I never had the least thought or inclination of turning poet til I once got heartily in love, & then the rhyme & song were, in a manner the spontaneous language of my head
Of poesy & her best of men
I sing, a name that maist must ken,
Its notes still sound through street & glen,
From fame’s flaught horn;
What years are flown, twelve score & ten,
Since Burns was born.
His father toiled thro’ snow & sun,
Crafting an marvellous garden,
Grafting for friendly gentlemen,
Of small estate,
Whose first born, Rab, tho’ poor man’s son,
Was rich in fate.
Whose daddie hail’d from Aberdeen,
A handsome laddie, wise & lean,
Who’d marry him a harvest queen
From fair old Ayr;
These soon sired six more siblings mean,
Rab’s bed to share.
They settl’d by the gentle Doon,
With kettle-happy Granma’ Broun,
Who whistl’d muckle lip-suck’d tune
While cooking neeps,
Or mutter’d tayles neath bright’ning moon
To frighten sleeps.
She spoke of elfcandles, spunkies,
Of witches, warlocks, wraiths, kelpies,
Of dragons, giants & brownies,
From realms faerie;
Such wyrd & wondrous trumperies
Fuell’d Rab’s fancy
His mind was as the green, young corn
That grows before the golden dawn,
But as Burns was a poet born,
Of no mean clout,
Like Venus in the puff of morn
His stalk stood out.
His father was a Jacobite,
Who said, “Good men will always fight
For what they feel is wrong & right,
Wheth’e’er they died!”
Whetting a poets appetite
For native pride.
As vernal Burns PATRIOT is
The Blacksmith who shod his horses
Lends him a book on WALLACE’s
Triumphs & pains,
Pouring SCOTTISH prejudices
Down boiling veins.
The merry muses have their way;
But not Edina, grand & grey,
Nor Glasgow or green Galloway
Can this bard claim,
First wee & airy Alloway
Felt Rabbie’s fame.
Dalrymple school would always tell
As soon as Burns could amaist spell
He to the crambo-jingle fell
Tho’ rough & rude;
The Scottish muse, that crooning belle,
In him renewed.
But written down! No, not a jot,
A poet drown’d in his life’s lot,
Chain’d to the daily porridge pot,
Ne’er knowing meat,
When only ma’s thick broth (& hot),
He loved to eat.
Now foregether’d with family
They’ll share old sangs & poetry,
Or snippet thro’ old history
From Bruce to Rome;
For Burns was bless’d wi,’ luckily,
A braw Scotch home!
Rab soon absorbs his ain zeitgeist,
Learns of the goods ilk cotter priced,
Reads Grecian gods & Jesus Christ,
Kens ailments sair;
But not yet how hearts crush’d & sliced
By maiden’s fair.
At last the laddie turns sixteen
At harvest coupling, when his e’en
Was fill’d with fairest country queen,
One autumn less;
She was the fairest he had seen
In dance & dress.
As lassie chimes with such sweet feel,
Rab’s blurring heart did wrack & wheel,
His mind riming to every reel
With spangling pang,
From whence his soul began to deal
In sense & sang.
It fell upon a Lammas night
When he first saw a breast fair white,
Rous’d up a lusty appetite
‘Mang barley rigs,
Of how to squeeze & tease & bite
& squeal like pigs.
Soon Rabbie’s loins were running free
Leddie Peggy… dour-faced Maisie…
Fancy Jenny… easy Sophie…
Enjoy’d his charms,
While Lochiel’s maid, long-lash’d Lizzie,
Adores his arms.
By day Lizzie was sweet as brandy,
But in moonlight turn’d rough & randy,
Loving a tongue-lash’d houghmagandie
With her young Burns;
Aye, both of them abed were handy
& both took turns.
As Rab stroked her c, u, n, t,
Kiss’d slender neckline tenderly,
Twyx legs of taper white, gently,
Thrust lust upon her,
Not knowing his horn of plenty
Would win dishonour.
When not petting his Liz Patton
Burns met with Gavin Hamilton,
John Lapraik, William Simpson
& Davie Sillar;
Harum, scarum, ram-stam brethren
Wild as Atilla!
Fame spreading wildfire round Ayrshire
For these fine friends Burns turns makar,
Impresses teacher, priest, scholar
With his fine rhymes;
Them Elijah, him Elisha,
Ploughing the limes.
Now Rabbie’s handsomeness appears
Collossal in man’s college years,
But working off his rent arrears,
Not stuck at school;
Debating, with his knowledge-peers,
Life’s every rule.
On Fridays Rabbie would address
The local masons, maist did guess
He was a poet, more or less,
With vocal vision;
So show’d him Ayr’s first printing press
To fire ambition.
Rab went to many market days
To study mankind & its ways,
Observing all life’s little plays,
His eyes & hair,
Admiring, young lassies, amaze,
From fair to fair.
His broad shoulders made foreheads hot,
His flashing glance defences shot
& plaided in fine fillemot
Rab seem’d a prince;
No better man had Ayrshire got,
Nor ever since.
But being born in poverty
He felt his fate destined to be
Just hard work & obscurity
In rural climes;
But every day what poetry
Fill’d up his rhymes!
Has Allan risen from the deid,
Or Fergusson repluck’d his reed,
As by the muses them decreed
To grace the thistle;
Nah, Rabbie Burns has come instead
To Blaw the Whistle!