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To Major Logan

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Hail, thairm-inspiring, rattlin Willie!
Tho' Fortune's road be rough an' hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming billie,
We never heed,
But take it like the unbrack'd filly
Proud o' her speed.
2.
When, idly gaovin, whyles we saunter,
Yirr! Fancy barks, awa we canter,
Up hill, down brae, till some mishanter,
Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us; then the scathe an' banter
We're forced to thole.
3.
Hale be your heart! hale be your fiddle!
Lang may your elbuck jink an' diddle,
To cheer you through the weary widdle
O' this vile warl',
Until you on a cummock driddle,
A grey-hair'd carl.
4.
Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings ay in tune,
And screw your temper-pins aboon
(A fifth or mair)
The melancholious, sairie croon
O' crankrie Care.
5.
May still your life from day to day,
Nae lente largo in the play
But allegretto forte gay,
Harmonious flow,
A sweeping, kindling, bauld strathspey -
Encore! Bravo!
6.
A' blessings on the cheery gang,
Wha dearly like a jig or sang,
An' never think o' right an wrang
By square an' rule,
But as the clegs o' feeling stang
Are wise or fool.
7.
My hand-wal'd curse keep hard in chase
The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race,
Wha count on poortith as disgrace!
Their tuneless hearts,
May fireside discords jar a bass
To a' their parts!
8.
But come, your hand, my careless brither!
I' th' ither warl', if there's anither -
An' that there is, I've little swither
About the matter -
We, cheek for chow, shall jog thegither -
I'se ne'er bid better!
9.
We've faults and failins - granted clearly!
We're frail, backsliding mortals merely;
Eve's bonie squad, priests wyte them sheerly
For our grand fa';
But still, but still - I like them dearly . . .
God bless them a'!
10.
Ochon for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fa' foul o' earthly jinkers!
The witching, curs'd, delicious blinkers
Hae put me hyte,
An' gart me weet my waukrife winkers
Wi' girnin spite.
11.
But by yon moon - and that's high swearin! -
An' every star within my hearin,
An' by her een wha was a dear ane
I'll ne'er forget,
I hope to gie the jads a clearin
In fair play yet!
12.
My loss I mourn, but not repent it;
I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it;
Ance to the Indies I were wonted,
Some cantraip hour
By some sweet elf I'll yet be dinted:
Then vive l'amour!
13.
Faites mes baissemains respectueuse
To sentimental sister Susie
And honest Lucky: no to roose you,
Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple Fate allows ye
To grace your blood.
14.
Nae mair at present can I measure,
An' trowth! my rhymin ware's nae treasure;
But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure,
Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.

 


Hail, catgut (for fiddle) inspiring, rattling Willie!
Though Fortune's road be rough and hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming fellow (comrade),
We never heed,
But take it like the unbroken filly
Proud of her speed.

When, idly mooning, sometimes we saunter,
Yirr! Fancy barks, away we canter,
Up hill, down slope, till some mishap,
Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us; then the damage and banter
We are forced to endure.

Whole be your heart! whole be your fiddle!
Long may your elbow dance and shake,
To cheer you through the weary wiggle
Of this vile world,
Until you on a cudgel (walking stick) shake,
A grey haired old man.

Come wealth, come poverty, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings always in tune,
And screw your fiddle pegs above
(A fifth or more)
The melancholy, sorrowful note
Of crabbed Care.

May still your life from day to day,
No lente largo in the play
But allegretto forte gay,
Harmonious flow,
A sweeping, kindling, bold strathspey (a reel) -
Encore! Bravo!

All blessings on the cheery gang,
Who dearly like a jig or song,
And never think of right an wrong
By square and rule,
But as the gadfly of feeling sting
Are wise or fool.

My hand-picked (choicest) curse keep hard in chase
The harpy, grasping, purse-proud race,
Who count on poverty as disgrace!
Their tuneless hearts,
May fireside discords jar a bass
To all their parts!

But come, your hand, my careless brother!
In the other world, if there is another -
And that there is, I have little doubt
About the matter -
We, cheek for (by) jowl, shall jog together -
I will never ask better!

We have faults and failings - granted clearly!
We are frail, backsliding mortals merely;
Eve's lovely squad, priests blame them wholly
For our grand fall;
But still, but still - I like them dearly . . .
God bless them all!

Often for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fall foul of earthly gamesters!
The witching, cursed, delicious oglers
Have put me furious,
And made me wet my wakeful eyes
With snarling spite.

But by yon moon - and that is high swearing! -
And every star within my hearing,
And by her eyes who was a dear one
I will never forget,
I hope to give the women a clearing
In fair play yet!

My loss I mourn, but not repent it;
I will seek my purse where I lost it;
Once to the Indies I were escaped,
Some witching hour
By some sweet elf I will yet be stroked:
Then vive l'amour!

Faites mes baissemains respectueuse
To sentimental sister Susie
And honest Lucky: no to flatter you,
You may be proud,
That such a couple Fate allows you
To grace your blood.

No more at present can I measure,
And truth! my rhyming ware is no treasure;
But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure,
Be it light, be it dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.

 

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