References to the poetry of Robert Burns in The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson

(Note:  The page numbers below refer to the published book, but many are still excerpts.
  See bottom of page for link to complete poems via the internet.)
 

Chapter 1

p. 1
From "John Barleycorn"
And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank,
Their joy did more abound

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.

'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'Twill heighten all his joy:
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing,
Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne're fail in old Scotland!

p. 1
From "Epistle To Hugh Parker"

In this strange land, this uncouth clime,
A land unknown to prose or rhyme;
Where words ne'er cross't the Muse's heckles,
Nor limpit in poetic shackles:
A land that Prose did never view it,
Except when drunk he stacher't thro' it;
Here, ambush'd by the chimla cheek,
Hid in an atmosphere of reek,
I hear a wheel thrum i' the neuk,
I hear it-for in vain I leuk.
The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel,
Enhusked by a fog infernal:
Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures,
I sit and count my sins by chapters;
For life and spunk like ither Christians,
I'm dwindled down to mere existence . . .

p. 2
From "Lines Written on a Bank Note"
For lake o' thee I leave this much-loved shore,
Never perhaps to greet Old Scotland more!

p. 2
From "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer, to the Right
Honorable and Honorable, the Scotch
Representatives in the House of Commons"

FREEDOM and WHISKY gang thegither,
Tak aff your dram!

p. 10
From "The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer"
Dearest of Distillations last and best!--
How art thou lost!--
Parody on Milton

p. 14
From "John Barleycorn":
'Twill make a man forget his woe'

p. 15/16
From "Address to the Deil"
An' let poor damned bodies be;
I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,
Ev'n to a deil,
To skelp an' scaud poor dogs like me,
An' hear us squeal!

p. 16
From "John Barleycorn"
And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
And drank it round and round;

and,

John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
Of noble enterprise,
For if you do but taste his blood,
'Twill make your courage rise.
 

Chapter 2

p. 19/20
From "Tam O'Shanter: A Tale"
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil!

p. 19
From "To Robert Graham of Fintry, Esq. aka The Poet's Progres"
Critics! appll'd I venture on the name,
Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame,
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes,
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose:

p. 27
From a poem attributed to Burns, "Gie the Lass her Fairin'"
Then gie the lass a fairin', lad,
O gie the lass her fairin' (=food),
And she'll gie you a hairy thing,
An' of it be na spain';
But coup her o'er amang the creels,
An' bar the door wi' baith your heels,
The mair she bangs the less she squeels,
An' hey for houghmagandie (=fornication).
 

Chapter 3

p. 29
Adapted from "A Red, Red Rose"
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

p. 29
From "Epistle to John Lapraik, An Old Scotch Bard"
There's ae wee faut they whiles lay to me;
I like the lasses--Gude forgie me!
For monie a plack they wheedle frae me,
It dance or fair:
Maybe some ither thing they gie me
They weel can spare.
 

Chapter 4

p. 41
From "It Was Upon a Lammas Night"
I lov'd her most sincerely,

p. 41
From "Address to the Deil"
Lang syne in Eden's bonie yard,
When youthfu' lovers first were pair'd,
An' all the soul of love they shar'd,
The raptur'd hour,
Sweet on the fragrant flow'ry swaird,
In shady bower.
Then you, ye auld, snick-drawing dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog,
An' play'd on man a cursed brogue,
(Black be your fa'!)
An' gied the infant warld a shog,
'Maist rui'd a'.

p. 52
From "My Love She's But a Lassie Yet"
My love, she's but a lassie yet,
My love, she's but a lassie yet;
We'll let her stand a year or twa,
She'll no be half sae saucy yet;

I rue the day I sought her, O!
I rue the day I sought her, O!
Wha gets her needs na say she's woo'd,
But he may say he's bought her, O
 

Chapter 5

p. 55
From "To James Smith"
When ance life's day draws near the gloaming,
Then farewell vacant, careless roaming;
An' farewell cheerful' tankards formin,
An' social noise;
An' farewell dear, deluding woman,
The joy of joys!

p. 55
From "Death and Dr. Hornbook"
... `Ye needna yoke the pleugh,
Kirk-yards will soon be till'd eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear:
They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh, = ditch
In twa-three year.

p. 61-same as p. 55-Kirk-yards ...
 

