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Contains strong language

Grim Grizzle

Grim Grizzel was a mighty Dame Weel kend on Cluden-side: Grim Grizzel was a mighty Dame O' meikle fame and pride. When gentles met in gentle bowers And nobles in the ha', Grim Grizzel was a mighty Dame, The loudest o' them a'. Where lawless Riot rag'd the night And Beauty durst na gang, Grim Grizzel was a mighty Dame Wham nae man e'er wad wrang. Nor had Grim Grizzel skill alane What bower and ha' require; But she had skill, and meikle skill, In barn and eke in byre. Ae day Grim Grizzel walked forth, As she was wont to do, Alang the banks o' Cluden fair, Her cattle for to view. The cattle sh- o'er hill and dale As cattle will incline, And sair it grieved Grim Grizzel's heart Sae muckle muck to tine. And she has ca'd on John o' Clods, Of her herdsmen the chief, And she has ca'd on John o' Clods, And tell'd him a' her grief: 'Now wae betide thee, John o' Clods! I gie thee meal and fee, And yet sae meikle muck ye tine Might a' be gear to me! 'Ye claut my byre, ye sweep my byre, The like was never seen; The very chamber I lie in Was never half sae clean. 'Ye ca' my kye adown the loan And there they a' discharge: My Tammy's hat, wig, head and a' Was never half sae large! 'But mind my words now, John o' Clods, And tent me what I say: My kye shall sh- ere they gae out, That shall they ilka day. 'And mind my words now, John o' Clods, And tent now wha ye serve; Or back ye 'se to the Colonel gang, Either to steal or starve'. Then John o' Clods he looked up And syne he looked down; He looked east, he looked west, He looked roun' and roun'. His bonnet and his rowantree club Frae either hand did fa'; Wi' lifted een and open mouth He naething said at a'. At length he found his trembling tongue, Within his mouth was fauld: 'Ae silly word frae me, madam, Gin I daur be sae bauld. 'Your kye will at nae bidding sh-, Let me do what I can; Your kye will at nae bidding sh- Of onie earthly man. 'Tho' ye are great Lady Glaur-hole, For a' your power and art Tho' ye are great Lady Glaur-hole, They winna let a fart'. 'Now wae betide thee, John o' Clods! An ill death may ye die! My kye shall at my bidding sh-, And that ye soon shall see'. Then she's ta'en Hawkie by the tail, And wrung wi' might and main, Till Hawkie rowted through the woods Wi' agonising pain. 'Sh-, sh-, ye bitch,' Grim Grizzel roar'd, Till hill and valley rang; 'And sh-, ye bitch,' the echoes roar'd Lincluden wa's amang.


Jonathan Watson

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1795 and is read here by Jonathan Watson.

Themes for this poem

farming humour work

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