To Mr Gavin Hamilton. Mauchline

I hold it, Sir, my bounden duty To warn you how that Master TOOTIE, Alias, Laird Mcgawn, Was here to hire yon lad away 'Bout which ye spak the ither day, An' wad hae done't aff han': But lest he learn the callan tricks, As faith I muckle doubt him, Like scrapin out auld Crummies' nicks, An' telling lies about them; As lieve then I'd have then, Your CLERKSHIP he should sair; If sae be ye may be Not fitted otherwhere. Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough, An' 'bout a HOUSE that's rude an' rough, The boy might learn to SWEAR; But then we' you, he'll be sae taught, An' get sic fair EXAMPLE straight, I hae na ony fear. Ye'll catechize him, ev'ry quirk, An' shore him weel wi' HELL; An' gar him follow to the kirk Ay, when you gan YOURSEL. If you then maun be then Frae hame, this comin Friday, Then please Sir, to lea'e Sir, The orders wi' your LADY. My word of HONOR I hae gien, In PAISLEY JOHN'S, that night at een, To meet the WARLD'S WORM; To try to get the twa to gree, An' name the airless, an' the fee, In legal mode an' form: I ken, he weel a SNICK can draw, When simple bodies let him; An' if a DEVIL be at a', In faith, he's sure to get him. To phrase you, an' praise you, Ye ken your LAUREAT scorns: The PRAY'R still, you share still, Of grateful MINSTREL BURNS. Mossgaville, Wednesday, 3rd May, 1786


Tam Dean Burn

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1786 and is read here by Tam Dean Burn.

Themes for this poem

work religion class

Locations for this poem


Selected for 03 May

Today's poem is dated May 3rd, 1786 and was addressed to Burns’s friend, landlord, drinking companion and fellow opponent of rigid, 'Auld Licht', Calvinism, Gavin Hamilton. 'Grateful, minstrel Burns' may not have been aware of the anniversary on which he wrote. This day in 1759, saw the Knoxian Reformation get underway in Scotland. That rift and shift in religion, art and politics, can be said to have helped shape the poet’s outlook, and that of every Scot since.

Donny O'Rourke

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