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Translation
Index


To John Maxwell, Esq.
Of Terraughtie

On His Birth-day

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Health to the Maxwells' veteran Chief!
Health ay unsour'd by care or grief!
Inspir'd, I turn'd Fate's sibyl leaf
This natal morn:
I see thy life is stuff o' prief,
Scarce quite half-worn.
2.
This day thou meets threescore eleven,
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven
(The second-sight, ye ken, is given
To ilka Poet)
On thee a tack o' seven times seven,
Will yet bestow it.
3.
If envious buckies view wi' sorrow
Thy lengthen'd days on thy blest morrow,
May Desolation's lang-teeth'd harrow,
Nine miles an' hour,
Rake them, like Sodom and Gomorrah,
In brunstane stoure!
4.
But for thy friends, and they are monie,
Baith honest men and lasses bonie,
May couthie Fortune, kind and cannie
In social glee,
Wi' mornings blythe and e'enings funny
Bless them and thee!
5.
Fareweel, auld birkie! Lord be near ye,
And then the Deil, he daurna steer ye!
Your friends ay love, your foes ay fear ye!
For me, shame fa' me,
If neist my heart I dinna wear ye,
While Burns they ca' me!

 


Health to the Maxwells' veteran Chief!
Health always unsoured by care or grief!
Inspired, I turned Fate's sibyl leaf
This natal morning:
I see your life is stuff of proof,
Scarce quite half-worn.

This day you meets threescore eleven (81 years),
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven
(The second-sight, you know, is given
To every Poet)
On you a lease of seven times seven,
Will yet bestow it.

If envious young fellows view with sorrow
Your lengthened days on your blessed tomorrow,
May Desolation's long-teethed harrow,
Nine miles an hour,
Rake them, like Sodom and Gomorrah,
In brimstone dust!

But for your friends, and they are many,
Both honest men and girls lovely,
May loving Fortune, kind and quiet
In social glee,
With mornings blythe and evenings funny
Bless them and you!

Farewell, old fellow! Lord be near you,
And then the Devil, he dare not touch you!
Your friends always love, your foes always fear you!
For me, shame befall me,
If next my heart I do not wear you,
While Burns they call me!

 

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