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Scotch Drink

 

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation


Gie him strong drink until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief an' care:
There let him bowse, and deep carouse,
Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
Solomon's Proverbs, xxxi. 6, 7.

1.
Let other poets raise a fracas
'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus,
An' crabbit names an' stories wrack us,
An' grate our lug:
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glass or jug.
2.
O thou, my Muse! guid auld Scotch drink!
Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,
In glorious faem,
Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink,
To sing thy name!
3.
Let husky wheat the haughs adorn,
An' aits set up their awnie horn,
An' pease an' beans, at e'en or morn,
Perfume the plain:
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn,
Thou king o' grain!
4.
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale o' food!
Or tumbling in the boiling flood
Wi' kail an' beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood,
There thou shines chief.
5.
Food fills the wame, an' keeps us livin;
Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin,
When heavy-dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin;
But oil'd by thee,
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin,
Wi' rattlin glee.
6.
Thou clears the head o' doited Lear,
Thou cheers the heart o' drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair,
At's weary toil;
Thou ev'n brightens dark Despair
Wi' gloomy smile.
7.
Aft, clad in massy siller weed,
Wi' gentles thou erects thy head;
Yet, humbly kind in time o' need,
The poor man's wine:
His wee drap parritch, or his bread,
Thou kitchens fine.
8.
Thou art the life o' public haunts:
But thee, what were our fairs and rants?
Even godly meetings o' the saints,
By thee inspired,
When, gaping, they besiege the tents,
Are doubly fired.
9.
That merry night we get the corn in,
O sweetly, then, thou reams the horn in!
Or reekin on a New-Year mornin
In cog or bicker,
An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in,
An' gusty sucker!
10.
When Vulcan gies his bellows breath,
An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith,
O rare! to see thee fizz an freath
I' th' lugget caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like death
At ev'ry chaup.
11.
Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel:
The brawnie, bainie, ploughman chiel,
Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel,
The strong forehammer,
Till block an' studdie ring an' reel,
Wi' dinsome clamour.
12.
When skirlin weanies see the light,
Thou make the gossips clatter bright,
How fumbling cuifs their dearies slight;
Wae worth the name!
Nae howdie gets a social night,
Or plack frae them.
13.
When neebors anger at a plea,
An' just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley-brie
Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee,
To taste the barrel.
14.
Alake! that e'er my Muse has reason,
To wyte her countrymen wi' treason!
But monie daily weet their weason
Wi' liquors nice,
An' hardly, in a winter season,
E'er spier her price.
15.
Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash!
Fell source o' monie a pain an' brash!
Twins monie a poor, doylt, drucken hash,
O' half his days;
An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash
To her warst faes.
16.
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well!
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor, plackless devils like mysel!
It sets you ill,
Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell,
Or foreign gill.
17.
May gravels round his blather wrench,
An' gouts torment him, inch by inch,
Wha twists his gruntle wi a glunch
O' sour disdain,
Out owre a glass o' whisky-punch
Wi' honest men!
18.
O Whisky! soul o' plays an' pranks!
Accept a Bardie's gratefu' thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thou comes - they rattle i' their ranks
At ither's arses!
19.
Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Scotlands lament frae coast to coast!
Now colic grips, an' barkin hoast
May kill us a';
For loyal Forbes' chartered boast
Is taen awa!
20.
Thae curst horse-leeches o' th' Excise,
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize!
Haud up thy han', Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, seize the blinkers!
An' bake them up in brunstane pies
For poor damn'd drinkers.
21.
Fortune! if thou'll but gie me still
Hale breeks, a scone, an' whisky gill,
An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will,
Tak a' the rest,
An' deal't about as thy blind skill
Directs thee best.


Give him strong drink until he wink,
That is sinking in despair;
And liquor good to fire his blood,
That is pressed with grief and care:
There let him drink deeply, and deep carouse,
With bumpers flowing over,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
And minds his grieves no more.
Solomon's Proverbs, xxxi. 6, 7.


