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Love And Liberty

A Cantata

 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation


RECITATIVO

1.
When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,
Or, wavering like the bauckie-bird,
Bedim cauld Boreas' blast;
When hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte,
And infant frosts begin to bite,
In hoary cranreuch drest;
Ae night at e'en a merry core
O' randie, gangrel bodies
In Poosie-Nansie's held the splore,
To drink their orra duddies:
Wi' quaffing and laughing
They ranted an' they sang,
Wi' jumping an' thumping
The vera girdle rang.
2.
First, niest the fire, in auld red rags
Ane sat, weel brac'd wi' mealy bags
And knapsack a' in order;
His doxy lay within his arm;
Wi' usquebae an' blankets warm,
She blinket on her sodger.
An' ay he gies the tozie drab
The tither skelpin kiss,
While she held up her greedy gab
Just like an aumous dish:
Ilk smack still did crack still
Like onie cadger's whup;
Then, swaggering an' staggering,
He roar'd this ditty up: -

SONG
TUNE: Soldier's Joy
1.
I am a man of Mars, who have been in many wars,
And show my cuts and scars wherever I come:
This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,
When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
Lal de daudle, etc.
2.
My prenticeship I past, where my leader breath'd his last,
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram;
And I served out my trade when the gallant game
was play'd,
And the Moro low was laid at the sound of the drum.
3.
I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batt'ries,
And there I left for witness an arm and a limb;
Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me
I'd clatter on my stumps at the sound of the drum.
4.
And now, tho' I must beg with a wooden arm and leg,
And many a tatter'd rag hanging over my bum,
I'm as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet
As when I us'd in scarlet to follow a drum.
(Note:- A callet was a drab, a dirty woman, a trull)
5.
What tho' with hoary locks I must stand the winter shocks,
Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home?
When the tother bag I sell, and the tother bottle tell,
I could meet a troop of Hell at the sound of a drum.

RECITATIVO

He ended; and the kebars sheuk
Aboon the chorus roar;
While frighted rattons backward leuk,
An' seek the benmost bore:
A fairy fiddler frae the neuk,
He skirl'd out Encore!
But up arose the martial chuck
An' laid the loud uproar:-

SONG
TUNE: Sodger Laddie (Soldier Boy)
1.
I once was a maid, tho' I cannot tell when,
And still my delight is in proper young men.
Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddie:
No wonder I'm fond of a sodger laddie!
Sing, lal de dal, etc.
2.
The first of my loves was swaggering blade:
To rattle the thundering drum was his trade;
His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy,
Transported I was with my sodger laddie.
3.
But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch;
The sword I forsook for the sake of the church;
He risked the soul, and I ventur'd the body:
'Twas then I prov'd false to my sodger laddie.
4.
Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot;
The regiment at large for a husband I got;
From the gilded spontoon to the fife I was ready
I asked no more but a sodger laddie.
5.
But the Peace it reduc'd me to beg in despair,
Till I met my old boy in a Cunningham Fair;
Hid rags regimental they flutter'd so gaudy:
My heart it rejoic'd at a sodger laddie.
6.
And now I have liv'd - I know not how long!
But still I can join in a cup and a song;
And while with both hands I can hold the glass steady,
Here's to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie!

RECITATIVO

Poor Merry-Andrew in the neuk
Sat guzzling wi' a tinkler-hizzie;
They mind't na wha the chorus teuk,
Between themselves they were sae busy.
At length, wi' drink an' courting dizzy,
He stoiter'd up an' made a face;
Then turn'd an' laid a smack on Grizzie,
Syne tun'd his pipes wi' grave grimace:-

SONG
TUNE: Auld Sir Symon (Old Sir Symon)
1.
Sir Wisdom's a fool when he's fou;
Sir Knave is a fool in a session:
He's there but a prentice I trow,
But I am a fool by profession.
2.
My grannie she bought me a beuk,
An' I held awa to the school:
I fear I my talent misteuk,
But what will ye hae of a fool?
3.
For drink I wad venture my neck;
A hizzie's the half of my craft:
But what could ye other expect
Of ane that's avowedly daft?
4.
I ance was tyed up like a stirk
For civilly swearing and quaffing;
I ance was abus'd i' the kirk
For towsing a lass i' my daffin.
5.
Poor Andrew that tumbles for sport
Let naebody name wi' a jeer:
There's even, I'm tauld, i' the Court
A tumbler ca'd the Premier.
6.
Observ'd ye yon reverend lad
Mak faces to tickle the mob?
He rails at our mountebank squad -
It's rivalship just i' the job!
7.
And now my conclusion I'll tell,
For faith! I'm confoundedly dry:
The cheil that's a fool for himsel,
Guid Lord! he's far dafter than I.

