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Poem by Robert Burns

On a Scotch Bard, Gone to the West Indies

A YE wha live by sowps o drink,
A ye wha live by crambo-clink,
A ye wha live an never think,
    Come mourn wi me!
Our billies gien us a a jink,
    An owre the sea.

Lament him, a ye rantin core,
Wha dearly like a random-splore;
Nae mair hell join the merry roar,
    In social key;
For now hes taen anither shore,
    An owre the sea!

The bonnie lasses weel may wiss him,
And in their dear petitions place him;
The widows, wives, an a may bless him,
    Wi tearfu ee;
For weel I wat theyll sairly miss him
    Thats owre the sea!

O Fortune, they hae room to grumble!
Hadst thou taen aff some drowsy bummle,
Wha can do nought but fyke an fumble,
    Twad been nae plea;
But he was gleg as ony wumble,
    Thats owre the sea!

Auld cantie Kyle may weepers wear,
An stain them wi the saut saut tear:
Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear,
    In flinders flee;
He was her Laureat mony a year,
    Thats owre the sea!

He saw misfortunes cauld nor-west
Lang mustering up a bitter blast;
A jillet brak his heart at last-
    Ill may she be!
So took a berth afore the mast,
    An owre the sea.

To tremble under Fortunes cummock
On scarce a bellyfu o drummock,
Wi his proud independent stomach,
    Could ill agree;
So rowd his hurdies in a hammock,
    An owre the sea.

He neer was gien to great misguidin,
Yet coin his pouches wad na bide in;
Wi him it neer was under hidin,
    He dealt it free:
The Muse was a that he took pride in,
    Thats owre the sea.

Jamaica bodies, use him weel,
An hap him in a cozie biel;
Yell find him aye a dainty chiel,
    And fu o glee;
He wad ma wrangd the vera deil,
    Thats owre the sea.

Fareweel, my rhyme-composing billie!
Your native soil was right ill-willie;
But may ye flourish like a lily,
    Now bonnilie!
Ill toast ye in my hindmost guile,
    Tho owre the sea!

Robert Burns

Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. The Sailors Song
  2. The Rantin Dog the Daddie Ot
  3. Had I The Wyte
  4. Evan Banks
  5. Address, Spoken by Miss Fontenelle, on her Benefit-night, December 4, 1793, at the Theatre, Dumfries

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