Let other poets raise a fracas
About vines, and wines, and drunken Bacchus,
And ill natured names and stories torment us,
And vex our ear:
I sing the juice Scotch barley can make us,
In glass or jug.

O you, my Muse! good old Scotch drink!
Whether through winding worms you frisk,
Or, richly brown, cream over the brink,
In glorious foam,
Inspire me, till I lisp and wink,
To sing your name!

Let husky wheat the hollows adorn,
And oats set up their bearded horn,
And peas and beans, at evening or morning,
Perfume the plain:
Blessings on you, John Barleycorn (Barley),
You king of grain!

On you often Scotland chews her cud,
In supple scones, the pick of food!
Or tumbling in the boiling flood (soup)
With kale (greens) and beef;
But when you pours your strong heart's blood,
There you shine chief.

Food fills the belly, and keeps us living;
Although life is a gift not worth receiving,
When heavy dragged with pine and grieving;
But oiled by you,
The wheels of life go down hill, careering,
With rattling glee.

You clears the head of muddled Learning,
You cheers the heart of drooping Care;
You strings the nerves of Labour sore,
At its weary toil;
You even brightens dark Despair
With gloomy smile.

Often, dressed in massif silver dress,
With gentles you erects your head;
Yet, humbly kind in time of need,
The poor man's wine:
His little drop porridge, or his bread,
You make good food.

You are the life of public haunts:
Without you, what were our fairs and merry makings?
Even godly meetings of the saints,
By you inspired,
When, gaping, they besiege the tents,
Are doubly fired.

That merry night we get the corn in (harvest the corn),
O sweetly, then, you creams the spoon in!
Or smoking on a New Year morning
In dish or beaker,
And just a small drop spiritual burn in,
And tasty sugar!

When Vulcan gives his bellows breath,
And ploughmen gather with their wealth,
O rare! to see you fizz an froth
In the two-eared cup!
Then Burnewin (the blacksmith) comes on like death
At every stroke.

No mercy, then, for iron or steel:
The brawny, bony, ploughman fellow,
Brings hard overhip, with sturdy wheel,
The strong forehammer,
Till block and anvil ring and reel,
With noisy clamour.

When squalling babies see the light,
You make the gossips babble cheerfully;
How fumbling dolts their darlings slight;
Woe befall the name!
No midwife gets a social night,
Or coin from them.

When neighbours anger at a law case,
And just as wild as wild can be,
How easy can the barley brew
Cement the quarrel!
It is always the cheapest lawyer's fee,
To taste the barrel.

Alas! that ever my Muse has reason,
To charge her countrymen with treason!
But many daily wet their throat
With liquors nice,
And hardly, in a winter season,
Ever asks her price.

Woe befall that brandy, burning trash!
Fierce source of many a pain and illness!
Robs many a poor, stupid, drunken oaf,
Of half his days;
And sends, beside, old Scotland's cash
To her worst foes.

You Scots, who wish old Scotland well!
You chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor, penniless devils like myself!
It becomes you ill,
With bitter, scarce wines to meddle,
Or foreign gill.

May small stones round his bladder wrench,
And gouts torment him, inch by inch,
Who twists his face with a growl
Of sour disdain,
Out over a glass of whisky punch
With honest men!

O Whisky! soul of plays and pranks!
Accept a Bards grateful thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless creakings
Are my poor verses!
You come - they rattle in their ranks
At other's arses!

You Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Scotland's lament from coast to coast!
Now colic grips, and barking cough
May kill us all;
For loyal Forbes' chartered boast
Is taken away!

Those cursed horse leeches of the Excise,
Who make the whisky stills their prize!
Hold up your hand, Devil! once, twice, three times!
There, seize the spies!
And bake them up in brimstone pies
For poor damned drinkers.

Fortune! if you will but give me still
Whole trousers, a scone, and whisky gill,
And store of rhyme to rave at will,
Take all the rest,
And deal it about as your blind skill
Directs you best.

 

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