RECITATIVO

Then neist outspak a raucle carlin,
Wha kent fu' weel to cleek the sterlin,
For monie a pursie she had hooked,
An' had in monie a well been douked.
Her love had been a Highland laddie,
But weary fa' the waefu' woodie!
Wi' sighs an' sobs she thus began
To wail her braw John Highlandman:-

SONG
TUNE: O, An' Ye Were Dead, Guidman
(O, And You Were Dead, Husband)
Chorus
Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's not a lad in a' the lan'
Was match for my John Highlandman!
1.
A Highland lad my love was born,
The lalland laws he held in scorn,
But he still was faithfu' to his clan,
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
2.
With his philibeg, an' tartan plaid,
An' guid claymore down by his side,
The ladies hearts he did trepan,
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
3.
We ranged a' from the Tweed to Spey,
An' liv'd like lords an' ladies gay,
For a lalland face he feared none,
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
4.
They banish'd him beyond the sea,
But ere the bud was on the tree,
Adown my cheeks the pearls ran,
Embracing my John Highlandman.
5.
But Och! they catch'd him at the last,
And bound him in a dungeon fast.
My curse upon them every one -
They've hang'd my braw John Highlandman!
6.
And now a widow I must mourn
The pleasures that will ne'er return;
No comfort but a hearty can
When I think on John Highlandman.

RECITATIVO
1.
A pigmy scraper on a fiddle,
Wha us'd to trystes an' fairs to driddle,
Her strappin limb an' gawsie middle
(He reach'd nae higher)
Had hol'd his heartie like a riddle,
An' blawn't on fire.
2.
Wi' hand on hainch and upward e'e,
He croon'd his gamut, one, two, three,
Then in an arioso key
The wee Apollo
Set off wi' allegretto glee
His giga solo:-

SONG
TUNE: Whistle Owre the Lave O't
(Whistle Over the Rest Of It)

Chorus
I am a fiddler to my trade,
An' a' the tunes that e'er I play'd.
The sweetest still to wife or maid
Was Whistle Owre the Lave O't.
1.
Let me ryke up to dight that tear;
An' go wi' me an' be my dear,
An' then your every care an' fear
May whistle owre the lave o't.
2.
At kirns an' weddins we'se be there,
An' O, sae nicely 's we will fare!
We'll bowse about till Daddie Care
Sing Whistle Owre the Lave O't.
3.
Sae merrily the banes we'll pyke,
An' sun oursels about the dyke;
An' at our leisure, when ye like,
We'll - whistle owre the lave o't!
4.
But bless me wi' your heav'n o' charms,
An' while I kittle hair on thairms,
Hunger, cauld, an' a' sic harms
May whistle owre the lave o't.

RECITATIVO

1.
Her charm had struck a sturdy caird
As weel as poor gut-scraper;
He taks the fiddler by the beard,
An' draws a roosty rapier;
He swoor by a' was swearing worth
To speet him like a pliver,
Unless he would from that time forth
Relinquish her for ever.
2.
Wi' ghastly e'e poor Tweedle-Dee
Upon his hunkers bended,
An' pray'd for grace wi' ruefu' face,
An' sae the quarrel ended.
But tho' his little heart did grieve
When round the tinker prest her,
He feign'd to snirtle in his sleeve
When thus the caird address'd her:-

SONG
TUNE: Clout the Cauldron
(Patch the Cauldron)

1.
My bonie lass, I work in brass,
A tinkler is my station;
I've travell'd round all Christian ground
In this my occupation;
I've taen the gold, an' been enrolled
In many a noble squadron;
But vain they search'd when off I march'd
To go an' clout the cauldron.
2.
Despise that shrimp, that wither'd imp,
With a' his noise an' cap'rin,
An' tak a share wi' those that bear
The budget and the apron!
And by that stowp, my faith an' houpe!
And by that dear Kilbaigie!
If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant,
May I ne'er weet my craigie!

