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Translation
Index


To Mr. Gow, Visiting Dumfries
TUNE: Tullochgorum

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Thrice welcome, king o' rant and reel!
Whaur is the bard to Scotia leal
Wha wadna sing o' sic a chiel
And sic a glorious fiddle!
2.
It's but a weary warl' at best,
Wauf and weary -- aften dreary -
It's but a weary warl' at best,
A wauf and weary widdle!
3.
It's but a weary warl' at best,
Gang north, or sooth, or east or west,
But we will never mak' protest
When near you and your fiddle.
4.
Let prosy parsons pray and preach,
And wise professors try to teach
The secrets far beyond their reach
As Stradivari's fiddle!
5.
We'll leave them to themsel's to read
Things sae vexin' - and perplexin' -
We'll leave them to themsel's to read
Life's cabalistic riddle! -
6.
We'll leave them to themsel's to read
To spin their scheme and mak' their creed;
Come, screw your pins and gie's a screed
Frae your unrivall'd fiddle!
7.
Nae fabled wizard's wand I trow,
Had e'er the magic airt o' Gow,
When wi' a wave he draws his bow
Across his wondrous fiddle!
8.
Sic fays and fairies come and dance,
Lightly tripping - hopping, skipping -
Sic fays and fairies come and dance,
Their maister in the middle!
9.
Sic fays and fairies come and dance,
So gently glide and spryly prance,
And noo retreat and noo advance
When he strikes up his fiddle!
10.
In brisk strathspey or plaintive air
What rival can wi' you compare?
O' wha could think a hank o' hair
Could thus transform a fiddle?
11.
What are the notes o' lyre or lute -
Wizzent, wheezy - slim and sleezy -
What are the notes o' lyre or lute -
Inconsequential diddle!
12.
What are the notes o' lyre or lute -
O' pipes, piano, fife or flute,
Wi' a' that ye can execute,
On your enchanting fiddle!
13.
Wha doesna joy to hear the ring
O' ilka bonny lilt and spring
That ye frae recollection bring
And wheedle through your fiddle!
14.
The sumph that wadna praise gie
A soulless clod maun surely be;
A chiel should never hae to dee
That half like you can fiddle!

 


Three times welcome, king of rant and reel!
Where is the bard to Scotia true
Who would not sing or such a fellow
And such a glorious fiddle!

It is but a weary world at best,
Woeful and weary -- often dreary -
It is but a weary world at best,
A woeful and weary wriggle!

It is but a weary world at best,
Go north, or south, or east or west,
But we will never make protest
When near you and your fiddle.

Let prosy parsons pray and preach,
And wise professors try to teach
The secrets far beyond their reach
As Stradivarius' fiddle!

We will leave them to themselves to read
Things so vexing - and perplexing -
We will leave them to themselves to read
Life's cabalistic riddle! -

We will leave them to themselves to read
To spin their scheme and make their creed;
Come, screw your pins and give us a screed
From your unrivalled fiddle!

No fabled wizard's wand I believe,
Had ever the magic art of Gow,
When with a wave he draws his bow
Across his wondrous fiddle!

Such fays (fairy) and fairies come and dance,
Lightly tripping - hopping, skipping -
Such fays (fairy) and fairies come and dance,
Their master in the middle!

Such fays (fairy) and fairies come and dance,
So gently glide and spryly prance,
And now retreat and now advance
When he strikes up his fiddle!

In brisk strathspey or plaintive air
What rival can with you compare?
Oh who could think a hank of hair
Could thus transform a fiddle?

What are the notes of lyre or lute -
Wizened, wheezy - slim and sleazy -
What are the notes of lyre or lute -
Inconsequential diddle!

What are the notes of lyre or lute -
Oh pipes, piano, fife or flute,
With all that you can execute,
On your enchanting fiddle!

Who does not joy to hear the ring
Of every lovely lilt and spring
That you from recollection bring
And wheedle through your fiddle!

The churl that would not praise give
A soulless clod must surely be;
A fellow should never have to die
That half like you can fiddle!

 

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