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Translation
Index


To John Goldie
August, 1785

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
O Goudie, terror o' the Whigs,
Dread o' black coats and rev'rend wigs!
Sour Bigotry on her last legs
Girns and looks back,
Wishing the ten Egyptian plagues
May seize you quick.
2.
Poor gapin, glowrin Superstition!
Wae's me, she's in a sad condition!
Fye! bring Black Jock, her state physician,
To see her water!
Alas! there's ground for great suspicion
She'll ne'er get better.
3.
Enthusiasm's past redemption
Gane in a gallopin consumption:
Not a' her quacks wi' a' their gumption
Can ever mend her;
Her feeble pulse gies strong presumption
She'll soon surrender.
4.
Auld Orthodoxy lang did grapple
For every hole to get a stapple;
But now she fetches at the thrapple,
An' fights for breath:
Haste, gie her name up in the chapel,
Near unto death!
5.
'Tis you an' Taylor are the chief
To blame for a' this black mischief;
But, gin the Lord's ain folk gat leave,
A toom tar barrel
An' twa red peats wad bring relief,
And end the quarrel.
6.
For me, my skill's but very sma',
An' skill in prose I've nane ava':
But, quietlenswise between us twa,
Weel may ye speed!
And, tho' they sud you sair misca',
Ne'er fash your head!
7.
E'en swinge the dogs, and thresh them sicker!
The mair they squeel ay chap the thicker,
And still 'mang hands a hearty bicker
O' something stout!
It gars an owthor's pulse beat quicker,
An' helps his wit.
8.
There's naething like the honest nappy:
Whare'll ye e'er see men sae happy,
Or women sonsie, saft, and sappy
'Tween morn and morn,
As them wha like to taste the drappie
In glass or horn?
9.
I've seen me daez't upon a time,
I scarce could wink or see a styme;
Just ae hauf-mutchkin does me prime
(Ought less is little);
Then back I rattle on the rhyme
As gleg's a whittle.

 


O Goldie, terror of the Whigs,
Dread of black coats (lawyers) and reverend wigs!
Sour Bigotry on her last legs
Snarls and looks back,
Wishing the ten Egyptian plagues
May seize you quick.

Poor staring, glowering Superstition!
Woe is me, she is in a sad conditon!
Fye! bring Black Jock, her state physician,
To see her water!
Alas! there is ground for great suspicion
She will never get better.

Enthusiasm's past redemption
Went in a galloping consumption:
Not all her quacks with all their gumption
Can ever mend her;
Her feeble pulse gives strong presumption
She will soon surrender.

Old Orthodoxy long did grapple
For every hole to get a stopper;
But now she gurgles at the windpipe,
And fights for breath:
Haste, give her name up in the chapel,
Near unto death!

'It is you and Taylor are the chief
To blame for all this black mischief;
But, if the Lord's own folk got leave,
An empty tar barrel
And two red peats would bring relief,
And end the quarrel.

For me, my skill is but very small,
And skill in prose I have none at all:
But, in confidence between us two,
Well may you speed!
And, though they should you sore miscall (malign),
Never bother your head!

Even chastise the dogs, and thrash them sicker!
The more they squeal always strike the thicker (harder),
And still among hands a hearty ale-pot
Of something stout!
It makes an author's pulse beat quicker,
And helps his wit.

There is nothing like the honest ale:
Where will you ever see men so happy,
Or women pleasant, soft, and vital
Between morning and morning,
As them who like to taste the drop (of liquor)
In glass or horn?

I have seen me dazed upon a time,
I scarce could wink or see a faintest outline;
Just one half-pint does me prime
(Anything less is little);
Then back I rattle on the rhyme
As keen as a knife.

 

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