Chapter 6

p. 63-same as p. 55-farewell ...

p. 70
From "Green Grow the Rashes. A Fragment."
Auld Nature swears, the lovely Dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice han' she try'd on man,
An' then she made the lasses, O.

p. 71-bawdy version, from The Merry Muses, ed. Eric Lemuel Randall, Luxor Press, London
 

Chapter 7

p. 85
From "The Bonie Wee Thing"
Wit, and Graced, and Love, and Beauty,
In ae constellation shine;
To adore thee is my duty,
Goddess o' this soul o' mine!
Bonie wee thing, canie wee thing,
Lovely wee thing was thou mine;
I wad wear thee in my bosom,
Least my Jewel I should tine (=lose).

p. 85
From "Sae Flaxen Were Her Ringlets"
Sae flaxen were her ringlets,
Her eyebrows of a darker hue,
Bewitchingly o'erarching
Twa laughing een o' bonie blue;
Her smiling, sae wyling,
Wad made a wretch forget his woe;
What pleasure, what treasure,
Unto these rosy lips to grow:

Like harmony her motion;
Her pretty ancle is a spy,
Betraying fair proportion
Wad made a saint forget the sky.
Sae warming, sae charming,
Her fauteless form and graceful' air;
Ilk feature - auld Nature
Declar'd that she could do nae mair

p. 86-same

p. 93
From "A Poet's Welcome to His Love-Begotten Daughter;
The first Instance that Entitled Him to the Venerable Appellation of Father"
Gude grant that thou may ay inherit
They mither's looks, and gracefu' merit;
An' they poor worthless dady's spirit,
Without his failins,
'Twill please me mair to see thee heir it
Than stocket mailens. (= stocked farms/holdings)
 

Chapter 8

p. 103
From "To a Haggis"-half of text in chapter
 

p. 103
From "The Twa Dogs, A Tale"
When rural life, of ev'ry station,
Unite in common recreation;
Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
 

Chapter 9

p. 113
From "To a Mouse, On Turning Her up in Her Next with the Plough, November 1785"
The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

p. 113
Browning's poem is cited on page

p. 126
From "A Red, Red Rose"
And fare-thee-weel, my only luve,
And fare-thee-weel a shile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Tho' it were ten-thousand mile.

p. 126
From "Henpecked Husband," sometimes known as "The Tyrant Wife"
Curs'd be the man, the poorest wretch in life,
The crouching vassal to a tyrant wife!
Who has no will but by her high permission,
Who has not sixpence but in her possession;
Who must to he, his dear friend's secrets tell,
Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell.
Were such the wife had fallen to my part,
I'd break her spirit or I'd break her heart;
I'd charm her with the magic of a switch,
I'd kiss her maids, and kick the perverse b--.

p. 126
From "The Banks o' Doon"
Aft hae I rov'd by Bonie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine;
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! he left the thorn wi' me.
 

Chapter 10

p. 133
From "To a Mouse"-see previous reference

p. 133
From "Tam O'Shanter: A Tale"-just before "Tam maun ride"

p. 141
From "Ae Fond Kiss"
Had we never lov'd sae kindly,
Had we never lov'd sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
 

Chapter 11

p. 151
From "Ae Fond Kiss"-as quoted earlier

p. 166
From "To the Same" (John Lapraik)
My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp,
Tho' Fortune use you hard an' sharp;
come, kittle up your moorlan harp
Wi' gleesome touch!
Ne'er mind how Fortune waft and warp;
She's but a b-tch.

She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
Sin' I could striddle owre a rig;
But by the Lord, tho' I should beg
Wi' lyart pow,
I'll laugh, an' sing, an' shake my leg,
As lang's I dow!
...
`O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift,
Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift,
Thro' Scotland wide;
Wi cits nor lairds I wadna shift, (cit = pragmatic tradesman)
In a' their pride!'
 

Chapter 12

p. 171
From "Is There for Honest Poverty (A Man's a Man for a' That)"-last stanza

p. 185
From "To a Haggis"

p. 185
From "The Selkirk Grace"-attributed to Burns
Some hae meat an' canna eat
and some wad eat that want it
but we hae meat an' we can eat
and sae the lord be thankit.

And if it please thee heavenly guide
may never worse be sent
but granted or denied
lord bless us with content.

p. 186
From "To a Mouse"
 

Chapter 13

p. 189
From "The Vision"
`Or when the deep-green-mantl'd Earth,
Warm-cherished ev'ry floweret's birth,
And joy and music pouring forth,
In ev'ry grove,
I saw thee eye the gen'ral mirth
With boundless love.

p. 189
From "The Twa Dogs, A Tale"
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges an' schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsel's to vex them;
An' aye the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion, less will hurt them.

p. 210
Parody of "I Love My Jean"
I see her in the dewy flowers,
I see her sweet and fair;
I hear her in the tunefu' birds,
I hear her charm the air:
There's not a bony flower, that springs
By fountain, shaw, or green,
There's not a bony bird that sings,
But minds me o' my Jean.

p. 212
From "O Once I Lov'd"
O once I lov'd a bonny lass
Ay and I love her still
...
For absolutely in my breat
She reigns without control.

p. 216
From "The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie, the
Author's Only Pet Yoew, an Unco' Mournfu' Tale"
'Tell him, he was a Master kin',
An' ay was guid to me an' mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs, I trust them wi' him.'
 