RECITATIVO

1.
The caird prevail'd: th' unblushing fair
In his embraces sunk,
Partly wi' love o'ercome sae sair,
An' partly she was drunk.
Sir Violino, with an air
That show'd a man o' spunk,
Wish'd unison between the pair,
An' made the bottle clunk
To their health that night.
2.
But hurchin Cupid shot a shaft,
That play'd a dame a shavie:
The fiddler rak'd her fore and aft
Behint the chicken cavie;
Her lord, a wight of Homer's craft,
Tho' limpin' wi' the spavie,
He hirpl'd up, an lap like daft,
An' shor'd them ' Dainty Davie'
O' boot that night.
3.
He was a care-defying blade
As ever Bacchus listed!
Tho' Fortune sair upon him laid,
His heart, she ever miss'd it.
He had no wish but - to be glad,
Nor want but - when he thirsted,
He hated nought but - to be sad;
An' thus the Muse suggested
His sang that night:-

SONG

TUNE: For A' That, An' A' That
(For All That, And All That)

Chorus
For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that,
I've lost but ane, I've twa behin',
I've wife eneugh for a' that.
1.
I am a Bard, of no regard
Wi' gentle folks an' a' that,
But Homer-like the glowrin byke,
Frae town to town I draw that.
2.
I never drank the Muses' stank,
Castalia's burn, an' a' that;
But there it streams, an' richly reams -
My Helicon I ca' that.
3.
Great love I bear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
4.
In raptures sweet this hour we meet
Wi' mutual love an' a' that;
But for how long the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that!
5.
Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft,
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear the decks, an' here's the Sex!
I like the jads for a' that.
Chorus
For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that,
I've lost but ane, I've twa behin',
I've wife eneugh for a' that.

RECITATIVO

So sung the Bard, and Nansie's wa's
(Note:- Nansie's was Nansie Posie's
Inn where the celebration was taking place)

Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echo'd from each mouth!
They toom'd their pocks, they pawn'd their duds,
They scarcely left to coor their fuds,
To quench their lowin drouth.
Then owre again the jovial thrang
The Poet did request
To lowse his pack, an' wale a sang,
A ballad o' the best:
He rising, rejoicing
Between his twa Deborahs,
Looks round him, an' found them
Impatient for the chorus:-

SONG
TUNE: Jolly Mortals, Fill Your Glasses

Chorus
A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast,
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest!
1.
See the smoking bowl before us!
Mark our jovial, ragged ring!
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing:
2.
What is title, what is treasure,
What is reputation's care?
If we lead a life of pleasure,
'Tis no matter how or where!
3.
With the ready trick and fable
Round we wander all the day;
And at night in barn or stable
Hug our doxies on the hay.
4.
Does the train-attended carriage
Thro' the country lighter rove?
Does the sober bed of marriage
Witness brighter scenes of love?
5.
Life is all a variorum,
We regard not how it goes;
Let them prate about decorum,
Who have character to lose.
6.
Here's to budgets, bags and wallets!
Here's to all the wandering train!
Here's our ragged brats and callets!
One and all, cry out, Amen!





When withered leaves bestrew the ground,
Or, wavering like the bat,
Bedim cold Borieas' (North Wind's) bkast;
When hailstones drive with bitter lash,
And infant frosts begin to bite,
In hoary rime dressed;
One night at evening a merry gang
Of lawless, vagrant bodies
In Poosie-Nansie's held the carousal,
To drink their spare rags:
With quaffing and laughing
They roistered and they sang,
With jumping and thumping
The very girdle rang.

First, next the fire, in old red rags
One sat, well braced with mealy bags
And knapsack all in order;
His girl-friend lay within his arm;
With whiskey and blankets warm,
She leered on her soldier.
And always he gives the flushed with drink drab
The other smacking kiss,
While she held up her greedy mouth
Just like an alms dish:
Each smack still did crack still
Like any hawker's whip;
Then, swaggering and staggering,
He roared this ditty up: -




I am a man of Mars, who have been in many wars,
And show my cuts and scars wherever I come:
This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,
When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
Lal de daudle, etc

My apprenticeship I past, where my leader breathed his last,
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram;
And I served out my trade when the gallant game
was played,
And the Moro low was laid at the sound of the drum.

I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batteries,
And there I left for witness an arm and a limb;
Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me
I would clatter on my stumps at the sound of the drum.

And now, though I must beg with a wooden arm and leg,
And many a tattered rag hanging over my bum,
I am as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my trull
As when I used in scarlet to follow a drum.


