her warst faes.

Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well,
Ye chief; to you my tale I tell,
Poor plackleas devils like myselí!
    It sets you ill,
Wií bitter, dearthfuí wines to mell,
    Or foreign gill.

May gravels round his blather wrench,
Aní gouts torment him, inch by inch,
Wha twists his gruntle wií a glunch
    Oí sour disdain,
Out owre a glass oí whisky punch
    Wií honest men!

O Whisky! soul oí plays aní pranks!
Accept a bardieís gratefuí thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
    Are my poor verses!
Thou comes-they rattle ií their ranks
    At itherís areas!

Thee, Ferintosh!  O sadly lost!
Scotland, lament frae coast to coast!
Now colic-grips aní barkiní hoast
    May kill us aí;
For loyal Forbesí charteríd boast
    Is taíen awa!

Thae curst horse-leeches oí thí Excise,
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize-
Haud up thy hand, deil!  Ance-twice-thrice!
    There, seize the blinkers!
Aní bake them up in brunstane pies
    For poor damníd drinkers.

Fortune! if thouí11 but gie me still
Hale breeks, a bannock, and a gill,
Aní rowth oí rhyme to rave at will,
    Takí aí the rest,
Aní dealíd about as thy blind skill
    Directs thee best.


Robert Burns

Poem Theme: Whisky

Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. The Banks of Nith (THE THAMES flows proudly to the sea)
  2. The Flowery Banks of Cree
  3. Farewell to Ballochmyle
  4. Gala Water
  5. On a Bank of Flowers

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