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Poem by Robert Fergusson


Braid Claith


Ye wha are fain to hae your name
Wrote in the bonny book of fame,
Let merit nae pretension claim
     To laurel'd wreath,
But hap ye weel, baith back and wame,
     In gude Braid Claith.

He that some ells o this may fa,
An' slae-black hat on pow like snaw,
Bids bauld to bear the gree awa,
     Wi a' this graith,
Whan bienly clad wi' shell fu braw
     O' gude Braid Claith.

Waesuck for him wha has na fek o't!
For he's a gowk they're sure to geck at,
A chiel that ne'er will be respekit
     While he draws breath,
Till his four quarters are bedeckit
     Wi gude Braid Claith.

On Sabbath-days the barber spark,
When he has done wi scrapin wark,
Wi siller broachie in his sark,
     Gangs trigly, faith!
Or to the Meadow, or the Park,
     In gude Braid Claith.

Weel might ye trou, to see them there,
That they to shave your haffits bare,
Or curl an' sleek a pickle hair,
     Would be right laith,
Whan pacing wi' a gawsy air
     In gude Braid Claith.

If ony mettl'd stirrah grien
For favour frae a lady's een,
He maunna care for being seen
     Before he sheath
His body in a scabbard clean
     O' gude Braid Claith.

For, gin he come wi coat thread-bare,
A feg for him she winna care,
But crook her bonny mou fu sair,
     And scald him baith.
Wooers shoud ay their travel spare
     Without Braid Claith.

Braid Claith lends fock an unco heese,
Makes mony kail-worms butter-flees,
Gies mony a doctor his degrees
     For little skaith:
In short, you may be what you please
     Wi gude Braid Claith.

For thof ye had as wise a snout on
As Shakespeare or Sir Isaac Newton,
Your judgment fouk would hae a doubt on,
          I'll tak my aith,
Till they coud see ye wi a suit on
          O' gude Braid Claith.



Robert Fergusson


Robert Fergusson's other poems:
  1. Ode to the Gowdspink
  2. To the Tron-Kirk Bell
  3. The Daft-Days
  4. The Sitting of the Session
  5. To Sir John Fielding, on His Attempts to Suppress The Beggars Opera


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