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(Note: - Edinburgh was noted for three major industries, Beer, Biscuits and Books (publishing). I assume William Creech was a publisher in the capital, Edinburgh. It is also of note that most Scottish towns of any consequence had nick-names, in the case of Edinburgh it was called 'Auld Reekie', which translates to 'Old Smokey' due to the pall of smoke lying over the city from the coal burning fireplaces in the houses.)

Lament For The Absence Of William Creech, Publisher

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

1.
Auld chuckie Reekie's sair distrest,
Down droops her ance weel burnish'd crest,
Nae joy her bonie buskit nest
Can yield ava:
Her darling bird that she lo'es best,
Willie's awa.
2.
O, Willie was a witty wight,
And had o' things an unco sleight!
Auld Reekie ay he keepit tight
And trig an' braw;
But now they'll busk her like a fright -
Willie's awa.
3.
The stiffest o' them a' he bow'd;
The bauldest o' them a' he cow'd;
They durst nae mair than he allow'd -
That was a law:
We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd -
Willie's awa.
4.
Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and fools
Frae colleges and boarding schools
May sprout like simmer puddock-stools
In glen or shaw:
He wha could brush them down to mools,
Willie's awa.
5.
The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour:
He was a dictionar and grammar
Amang them a'.
I fear they'll now mak monie a stammer:
Willie's awa.
6.
Nae mair we see his levee door
Philosophers and Poets pour,
And toothy Critics by the score
In bloody raw:
The adjutant of a' the core,
Willie's awa.
7.
Now worthy Greg'ry's Latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace,
M'Kenzie, Stewart, such a brace
As Rome ne'er saw,
They a' maun meet some ither place -
Willie's awa.
8.
Poor Burns ev'n 'Scotch Drink' canna quicken:
He cheeps like some bewilder'd chicken
Scar'd frae its minnie and the cleckin
By hoodie-craw.
Grief's gien his heart an unco kickin -
Willie's awa.
9.
Now ev'ry sour-mou'd, girnin blellum,
And Calvin's folk, are fit to fell him;
Ilk self-conceited critic-skellum
His quill may draw:
He wha could brawlie ward their bellum,
Willie's awa.
10.
Up wimpling, stately Tweed I've sped,
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed,
And Ettrick banks, now roaring red
While tempests blaw;
But every joy and pleasure's fled:
Willie's awa.
11.
May I be Slander's common speech,
A text for Infamy to preach,
And, lastly, streekit out to bleach
In winter snaw,
When I forget thee, Willie Creech,
Tho' far awa!
12.
May never wicked Fortune touzle him,
May never wicked men bamboozle him,
Until a pow as auld's Methusalem
He canty claw!
Then to the blessed new Jerusalem
Fleet-wing awa!


Old mother-hen Reekie is sore distressed,
Down droops her once well burnished crest,
No joy her lovely trimmed nest
Can yield at all:
Her darling bird that she loves best,
Willie is away.

O, Willie was a witty person,
And had of things an uncommon skill!
Auld Reekie always he kept in order
And trim and handsome;
But now they will garb her like a fright -
Willie is away.

The stiffest of them all he bowed;
The boldest of them all he cowed (daunted);
They did no more than he allowed -
That was a law:
We have lost a smart person well worth gold -
Willie is away.

Now awkward, foolish, simpletons, and fools
From colleges and boarding schools
May sprout like summer mushrooms
In glen or woods:
He who could brush them down to dust,
Willie is away.

The brethren of the Commerce-Chamber
May mourn their loss with woeful clamour:
He was a dictionary and grammar
Among them all.
I fear they will now make many a stammer:
Willie is away.

No more we see his levee door
Philosophers and Poets pour,
And toothy Critics by the score
In bloody row:
The adjutant of all the core,
Willie is away.

Now worthy Gregory's Latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace,
M'Kenzie, Stewart, such a brace
As Rome never saw,
They all must meet some other place -
Willie is away.

Poor Burns even 'Scotch Drink' can not quicken:
He cheeps like some bewildered chicken
Scared from its mother and the brood
By carrion crow.
Grief has given his heart an uncommon kicking -
Willie is away.

Now every sour-mouthed, complaining babbler,
And Calvin's folk, are fit to kill him;
Each self-conceited critic-scullion
His quill (pen) may draw:
He who could finely ward off their assult,
Willie is away.

Up meandering, stately river Tweed I have sped,
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed,
And Ettrick banks, now roaring red
While tempests blow;
But every joy and pleasure has fled:
Willie is away.

May I be Slander's common speech,
A text for Infamy to preach,
And, lastly, stretched out to bleach
In winter snow,
When I forget you, Willie Creech,
Though far away!

May never wicked Fortune tousle him,
May never wicked men bamboozle him,
Until a head as old as Methuselah
He cheerfully scratch!
Then to the blessed new Jerusalem
Fleet-wing away!

 

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