Beginners
Experts
Burns Supper
Top Features
Discussion Forum
Newsletter
Poems & Songs
The Letters
Federation
E- Membership
Schools
Contributions
Links
Search the Site
Scottish History
The Burns Shop

Translation
Index


Epistle To Dr. Blacklock

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
Wow, but your letter made me vauntie!
And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie?
I kend it still, your wee bit jauntie
Wad bring ye to:
Lord send you ay as weel's I want ye,
And then ye'll do!
2.
The Ill-thief blaw the Heron south,
And never drink be near his drouth!
He tauld mysel by word o' mouth,
He'd tak my letter:
I lippen'd to the chiel in trowth,
And bade nae better.
3.
But aiblins honest Master Heron
Had at the time some dainty fair one
To ware his theologic care on
And holy study,
And, tired o' sauls to waste his lear on,
E'en tried the body.
4.
But what d'ye think, my trusty fier?
I'm turned a gauger - Peace be here!
Parnassian queens, I fear, I fear,
Ye'll now disdain me,
And then my fifty pounds a year
Will little gain me!
5.
Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty damies,
Wha by Castalia's wimplin streamies
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
Ye ken, ye ken,
That strang necessity supreme is
'Mang sons o' men.
6.
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies;
They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies:
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is --
I need na vaunt --
But I'll sned besoms, thraw saugh woodies,
Before they want.
7.
Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary - sick o't late and air!
Not but I hae a richer share
Than monie ithers;
But why should ae man better fare,
And a' men brithers?
8.
Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man!
And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
A lady fair:
Wha does the utmost that he can
Will whyles do mair.
9.
But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I'm scant o' verse and scant o' time):
To make a happy fireside clime
To weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life.
10.
My compliments to sister Beckie,
And eke the same to honest Lucky;
I wat she is a daintie chuckie
As e'er tread clay:
And gratefully, my guid auld cockie,
I'm yours for ay.


Wow, but your letter made me proud!
And are you in health, and well, and jolly?
I knew it still, your little bit excursion
Would bring you to (good health):
Lord send you always as well as I want you,
And then you will do!

The Devil blow the Heron south,
And never drink be near his drought (thirst)!
He told myself by word of mouth,
He would take my letter:
I trusted to the fellow in truth,
And asked no better.

But may be honest Master Heron
Had at the time some dainty fair one
To spend his theological care on
And holy study,
And, tired of souls to waste his learning on,
Even tried the body.

But what do you think, my trusty friend?
I am turned an excise man - Peace be here!
Parnassian young ladies, I fear, I fear,
You will now disdain me,
And then my fifty pounds a year (wages)
Will little gain me!

You giddy, happy, dainty dames,
Who by Castalia's meandering streams
Leap, sing, and flow freely your pretty limbs,
You know, you know,
That strong necessity supreme is
Among sons of men.

I have a wife and two little boys;
They must have brose (food) and scraps of clothes:
You know yourselves my heart right proud is -
I need not boast -
But I will prune besoms, weave willow twigs,
Before they want.

Lord help me through this world of care!
I am weary - sick of it late and early!
Not but I have a richer share
Than many others;
But why should one man better fare,
And all men brothers?

Come, firm Resolve, take you the van (lead),
You stalk of male-hemp in man!
And let us remember, faint heart never won
A lady fair:
Who does the utmost that he can
Will sometimes do more.

But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I am scant of verse and scant of time):
To make a happy fireside climate
To children and wife,
That is the true pathos and sublime
Of human life.

My compliments to sister Beckie,
And also the same to honest Lucky;
I know she is a dainty hen
As ever tread clay:
And gratefully, my good old cock,
I am yours for always.

 

2004 WBC. Under no circumstances can any  of the contents of this site be copied, reproduced,  or represented without prior written consent.