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Translation
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The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer.
To the Scotch Representatives in the
House of Commons.
Dearest of distillation! Last and best -----
----How art thou lost!-----
Parody on Milton.

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
Ye Irish lords, ye knights an' squires,
Wha represent our brughs an' shires,
An' doucely manage our affairs
In Parliament,
To you a simple Bardie's prayers
Are humbly sent.
2.
Alas! my roupet Muse is haerse!
Your Honor's hearts wi' grief 'twad pierce,
To see her sittin on her arse
Low i' the dust,
And scriechin out prosaic verse,
A' like to brust!
3.
Tell them wha hae the chief direction,
Scotland an' me's in great affliction,
E'er sin' they laid that curst restriction
On aqua-vitae;
An' rouse them up to strong conviction,
An' move their pity.
4.
Stand forth, an' tell yon Premier youth
The honest, open, naked truth:
Tell him o' mine an' Scotland's drouth,
His servants humble:
The muckle deevil blaw you south,
If ye dissemble!
5.
Does onie great man glunch an' gloom?
Speak out, an' never fash your thumb!
Let posts an' pensions sink or soom
Wi' them wha grant 'em:
If honestly they canna come,
Far better want 'em.
6.
In gath'rin votes you were na slack;
Now stand as tightly by your tack:
Ne'er claw you lug, an' fidge your back,
An' hum an haw;
But raise your arm, an' tell your crack
Before them a'.
7.
Paint Scotland greetin owre her thrisstle;
Her mutchkin stowp as toom's a whissle;
An' damn'd excisemen in a bustle,
Seizin a stell,
Triumphant, crushin't like a mussel,
Or lampit shell!
8.
Then, on the tither hand, present her ---
A blackguard smuggler right behint her,
An' cheek-for-chow, a chuffie vintner
Colleaguing join,
Pickin her pouch as bare as winter
Of a' kind coin.
9.
Is there, that bears the name o' Scot,
But feels his heart's bluid rising hot,
To see his poor auld mither's pot
Thus dung in staves,
An' plunder'd o' her hindmost groat,
By gallows knaves?
10.
Alas! I'm but a nameless wight,
Trode i' the mire out o' sight!
But could I like Montgomeries fight,
Or gab like Boswell,
There's some sark-necks I wad draw tight,
An' tie some hose well.
11.
God bless your Honors! can ye see't,
The kind, auld, cantie carlin greet,
An' no get warmly to your feet,
An' gar them hear it,
An' tell them wi' a patriot-heat,
Ye winna bear it?
12.
Some o' you nicely ken the laws,
To round the period an' pause,
An' with rhetoric clause on clause
To mak harangues:
Then echo thro' Saint Stephen's wa's
Auld Scotland's wrangs.
13.
Dempster, a true blue Scot I'se warran;
Thee, aith-detesting, chaste Kilkerran;
An' that glib-gabbet Highland baron,
The Laird o' Graham;
An' ane, a chap that's damn'd auldfarran,
Dundas his name:
14.
Erskine, a spunkie Norland billie;
True Campbells, Frederick and Ilay;
An' Livistone, the bauld Sir Willie;
An' monie ithers,
Whom auld Demonthenes or Tully
Might own for brithers.
15.
Thee sodger Hugh, my watchman stented,
If Bardies e'er are represented;
I ken if that your sword were wanted,
Ye'd lend your hand;
But when there's ought to say anent it,
Ye're at a stand.
16.
Arouse, my boys! exert your mettle,
To get auld Scotland back her kettle;
Or faith! I'll wad my new pleugh-pettle,
Ye'll see 't or lang,
She'll teach you, wi' a reekin whittle,
Anither sang.
17.
This while she's been in crankous mood,
Her lost Militia fir'd her bluid;
(Deil na they never mair do guid,
Play'd her that pliskie!)
An' now she's like to rin red-wad
About her whisky.
18.
An' Lord! if ance they pit her till't
Her tartan petticoat she'll kilt,
An' durk an' pistol at her belt,
She'll tak the streets,
An' rin her whittle to the hilt,
I' the first she meets!
19.
For God-sake, sirs! then speak her fair,
An' straik her cannie wi' the hair,
An' to the Muckle House repair,
Wi' instant speed,
An' strive, wi' a' your wit an' lear,
To get remead.
20.
Yon ill-tongu'd tinkler, Charlie Fox,
May taunt you wi' his jeers an' mocks;
But gie him't het, my hearty cocks!
E'en cowe the cadie!
An' send him to his dicing box
An' sporting lady.
21.
Tell yon guid bluid of auld Boconnock's,
I'll be his debt twa mashlum bonnocks,
An' drink his health in auld Nanse Tinnock's
Nine times a-week.
If he some scheme, like tea an' winnocks
Wad kindly seek.
22.
Could he some commutation broach,
I'll pledge my aith in guid braid Scotch,
He needna fear their foul reproach
Nor erudition,
Yon mixtie-maxtie, queer hotch-potch,
The Coalition.
23.
Auld Scotland has a raucle tongue;
She's just a devil wi' a rung;
An' if she promise auld or young
To tak their part,
Tho' by the neck she should be strung,
She'll no desert.
24.
And now, ye chosen Five-and-Forty,
May still your mither's heart support ye;
Then, tho' a minister grow dorty,
An' kick your place,
Ye'll snap your fingers, poor an' hearty,
Before his face.
25.
God bless your Honors, a' your days,
Wi' sowps o' kail and brats o' claes,
In spite o' a' the thievish kaes,
That haunt St. Jamie's!
Your humble Bardie sings an' prays,
While Rab his name is.