Chapter 14

p. 217
From "Death and Dr. Hornbook"
.. `Ye needna yoke the pleugh,
Kirk-yards will soon be till'd eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear:
They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh,
In twa-three year.

p. 217
From "Man Was Made to Mourn. A Dirge"
But see him on the edge of life,
With cares and sorrows worn,
Then age and want, Oh! ill-match'd pair!
Show Man was made to mourn.
...
Oh Death! the poor man's dearest friend

p. 220
From "My Peggy's Face"
My Peggy's face, my Peggy's form,
The frost of hermit age might warm;
My Peggy's worth, my Peggy's mind,
Might charm the first of humankind.

p. 220
From "Man Was Made to Mourn. A Dirge"
And see his lordly fellow-worm,
The poor petition spurn
 

Chapter 15

p. 225
From "Man Was Made to Mourn. A Dirge"
... lordly fellow-worm

p. 225
From "Epistle to Davie, A Brother Poet"
Then let us cheerfu' acquiesce,
Nor make our scanty pleasures less,
By pining at our state:
And, even should misfortunes come,
I, here wha sit, hae met wi' some-
An's thankfu' for them yet.
They gie the wit of age to youth;
They let us ken oursel';
They make us see the naked truth,
The real guid and ill:
Tho' losses an' crosses
Be lessons right severe,
There's wit there, ye'll get there,
Ye'll find nae other where.

p. 229
From "Epistle to Davie, A Brother Poet"
All hail! ye tender feelings dear!
The smile of love, the friendly tear,
The sympathetic blow!
L ong since, this world's thorny ways
Ad number'd out my weary days,
Had it not been for you!

p. 229
From "The Vision"
All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mus'd on wasted time,
How I had spent my youth' prime,
An' done nae-thing,
But stringing blethers u in rhyme
For fools to sing.

p. 233
From "Epitaph on My Own Friend, and My Father's Friend, William Muir of Tarbolton Mill"
An honest man here lies at rest,
As e'er God with his image blest:
...
If there's another world, he lives in bliss;
If there is none, he made the best of this.
 

Chapter 16

p. 245
From "The Vision"-see last chapter

p.245
From "Lines Written on a Bank Note"-see p. 1

p. 248
From "The Vision"-see Chapter XIII, p. 162
 

Chapter 17

p. 255
From "Epistle to Davie, A Brother Poet"
Yet Nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods,
Are free alike to all.
...
Nae treasures, nor pleasures
Could makde us happy lang;
The heart ay's the part ay,
That makes us right or wrang.

p. 255
From "Lassie Lie Near Me"
Lang hae we parted been,
Lassie my dearie;
Now we are met again,
Lassie lie near me.

Near me, near me,
Lassie lie near me
Lang hast though lien thy lane,
Lassie lie near me.

A' that I hae endur'd,
Lassie, my dearie,
Here in thy arms is cur'd,
Lassie lie near me.

Near me, &c

p. 256
From "Mary Morison"
O Mary, at thy window be,
It is the wishe'd, the trusted hour;
Those smiles and glances let me see,
That make the miser's treasure poor:

p. 257
From "John Anderson My Jo"
John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day, John,
We've had wi' ane anither:

p. 258
From "Oh Wet Thou in the Cauld Blast"
O wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee;
Or did Misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.

Or were I in the wildest waste,
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a Paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there;
Or were I Monarch o' the globe,
Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my Crown
Wad be my Queen, wad be my Queen.

p. 259
From "Epistle to Davie, A Brother Poet"
The heart ay's the part ay,
That makes us right or wrang.
...
All hail! ye tender feelings dear!
The smile of love, the friendly tear,
The sympathetic blow!
L ong since, this world's thorny ways
Ad number'd out my weary days,
Had it not been for you!

p. 260
From "Lassie Lie Near Me"-see p. 219
 

For complete poems, I recommend visiting the website of Robert Burns Country: The Works,
with their alphabetical listing of the Complete Burns, with full text.

Return to synopsis of The Slow Air of Ewan MacPherson.

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