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Index


To Robert Aiken

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

 

1.
Assist me, Coila, while I sing
The virtues o' a crony
That in the blessings friendships bring
Has ne'er been match'd by mony.
And wha's the man sic land to gain?
There can be nae mistakin',
As if there could be mair than ane --
Step forrat Robert Aiken!
2.
When I had neither poun' nor plack
To rub on ane anither;
When hope's horizon seemed as black
As midnicht a'-the-gither:
When chased and challenged by the law
My he'rt was after quakin',
Wha stude my steady fiere for a'? --
O, wha but Robert Aiken!
3.
When he and she baith young and auld
Were bent on my undoin',
And tried by lees and scandals bauld
To drive me clean to ruin:
Wha never aince withdrew his smile,
Or listened to the claiken'? --
Ah, he's a frien' that's worth the while,
A man like Robert Aiken!
4.
When first I tried my rustic pen
In little bits o' rhyme'
Wha introduced me but and ben
And helped me in my climbin'?
Wha advertised abroad my name,
'A minstrel in the makin','
Wha fairly read me into fame,
But Lawyer Robert Aiken!
5.
And when wi' muckle qualms I socht
To get my poems printed,
While mony 'frien's' nae copies bocht
And some, their orders stinted:
Wha by the dizzen and the score
The names to me was rakin'? --
The king o' a' the buyin' corps
Was surely Robert Aiken!
6.
The time will come when I'll be deemed
A poet grander, greater,
Than ever prophesied or dreamed
The loodest, proodest prater,
Then let this fact be published too
That at the bard's awakin'
The truest, kindest friend he knew
Was honest Robert Aiken!

 


Assist me, Coila, while I sing
The virtues of a crony
That in the blessings friendships bring
Has never been matched by many.
And who is the man such land to gain?
There can be no mistaking,
As if there could be more than one -
Step forward Robert Aiken!

When I had neither pound nor coin
To rub on one another;
When hope's horizon seemed as black
As midnight all-together:
When chased and challenged by the law
My heart was after quaking,
Who stood my steady friend for all? -
O, who but Robert Aiken!

When he and she both young and old
Were bent on my undoing,
And tried by lies and scandals bold
To drive me clean to ruin:
Who never once withdrew his smile,
Or listened to the clacking (gossip)? -
Ah, he is a friend that is worth the while,
A man like Robert Aiken!

When first I tried my rustic pen
In little bits of rhyming
Who introduced me kitchen and parlour
And helped me in my climbing?
Who advertised abroad my name,
'A minstrel in the making,'
Who fairly read me into fame,
But Lawyer Robert Aiken!

And when with many qualms I sought
To get my poems printed,
While many 'friends' no copies bought
And some, their orders ceased:
Who by the dozen and the score
The names to me was raking? -
The king of all the buying corps
Was surely Robert Aiken!

The time will come when I will be deemed
A poet grander, greater,
Than ever prophesied or dreamed
The loudest, proudest foolish talk,
Then let this fact be published too
That at the bard's awaking
The truest, kindest friend he knew
Was honest Robert Aiken!

 

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