Postscript.
26.
Let half-starv'd slaves in warmer skies
See future wines, rich-clust'ring, rise;
Their lot auld Scotland ne'er envies,
But, blythe and frisky,
She eyes her freeborn, martial boys
Tak aff their whisky.
27.
What tho' their Phoebus kinder warms,
While fragrance blooms and Beauty charms,
When wretches range, in famish'd swarms,
The scented grooves;
Or, hounded forth, dishonor arms
In hungry droves!
28.
Their gun's a burden on their shouther;
They downa bide the stink o' powther;
Their bouldest thought's a hank'ring swither
To stan' or rin,
Till skelp - a shot - they're aff, a' throw'ther,
To save their skin.
29.
But bring a Scotsman frae his hill,
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill,
Say, such is royal George's will,
An' there's the foe!
He has nae thought but how to kill
Twa at a blow.
30.
Nae cauld, faint-hearted doubtings tease him;
Death comes, wi' fearless eye he sees him;
Wi' bluidy han' a welcome gies him;
An' when he fa's,
His latest draught o' breathin lea'es him
In faint huzzas.
31.
Sages their solemn een may steek
An' raise a philosophic reek,
An' physically causes seek
In clime an' season;
But tell me whisky's name in Greek:
I'll tell the reason.
32.
Scotland, my auld, respected mither!
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till whare ye sit on craps o' heather
Ye tine your dam,
Freedom and whisky gang thegither,
Tak aff your dram!

