Epistle to Captain William Logan at Park

Hail, thairm-inspirin, rattlin Willie! Though Fortune's road be rough an' hilly To ev'ry fiddling, rhyming billie, We never heed; But tak it like th' unbacked Fillie, Proud o' her speed. When idly goavin, whyles we saunter, Yirr, Fancy barks, - awa we canter, Up-hill, down-brae, till some mishanter, Some black Bog-hole, Arreest us; then the scathe an' banter We're forc'd to thole. Hale be your HEART! Hale be your FIDDLE! Lang may your elbuck jink an' didle, To chear you through the weary widdle O' this vile Warl: Until ye on a crummock dridle, A grey-hair'd Carl! Come WEALTH, come POORTITH, late or soon, Heav'n send your HEART-STRINGS ay IN TUNE! An' screw your TEMPER-PINS aboon, A FIFTH or mair, The melancholious, sairie croon O' cankrie CARE! May still your Life from day to day, Nae LENTE LARGO, in the play, But ALLEGRETTO FORTE, gay, Harmonious flow: A sweeping, kindling, bauld STRATHSPEY, Encore! Bravo! A' blessins on the cheery gang Wha dearly like a Jig or sang; An' never balance RIGHT and WRANG By square and rule, But , as the CLEGS O' FEELING stang , Are wise or fool! My hand-wal'd CURSE keep hard in chase The harpy, hoodock , purse-proud RACE, Wha count on POORTITH as disgrace! Their tuneless hearts, May FIRE-SIDE DISCORDS jar a BASS To a' their PARTS. But come- your hand- my careless brither - I' th' tither WARLD, if there's anither, An' that there is, I've little swither About the matter; We, cheek-for-chow shall jog the gither, I 'se ne'er bid better. We've fauts an' failins, - granted clearly: We're frail, backsliding Mortals meerly: Eve's bonie SQUAD, Priests wyte them sheerly, For our grand fa'; But still- but still- I like them dearly; God bless them a'! Ochon! for poor CASTALIAN DRINKERS, When they fa' foul o' earthly Jinkers! The witching, curst, delicious blinkers Hae put me hyte; An' gart me weet my waukrife winkers, Wi' girnan spite. But by yon Moon! an' that's high swearin; An' every Star within my hearin! An' by her een! wha was a dear ane, I'll ne'er forget; I hope to gie the JADS a clearin In fair play yet! My loss I mourn, but not repent it; I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it; Ance to the Indies I were wonted, Some cantraip hour By some sweet Elf I'll yet be dinted; Then, VIVE L'AMOUR! Faites mes BAISEMAINS respectueuse, To sentimental Sister Susie, And honest LUCKY ; no to roose ye, Ye may be proud, That sic a couple Fate allows ye To grace your blood. Nae mair, at present, can I measure, An' trowth my rhymin ware's nae treasure; But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure, Be't light, be't dark, Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure To call at PARK.


David Hayman

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1786 and is read here by David Hayman.

More about this poem

William Logan was an officer who served in the American war. Although the poem indicates that he was a Captain and sometimes even a Major, he was in fact a lieutenant on half-pay when he encountered Burns.

He was living with his sister, Susan, at Park in Ayr during this period, although he did achieve the rank of Major later when he served in the West Lowland Fencibles (1794-1799).

The Epistle is dated 30 October 1786, and a manuscript copy of it was turned out from a cabinet by Logan’s sister, a Mrs Mackenzie of Ayr. It is naturally presumed that this was the copy which was sent to Logan.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this poem

life friendship

Locations for this poem


Selected for 30 October

A selection bearing the date 30th October, 1786. Who wouldn't rejoice in such exuberantly graceful, affectionately detailed and skilfully versified good wishes? One can FEEL the fondness...

Donny O'Rourke

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