What though with hoary locks I must stand the winter shocks,
Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home?
When the other bag I sell, and the other bottle tell,
I could meet a troop of Hell at the sound of a drum.



He ended; and the rafters shook
Above the chorus roar;
While frightened rats backward look,
And seek the inmost hole:
A tiny fiddler from the corner,
He squeaked out Encore!
But up arose the martial dear
And laid the loud uproar:-




I once was a maid, though I cannot tell when,
And still my delight is in proper young men.
Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddy:
No wonder I am fond of a soldier lad!
Sing, lal de dal, etc.

The first of my loves was swaggering blade:
To rattle the thundering drum was his trade;
His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy,
Transported I was with my soldier lad.

But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch;
The sword I forsook for the sake of the church;
He risked the soul, and I ventured the body:
It was then I proved false to my soldier lad.

Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot;
The regiment at large for a husband I got;
From the gilded half pike (halberd) to the fife I was ready
I asked no more but a soldier lad.

But the Peace it reduced me to beg in despair,
Till I met my old boy in a Cunningham Fair;
Hid rags regimental they fluttered so gaudy:
My heart it rejoiced at a soldier lad.

And now I have lived - I know not how long!
But still I can join in a cup and a song;
And while with both hands I can hold the glass steady,
Here is to you, my hero, my soldier lad!



Poor Merry-Andrew in the corner
Sat guzzling with a tinker-wench;
They cared not who the chorus took,
Between themselves they were so busy.
At length, with drink and courting dizzy,
He staggered up and made a face;
Then turned and laid a smack (kiss) on Grizzie,
Then tuned his pipes with grave grimace:-




Sir Wisdom is a fool when he is drunk;
Sir Knave is a fool in a court session:
He is there but a prentice I trust (believe),
But I am a fool by profession.

My grandmother she bought me a book,
And I went off to the school:
I fear I my talent mistook,
But what will you have of a fool?

For drink I would venture my neck;
A wench is the half of my craft:
But what could you otherwise expect
Of one that's avowedly daft?

I once was tied up like a bullock
For civilly swearing and quaffing;
I once was rebuked in the church
For rumpling a girl in my fun.

Poor Andrew that tumbles for sport
Let nobody name with a jeer:
There is even, I am told, in the Court
A tumbler called the Premier.

Observed you yonder reverend lad
Make faces to tickle the mob?
He rails at our mountebank squad -
It is rival-ship just in the job!

And now my conclusion I will tell,
For faith! I am confoundedly dry:
The fellow that is a fool for himself,
Good Lord! he is far more daft than I.



Then next spoke out a sturdy old woman,
Who knew full well to snatch the sterling (money),
For many a purse she had hooked,
And had in many a well been ducked.
Her love had been a Highland lad,
But weary fall the woeful woody (plague on the gallows)!
With sighs and sobs she thus began
To wail her fine John Highland-man:-





Sing hey my fine John Highland-man!
Sing ho my fine John Highland-man!
There is not a lad in all the land
Was match for my John Highland-man!

A Highland lad my love was born,
The lowland laws he held in scorn,
But he still was faithful to his clan,
My gallant, fine John Highland-man.

With his kilt, and tartan plaid,
And good claymore (large sword) by his side,
The ladies hearts he did trepan (snare),
My gallant, fine John Highland-man.

We ranged all from the river Tweed to river Spey,
And lived like lords and ladies gay,
For a lowland face he feared none,
My gallant, fine John Highland-man.

They banished him beyond the sea,
But ere the bud was on the tree,
Down my cheeks the pearls ran,
Embracing my John Highland-man.

But Och! they caught him at the last,
And bound him in a dungeon fast.
My curse upon them every one -
They have hanged my fine John Highland-man!

And now a widow I must mourn
The pleasures that will never return;
No comfort but a hearty can
When I think on John Highland-man.



A pigmy scraper on a fiddle,
Who used to trysts and fairs to driddle,
Her strapping limb and buxom middle
(He reached no higher)
Had holed his hearty like a riddle,
And blew it on fire.

With hand on hip and upward eye,
He crooned (hummed) his gamut, one, two, three,
Then in an arioso key
The little Apollo
Set off with allegretto glee
His giga solo:-






I am a fiddler to my trade,
And all the tunes that ever I played.
The sweetest still to wife or maid
Was Whistle Over the Rest Of It.