1.
You Irish lords, you knights and squires,
Who represent our boroughs and shires,
And prudently manage our affairs
In Parliament,
To you a simple Bardie's prayers
Are humbly sent.
2.
Alas! my exhausted in voice Muse is hoarse!
Your Honor's hearts with grief it would pierce,
To see her sitting on her arse
Low in the dust,
And screeching out prosaic verse,
And like to bust!
3.
Tell them who have the chief direction,
Scotland and me are in great affliction,
Ever since they laid that cursed restriction
On aqua-vitae (water of life - Whiskey);
And rouse them up to strong conviction,
And move their pity.
4.
Stand forth, and tell yonder Premier youth
The honest, open, naked truth:
Tell him of mine and Scotland's thirst,
His servants humble:
The big devil blow you south,
If you play the hypocrite!
5.
Does any great man growl and gloom?
Speak out, and never care a rap!
Let posts and pensions sink or swim
With them who grant them:
If honestly they can not come,
Far better want them.
6.
In gathering votes you were not slack;
Now stand as tightly by your tack:
Never scratch you ear, and wriggle your back,
And hum and haw;
But raise your arm, and tell your tale
Before them all.
7.
Paint Scotland weeping over her thistle;
Her English pint pot as empty as a whistle;
And damned excisemen in a bustle,
Seizing a still,
Triumphant, crushing it like a mussel,
Or limpet shell!
8.
Then, on the other hand, present her ---
A blackguard smuggler right behind her,
And cheek-by-jowl, a fat faced vintner
Quarreling join,
Picking her pocket as bare as winter
Of all kind coin.
9.
Is there, that bears the name of Scot,
But feels his heart's blood rising hot,
To see his poor old mother's pot
Thus broken in pieces,
And plundered of her last piece of money,
By gallows knaves?
10.
Alas! I am but a nameless sturdy person,
Trod i' the mire out o' sight!
But could I like Montgomeries fight,
Or speak like Boswell,
There's some shirt necks I would draw tight,
And tie some hose well.
11.
God bless your Honors! can you see it,
The kind, old, jolly matron weep,
And not get warmly to your feet,
And make them hear it,
And tell them with a patriot heat,
You would not bear it?
12.
Some of you nicely know the laws,
To round the period and pause,
And with rhetoric clause on clause
To make harangues:
Then echo through Saint Stephen's walls
Old Scotland's wrongs.
13.
Dempster, a true blue Scot I would warrant;
You, oath detesting, chaste Kilkerran;
And that smooth tongued Highland baron,
The Laird of Graham;
And one, a chap that's damned shrewd,
Dundas his name:
14.
Erskine, a sprightful Northland fellow;
True Campbells, Frederick and Ilay;
And Livistone, the bald Sir Willie;
And many others,
Whom old Demonthenes or Tully
Might own for brothers.
15.
You soldier Hugh, my watchman assigned,
If Bardie(poets) ever are represented;
I know if that your sword were wanted,
You would lend your hand;
But when there is nothing to say concerning it,
You are at a stand. (say or do nothing).
16.
Arouse, my boys! exert your mettle,
To get old Scotland back her kettle;
Or faith! I will bet my new plough-staff,
You will see it or long (in time),
She will teach you, with a smoking knife,
Another song.
17.
This while she is been in fretful mood,
Her lost Militia fired her blood;
(Devil than they never more do good,
Played her that trick!)
And now she is like to run stark-mad
About her whisky.
18.
And Lord! if once they put her to it
Her tartan petticoat she will tuck up,
And dirk and pistol at her belt,
She will take (to) the streets,
And run her knife to the hilt,
In the first she meets!
19.
For God's sake, sir! then speak well of her,
And stroke her gently with the hair,
And to the House of Commons (Parliament) repair,
With instant speed,
And strive, with all your wit and learning,
To get redress.
20.
That ill-tongued meddler, Charlie Fox,
May taunt you with his jeers and mocks;
But give him it hot, my hearty cocks!
Even scare the varlet!
An' send him to his dicing box (gambling)
And sporting lady.
21.
Tell yon good blood of old Boconnock's,
I will be in his debt two mixed meal bannocks (scones),
And drink his health in old Nanse Tinnock's (tavern)
Nine times a week.
If he some scheme, like tea and windows
Would kindly seek.
22.
Could he some commutation broach,
I will pledge my oath in good broad Scotch,
He need not fear their foul reproach
Nor erudition,
Yon mixed-up, queer mixture,
The Coalition.
23.
Old Scotland has a bitter tongue;
She is just a devil with a cudgel;
And if she promise old or young
To take their part,
Though by the neck she should be strung,
She will not desert.
24.
And now, you chosen Five-and-Forty,
May still your mother's heart support you;
Then, though a minister grow pettish,
And kick your place,
You will snap your fingers, poor and hearty,
Before his face.
25.
God bless your Honors, all your days,
With sups of broth and scraps of clothes,
In spite of all the thievish jackdaws (a bird),
That haunt St. Jamie's!
Your humble Bardie sings and prays,
While Rab his name is.


26.
Let half-starved slaves in warmer skies
See future wines, rich-clustering, rise;
Their lot old Scotland never envies,
But, blithe and frisky,
She eyes her freeborn, martial boys
Take off their whisky.
27.
What though their Phoebus (sun) kinder warms,
While fragrance blooms and Beauty charms,
When wretches range, in famished swarms,
The scented grooves;
Or, hounded forth, dishonor arms
In hungry droves!
28.
Their gun is a burden on their shoulder;
They cannot endure the stink of (gun) powder;
Their boldest thought is a hankering doubt
To stand or run,
Till crack - a shot - they are off, all pell-mell,
To save their skin.
29.
But bring a Scotsman from his hill,
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill,
Say, such is royal George's will,
And there is the foe!
He has no thought but how to kill
Two at a blow.
30.
No cold, faint-hearted doubts tease him;
Death comes, with fearless eye he sees him;
With bloody hand a welcome gives him;
And when he falls,
His last draught of breathing leaves him
In faint huzzas.
31.
Sages their solemn eyes may shut
And raise a philosophic smoke,
And physically causes seek
In clime and season;
But tell me whisky's name in Greek:
I will tell the reason.
32.
Scotland, my old, respected mother!
Though sometimes you moisten your leather,
Till where you sit on heather-tops
You lose your water,
Freedom and whisky go together,
Take off your dram!

 

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