Thomas Walker

Epistle from a Taylor to Robert Burns


WHAT waefu’ news is this I hear,
Frae greeting I can scarce forbear,
Folk tells me, ye’re gawn aff this year,
	Out o’er the sea, 
And lasses wham ye lo’e sae dear
	Will greet for thee.

Weel wad I like war ye to stay, 
But Robin since ye will away,
I hae a word yet mair to say,
	And maybe twa; 
May he protect us night an’ day,
	That made us a’.

Whar thou art gaun, keep mind frae me,
Seek him to bear thee companie,
And, Robin, whan ye come to die,
	Ye’ll won aboon,
An’ live at peace an’ unity
	Ayont the moon.

Some tell me, Rab, ye dinna fear
To get a wean, an’ curse an, swear,
I’m unco wae, my lad, to hear
	O’ sic a trade,
Cou’d I persuade ye to forbear,
	I wad be glad.

Fu’ weel ye ken ye’ll gang to hell,
Gin ye persist in doin’ ill –
Waes me! Ye’re hurlin’ down the hill
	Withouten dread,
An’ ye’ll get leave to swear your fill
	After ye’re dead.

There,1 walth o’ women ye’ll get near,
But getting’ weans ye will forbear,
Ye’ll never say, my bonnie dear
	Come, gie’s a kiss –
Nae kissing there – ye’ll girn an’ sneer,
	An’ ither hiss. 

O Rab! Lay by thy foolish tricks,
An’ steer nae mair the female sex,
Or some day ye’ll come through the pricks,
	An, that ye’ll see;
Ye’ll fin’ hard living wi’ Auld Nicks:
	I’m wae for thee.

But what’s this comes wi’ sic a knell,
Amaist as loud as ony bell,
While it does mak’ my conscience tell
	Me what is true,
I’m but a rough cowt too readf’,
	Owre sib to you!

We’re owre like those wha think it fit,
To stuff their noddles fu’ o’ wit,
An’ yet content in darkness sit,
	Wha shun the light,
To let them see down to the pit,
	That lang dark night.

But fareweel, Rab, I maun awa’,
May he that made us keep us a’,
For that wad be a  readful’ fa’
	And hurt us sair,
Lad, ye wad never mend ava,
	Sae Rab tak’ care.

1 In hell.

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