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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 schoold, w ploughman fed.

I doubt it sair, yeve drawn your knowledge
Either frae grammar school, or colledge.

Guid troth, your saul and body baith 
War better fed, Id 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?

Hed 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, Id ride,

Oer moss, an muir, an never grumble,
Tho my auld yad shoud 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.

Id 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,
Id 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 loe the maud

Right wae that were sae far frae ither;
Yet proud I am to ca ye brither.



Elizabeth Scott


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