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Index


Extempore To Gavin Hamilton

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

Stanzas On Naething

1.
To you, Sir, this summons I've sent
(Pray, whip till the pownie is fraething!);
But if you demand what I want,
I honestly answer you - naething.
2.
Ne'er scorn a poor Poet like me
For idly just living and breathing,
While people of every degree
Are busy employed about - naething.
3.
Poor Centum-per-Centum may fast,
And grumble his hurdies their claithing;
He'll find, when the balance is cast,
He's gane to the Devil for - naething.
4.
The courtier cringes and bows;
Ambition has likewise its plaything --
A coronet beams on his brows;
And what is a coronet? - Naething.
5.
Some quarrel the Presbyter gown,
Some quarrel Episcopal graithing;
But every good fellow will own
The quarrel is a' about - naething.
6.
The lover may sparkle and glow,
Approaching his bonie bit gay thing;
But marriage will soon let him know
He's gotten - a buskit-up naething.
7.
The Poet may jingle and rhyme
In hopes of a laureate wreathing,
And when he has wasted his time,
He's kindly rewarded with - naething.
8.
The thundering bully may rage,
And swagger and swear like a heathen;
But collar him fast, I'll engage,
You'll find that his courage is - naething.
9.
Last night with a feminine Whig --
A poet she couldna put faith in!
But soon we grew lovingly big,
I taught her, her terrors were - naething.
10.
Her Whigship was wonderful pleased,
But charmingly tickled wi' ae thing;
Her fingers I lovingly squeezed,
And kissed her, and promised her - naething.
11.
The priest anathemas may threat --
Predicament, sir, that we're baith in;
But when Honor's reveille is beat,
The holy artillery's - naething.
12.
And now I must mount on the wave:
My voyage perhaps there is death in;
But what is a watery grave?
The drowning a Poet is - naething.
13.
And now, as grim Death's in my thought.
To you, Sir, I make this bequeathing:
My service as long as ye've ought,
And my friendship, by God, when ye've - naething.

Stanzas On Nothing


To you, Sir, this summons I have sent
(Pray, whip till the horse is frothing!);
But if you demand what I want,
I honestly answer you - nothing.

Never scorn a poor Poet like me
For idly just living and breathing,
While people of every degree
Are busy employed about - nothing.

Poor Centum-per-Centum may fast,
And grudge his buttocks their clothing;
He will find, when the balance is cast,
He has gone to the Devil for - nothing.

The courtier cringes and bows;
Ambition has likewise its plaything -
A coronet beams on his brows (forehead);
And what is a coronet? - Nothing.

Some rail against the Presbyter gown,
Some rail against Episcopal vestments;
But every good fellow will own
The rail against is all about - nothing.

The lover may sparkle and glow,
Approaching his lovely little gay thing;
But marriage will soon let him know
He has gotten - tricked-out nothing.

The Poet may jingle and rhyme
In hopes of a laureate wreathing,
And when he has wasted his time,
He is kindly rewarded with - nothing.

The thundering bully may rage,
And swagger and swear like a heathen;
But collar him fast, I'll engage,
You will find that his courage is - nothing.

Last night with a feminine Whig -
A poet she could not put faith in!
But soon we grew lovingly big,
I taught her, her terrors were - nothing.

Her Whigship was wonderful pleased,
But charmingly tickled with one thing;
Her fingers I lovingly squeezed,
And kissed her, and promised her - nothing.

The priest anathemas may threat -
Predicament, sir, that we are both in;
But when Honor's reveille is beat,
The holy artillery is - nothing.

And now I must mount on the wave:
My voyage perhaps there is death in;
But what is a watery grave?
The drowning a Poet is - nothing.

And now, as grim Death is in my thought.
To you, Sir, I make this bequeathing:
My service as long as you have aught,
And my friendship, by God, when you have - nothing.

 

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