From a Gentleman in a Government Office to one in Edinburgh, in Imitation of Burns
Dear C----, your letters came on time
(And the receipt within it)
To draw an answer to’t in rhyme
Sir I’ve a leisure minute:
I muckle am rejoiced to find
Ye ha’nt forgot your duty,
But that ye stile do bear in mind
The charms of female beauty
which bless mankind.
But yet no thanks the Glasgow dames
Do owe your penetration;
Edina’s lassie only claims
Your lavish commendation.
I dinna ken that one alone
O! bonnie Scotland’s cities
Held undisputed, beauty’s throne
Tho’ such it seems your fit is
To give’t to one.
I love the lovely blossoms a’
In England or in Scotland,
An’ evil may the wretch begla’
I dinna care in what land,
Who would not, wi’ his hearts best bluid,
Protect the pretty creatures,
Whom heaven has made our choicest guid
Wh’are dearer to our natures
Than life or food.
Sir ye have gain’d a longer leave
From Mister Secretary,
Believe me I’maun muckle grieve
Unless your plan you vary,
And, ’stead of resting a’ your time
A’n Edinburgh billie,
Go penetrate the highland clime
My honest, winsome, Willie,
Now in your prime.
Oh, were I wi’ you C---- I trove
We would, I tell you fairly,
O’er lofty hill, thro valley low
E’en scour the country rarely;
We’d trace the scenes where Wallace fought
O’ liberty the martyr,
When he his proud invaders taught
How dear he held the charter
Which freedom brought.
How say ye — does the bride bespeak
O’ bairns but half a dozen?
Weel, deil may care, she’ll not be weak
When sic a number’s risen,
If that her girls are good an’ fair
If that her boys have honor,
Oh, how a mother’s heart must fare
When bliss so smiles upon her
Soul’s dearest care!
Then choose a wife for yoursel’
If life’s best joys you cherish
For joys like these (but choose her well)
Wi’ life alone will perish.
Ye’ll find in E’nburgh town, I ween,
Some lassie sweet an’ sonsie,
An’ fit to be your bosom’s queen,
Or ye are unco donsie,
Where ye have been.
Ye talk of bacon, ham, and tongue
Of Scottish ale and whisky;
Deil man, they’ll mak the old one young
And Jem and Harry frisky
But soothe we’ll play a noble part
In honor o’ your giftie,
An’ drink to that same oprn heart
That scorns to be too thrifty
I’th giving art.
Our friend, Bob Ham, is gone to tak
His pleasure down at Lincoln,
And may he no enjoyment lack
That fancy loves to think on
Jack Battey, I maun grieve to say
Wi’ sickness still is striving
But soon I hope will come the day
When he’ll again be thriving
In health’s fair way.
Now fare ye weil until once more
We meet in Lunna town, man
Come not by sea, but keep on shore
For fear that you should drown man
Ye’ll think perhaps I write full oft
But this won’t mak ye sair man
Here’s twenty pounds from Billy Croft
Which sure will keep wi’ care man
Your head aloft.