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On William Creech

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

A little upright, pert, tart, tripping wight,
And still his precious self his dear delight;
Who loves his own smart shadow in the streets
Better than e'er the fairest She he meets.
Much specious lore, but little understood
(Veneering oft outshines the solid wood),
His solid sense by inches you must tell,
But mete his subtle cunning by the ell!
A man of fashion, too, he made his tour,
Learn'd 'Vive la bagatelle et vive l'amour':
So travell'd monkies their grimace improve,
Polish their grin - nay, sigh for ladies' love!
His meddling vanity, a busy fiend,
Still making work his selfish craft must mend.

 

A little upright, pert, tart, tripping sturdy fellow,
And still his precious self his dear delight;
Who loves his own smart shadow in the streets
Better than ever the fairest She he meets.
Much specious lore, but little understood
(Veneering often outshines the solid wood),
His solid sense by inches you must tell,
But mete his subtle cunning by the ell (a measure 39")!
A man of fashion, too, he made his tour,
Learned 'Vive la bagatelle et vive l'amour':
So travelled monkeys their grimace improve,
Polish their grin - no, sigh for ladies' love!
His meddling vanity, a busy fiend,
Still making work his selfish craft must mend.

 

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