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To James Tennant Of Glenconner

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

Auld comrade dear and brither sinner,
How's a' the folk about Glenconner?
How do you this blae eastlin wind,
That's like to blaw a body blind?
For me, my faculties are frozen,
My dearest member nearly dozen'd.
I've sent you here, by Johnie Simson,
Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on:
Smith wi' his sympathetic feeling,
An' Reid to common sense appealing.
Philosophers have fought and wrangled,
An' meikle Greek an' Latin mangled,
Till, wi' their logic-jargon tir'd
And in the depth of science mir'd,
To common sense they now appeal --
What wives and wabsters see and feel!
But, hark ye, friend! I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, an' return the quickly:
For now I'm grown sae cursed douse
I pray and ponder butt the house;
My shins my lane I there sit roastin,
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, an' Boston;
Till by an' by, if I haud on,
I'll grunt a real gospel groan.
Already I begin to try it,
To cast me een up like a pyet,
When by the gun she tumbles o'er,
Flutt'ring an' gasping in her gore:
Sae shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning an' a shining light.

My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen,
The ace an' wale of honest men:
When bending down wi' auld grey hairs
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,
An' views beyond the grave comfort him!
His worthy fam'ly far and near,
God bless them a' wi' grace and gear!

My auld schoolfellow, preacher Willie,
The manly tar, my Mason-billie,
And Auchenbay, I wish him joy:
If he's a parent, lass or boy,
May he be dad and Meg the mither
Just five-and-forty years thegither!
And no forgetting wabster Charlie,
I'm tauld he offers very fairly.
An', Lord, remember singing Sannock
Wi' hale breeks, saxpence, an' a bannock!
And next, my auld acquaintance, Nancy,
Since she is fitted to her fancy,
An' her kind stars hae airted till her
A guid chiel wi' a pickle siller!
My kindest, best respects, I sen' it,
To cousin Kate, an' sister Janet:
Tell them, frae me, wi' chiels be cautious,
For, faith! they'll aiblins fin' them fashious;
To grant a heart is fairly civil,
But to grant a maidenhead's the devil!
An' lastly, Jamie, for yoursel,
May guardian angels tak a spell,
An' steer you seven miles south o' Hell!
But first, before you see Heaven's glory,
May ye get monie a merry story,
Monie a laugh and monie a drink,
And ay eneugh o' needfu' clink!

Now fare ye weel, an' joy be wi' you!
For my sake, this I beg it o' you:
Assist poor Simson a' ye can;
Ye'll fin' him just an honest man.
Sae I conclude, and quat my chanter,
Yours, saint or sinner,
Rab the Ranter.

 

 

Old comrade dear and brother sinner,
How are all the folk about (in the area of) Glenconner?
How do you this blue easterly wind,
That's like to blow a body blind?
For me, my faculties are frozen,
My dearest member nearly torpid.
I have sent you here, by Johnie Simson,
Two sage philosophers to glimpse on:
Smith with his sympathetic feeling,
And Reid to common sense appealing.
Philosophers have fought and wrangled,
And much Greek and Latin mangled,
Till, with their logic-jargon tired
And in the depth of science mired,
To common sense they now appeal -
What women and weavers see and feel!
But, hark you, friend! I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, and return the quickly:
For now I am grown so cursed serious
I pray and ponder in the kitchen;
My shins alone I there sit roasting,
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, and Boston;
Till by and by, if I hold on,
I will grunt a real gospel groan.
Already I begin to try it,
To cast my eyes up like a magpie,
When by the gun she tumbles over,
Fluttering and gasping in her gore:
So shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning and a shining light.

My heart-warm love to good old Glen,
The ace and pick of honest men:
When bending down with old grey hairs
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,
And views beyond the grave comfort him!
His worthy family far and near,
God bless them all with grace and gear!

My old school fellow (chum), preacher Willie,
The manly tar, my Mason brother,
And Auchenbay, I wish him joy:
If he is a parent, girl or boy,
May he be dad and Meg the mother
Just five-and-forty years together!
And not forgetting weaver Charlie,
I am told he promises very fairly.
And, Lord, remember singing Sandy
With whole trousers, sixpence, and an oatmeal cake!
And next, my old acquaintance, Nancy,
Since she is fitted to her fancy,
And her kind stars have directed to her
A good chap with a little money!
My kindest, best respects, I send it,
To cousin Kate, and sister Janet:
Tell them, from me, with young fellows be cautious,
For, faith! they will may be find them troublesome;
To grant a heart is fairly civil,
But to grant a maidenhead (virginity) is the devil!
And lastly, Jamie, for yourself,
May guardian angels take a spell,
And steer you seven miles south of Hell!
But first, before you see Heaven's glory,
May you get many a merry story,
Many a laugh and many a drink,
And always enough of needful coin!

Now fare you well, and joy be with you!
For my sake, this I beg it of you:
Assist poor Simson all you can;
You will find him just an honest man.
So I conclude, and quit my song,
Yours, saint or sinner,
Robert Burns the Ranter.

 

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