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Poem by Robert Burns


The Carle of Kellyburn Braes


THERE lived a carle on Kellyburn braes
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
And he had a wife was the plague o his days;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Ae day as the carle gaed up the lang glen
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
He met wi the Devil; says, How do you fen?
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Ive got a bad wife, sir; thats a my complaint
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
For, saving your presence, to her yere a saint;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Its neither your stot nor your staig I shall crave
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
But gie me your wife, man, for her I must have;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

O welcome, most kindly, the blythe carle said
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
But if ye can match her, yere waur nor yere cad;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

The Devil has got the auld wife on his back
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
And, like a poor pedlar, hes carried his pack;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Hes carried her hame to his ain hallan-door
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
Syne bade her gae in, for a bitch and a whore;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Then straight he makes fifty, the pick o his band
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
Turn out on her guard in the clap of a hand;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

The carlin gaed thro them like ony wud bear
  (Hey,, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
Whaeer she gat hands on came near her nae mair;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

A reekit wee Devil looks over the wa
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
O, help, master, help, or shell ruin us a;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

The Devil he swore by the edge o his knife
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
He pitied the man that was tied to a wife;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

The Devil he swore by the kirk and the bell
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
He was not in wedlock, thank heavn, but in hell;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

Then Satan has travelld again wi his pack
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
And to her auld husband hes carried her back;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.

I has been a Devil the feck o my life
  (Hey, and the rue grows bonnie wi thyme),
But neer was in hell, till I met wi a wife;
  And the thyme it is witherd, and rue is in prime.



                      Robert Burns


Robert Burns's other poems:
  1. Scroggam
  2. Lines Written on a Bank-note
  3. Lines Written at Loudon Manse
  4. To Alex Cunningham, Writer
  5. How Lang And Dreary


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