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Letter to James Tennant, Glenconner


Auld com'rade dear and brither sinner, How's a'the folk about Gl-nc-r; How do ye this blae eastlin win', That's like to blaw a body blin': For me my faculties are frozen, My dearest member nearly dozen'd: I've sent you here by Johnie Simson, Twa sage Philosophers to glimpse on! Smith, wi' his sympathetic feeling, An' Reid to common sense appealing. Philosophers have fought an' wrangled, An meikle Greek an' Latin mangled, Till with their Logic-jargon tir'd, An' in the depth of science mir'd, To common sense they now appeal, What wives an'wabsters see an' feel; But, hark ye, friend, I charge you strictly, Peruse them an' return them quickly; For now I'm grown sae cursed douse, I pray an' ponder butt the house, My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin, Perusing Bunyan, Brown and Boston; Till by an' by, if haud on, I'll grunt a real Gospel groan: Already I begin to try it, To cast my een up like a Pyet, When by the gun she tumbles o'er, Flutt'ring an' gasping in her gore: Sae shortly you shall see me bright, A burning an' a shining light. My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen, The ace an' wale of honest men; When bending down with auld gray hairs, Beneath the load of years and cares, May he who made him still support him, An' views beyond the grave comfort him. His worthy fam'ly far and near, God bless them a' wi' grace and gear. My auld school-fellow, Preacher Willie, The manly tar, my mason billie, An' Auchenbay, I wish him joy; If he's a parent, lass or boy, May he be dad, and Meg the mither, Just five and forty years thegither! An' no forgetting wabster Charlie, I'm tauld he offers very fairly, An' L-d, remember singing Sannoc,k, Wi' hale-breeks, sixpence an' a bannock; An' next, my auld acquaintance, Nancy, Since she is fitted to her fancy; An' her kind stars hae airted till her, A guid chiel wi' a pickle siller: My kindest, best respects I sen' it, To cousin Kate an' sister Janet, Tell them frae me, wi chiels be cautious: For, faith, they'll ablins fin' them fashious: To grant a heart is fairly civil, But to grant a maidenhead's the devil! An lastly, Jamie for yoursel, May guardian angels tak a spell, An' steer you seven miles south o' hell; But first, before you see heav'ns glory, May ye get mony a merry story, Mony a laugh and mony a drink, An' ay aneugh o' needfu' clink. Now fare ye well, an' joy be wi' you, For my sake this I beg it o' you, Assist poor Simson a' ye can, Ye'll fin' him just an honest man: Sae I conclude and quat my chanter, Yours, saint or sinner.

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Gary Lewis

About this work

This is an epistle by Robert Burns. It was written in 1786 and is read here by Gary Lewis.

Themes for this epistle

friendship life

Selected for 01 December

On this day in 1768, a magisterial contribution was made to the world's store of knowledge with the publication in Edinburgh of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Its editor, William Smellie, had printed the Edinburgh edition of Burns's poems. This comprehensive resource remains a tribute to Scotland's love of learning and the 'democratic intellect'. The internationally illustrious 'Common Sense' moral philosopher, Thomas Reid developed his ideas in the same Enlightenment milieu. Famous for founding Aberdeen University’s 'Wise Club', the minister turned mage and sage, well merited his approving mention in today's poem by 'Rab the Ranter'.

Donny O'Rourke

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