Willie Brew'd A Peck O' Maut


O Willie brew'd a peck o' maut, And Rob and Allen cam to see; Three blyther hearts, that lee-lang night, Ye wadna found in Christendie. We are na fou, we're nae that fou, But just a drappie in our ee; The cock may craw, the day may daw And aye we'll taste the barley bree. Here are we met, three merry boys, Three merry boys I trow are we; And mony a night we've merry been, And mony mae we hope to be! It is the moon, I ken her horn, That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie; She shines sae bright to wyle us hame, But, by my sooth, she'll wait a wee! Wha first shall rise to gang awa, A cuckold, coward loun is he! Wha first beside his chair shall fa', He is the King amang us three. We are na fou, we're nae that fou, But just a drappie in our ee; The cock may craw, the day may daw And aye we'll taste the barley bree.

Listen

Robbie Coltrane

Fred MacAulay

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1789 and is read here by Robbie Coltrane.

More about this poem

This celebration of drink was meant as a remedy to what Burns saw as a lack of material on the subject. 'Scots Bacchanalians we certainly want' he wrote in 1794, 'though the few that we have are excellent' (Kingsley).

The song is particularly notable for its joyous and rowdy verses with 'Wha first shall rise to gang awa,/ A cuckold, coward loun is he!/ Wha first beside his chair shall fa',/ He is the king amang us three!

Concluding a song which is described as 'one of the happiest instances of poetic and musical union in Burns's work' (Kingsley).

Iain Macdonald

Themes for this poem

humour drink brotherhood

Selected for 12 October

Munich's Oktoberfest may be held in September but October is when many a keg or barrel is broached, letting the new ale foam and flow and drams leap from the cask. Robert Burns certainly liked a drink now and then. The maker of the malt on this occasion was his friend Willie Nicol. Today's poem, in praise of his home brewed 'barley bree' has a wonderfully comic chorus. However, its charming assertion of semi-sobriety would be unlikely to convince a breathalyser bearing police constable.

Donny O'Rourke

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.