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Poem by Elizabeth Scott
The Guidwife of Wauchope-House, to Robert Burns, the Airshire Bard. February 1787
My canty, witty, rhyming ploughman, I hafflins doubt, it is na’ true, man, That ye between the stilts was bred, Wi’ ploughman school’d, w’ ploughman fed. I doubt it sair, ye’ve drawn your knowledge Either frae grammar school, or colledge. Guid troth, your saul and body baith War’ better fed, I’d gie my aith, Than theirs, who sup sour milk and parritch, An’ bummil thro’ the single caritch. Whaever heard the ploughman speak, Could tell gif Homer was a Greek? He’d flee as soon upon a cudgel, As get a single line of Virgil. An’ then sae slee ye crack your jokes O’ Willie Pitt and Charlie Fox. Our great men a’ sae weel descrive, An’ how to gar the nation thrive, Ane maist wad swear ye dwalt amang them, An’ as ye saw them, sae ye sang them. But be ye ploughman, be ye peer, Ye are a funny blade, I swear. An’ tho’ the cauld I ill can bide, Yet twenty miles, an’ mair, I’d ride, O’er moss, an’ muir, an’ never grumble, Tho’ my auld yad shou’d gae a stumble, To crack a winter-night wi’ thee, An’ hear thy sangs, an’ sonnets slee. A guid saut herring, an’ a cake Wi’ sic a chiel a feast wad make. I’d rather scour your rumming yill, Or eat o’ cheese and bread my fill, Than wi’ dull lairds on turtle dine, An’ ferlie at their wit and wine. O, gif I kend but whare ye baide, I’d send to you a marled plaid; ’Twad haud your shoulders warm and braw, An’ douse at kirk, or market shaw. Far south, as weel as north, my lad, A’ honest Scotsmen lo’e the maud Right wae that we’re sae far frae ither; Yet proud I am to ca’ ye brither.
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