Let me reach up to wipe that tear;
And go with me and be my dear,
And then your every care and fear
May whistle over the rest of it.

At harvest-homes and weddings we will be there,
And O, so nicely as we will fare!
We will bowse about till Daddie Care
Sing Whistle Over the Rest Of It.

So merrily the bones we will pick,
And sun ourselves about the stone-wall
And at our leisure, when you like,
We will - whistle over the rest of it!

But bless me with your heaven of charms,
And while I tickle hair on catgut,
Hunger, cold, and all such harms
May whistle over the rest of it.




Her charm had struck a sturdy tinker
As well as poor gut-scraper;
He takes the fiddler by the beard,
And draws a rusty rapier;
He swore by all was swearing worth
To spit him like a plover,
Unless he would from that time forth
Relinquish her for ever.

With ghastly eye poor Tweedle-Dee
Upon his hunkers (squatting position) bent,
And prayed for grace with rueful face,
And so the quarrel ended.
But though his little heart did grieve
When round the tinker pressed her,
He feigned to snigger in his sleeve
When thus the tinker addressed her:-






My lovely lass, I work in brass,
A tinker is my station;
I have travelled round all Christian ground
In this my occupation;
I have taken the gold, and been enrolled
In many a noble squadron;
But vain they searched when off I marched
To go and patch the cauldron.

Despise that shrimp, that withered imp,
With all his noise and capering,
And take a share with those that bear
The budget and the apron!
And by that pot, my faith and hope!
And by that dear Kilbaigie (a favourite brand of whiskey)!
If ever you want, or meet with scant,
May I never wet my throat!




The tinker prevailed: the unblushing fair
In his embraces sunk,
Partly with love overcome so sore,
And partly she was drunk.
Sir Violino, with an air
That showed a man of spirit,
Wished unison between the pair,
And made the bottle chink
To their health that night.

But urchin Cupid shot a shaft,
That played a dame a trick:
The fiddler raked her fore and aft
Behind the chicken hencoop;
Her lord, a sturdy person of Homer's craft,
Though limping with the spavin,
He hobbled up, and leapt like mad,
And offered them ' Dainty Davie'
Of Gratis that night.

He was a care-defying blade
As ever Bacchus listed!
Though Fortune sore upon him laid,
His heart, she ever missed it.
He had no wish but - to be glad,
Nor want but - when he thirsted,
He hated naught but - to be sad;
And thus the Muse suggested
His song that night:-







For all that, and all that,
And twice as much as all that,
I have lost but one, I have two behind,
I have wife enough for all that.

I am a Bard, of no regard
With gentle folks and all that,
But Homer-like the staring crowd,
From town to town I draw that.

I never drank the Muses' pond,
Castalia's stream, and all that;
But there it streams, and richly foams -
My Helicon I call that.

Great love I bear to all the fair,
Their humble slave and all that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thwart that.

In raptures sweet this hour we meet
With mutual love and all that;
But for how long the fly may sting,
Let inclination law that!

Their tricks and craft have put me daft,
They have taken me in, and all that;
But clear the decks, and here is the Sex!
I like the woman for all that.

For all that, and all that,
And twice as much as all that,
I have lost but one, I have two behind,
I have wife enough for all that.



So sung the Bard, and Nansie's walls



Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echoed from each mouth!
They emptied their pockets, they pawned their clothes,
They scarcely left to cover their tails,
To quench their burning thirst.
Then over again the jovial throng
The Poet did request
To untie his pack, and choose a song,
A ballad of the best:
He rising, rejoicing
Between his two Deborahs,
Looks round him, and found them
Impatient for the chorus:-





A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty is a glorious feast,
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest!

See the smoking bowl before us!
Mark our jovial, ragged ring!
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing:

What is title, what is treasure,
What is reputation's care?
If we lead a life of pleasure,
It is no matter how or where!

With the ready trick and fable
Round we wander all the day;
And at night in barn or stable
Hug our lover on the hay.4.

Does the train-attended carriage
Through the country lighter rove?
Does the sober bed of marriage
Witness brighter scenes of love?

Life is all a variorum,
We regard not how it goes;
Let them prate about decorum,
Who have character to lose.

Here is to budgets, bags and wallets!
Here is to all the wandering train!
Here is our ragged brats and trulls!
One and all, cry out, Amen!

 

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