Second Epistle to Davie (Poem by Robert Burns)

the Old Poems

Second Epistle to Davie
: a Brother Poet
By Robert Burns

    AULD NIBOR,
I’m three times doubly o’er your debtor,
For your auld-farrent, frien’ly letter;
Tho’ I maun say’t, I doubt ye flatter,
                    Ye speak sae fair.
For my puir, silly, rhymin clatter
                    Some less maun sair.

Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle;
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle,
To cheer you thro’ the weary widdle
                    O’ war’ly cares,
Till bairn’s bairns kindly cuddle
                    Your auld, gray hairs.

But Davie, lad, I’m red ye’re glaikit;
I’m tauld the Muse ye hae negleckit;
An’ gif it’s sae, ye sud be licket
                    Until yo fyke;
Sic hauns as you sud ne’er be faiket,
                    Be hain’t who like.

For me, I’m on Parnassus’ brink,
Rivin’ the words to gar them clink;
Whyles daez’t wi’ love, whyles daez’t wi’ drink,
                    Wi’ jads or masons;
An’ whyles, but ay owre late, I think
                    Braw sober lessons.

Of a’ the thoughtless sons o’ man,
Commen’ me to the Bardie clan;
Except it be some idle plan
                    O’ rhymin’ clink,
The devil-haet, that I sud ban,
                    They ever think.

Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o’ livin’,
Nae cares to gie us joy or grievin’;
But just the pouchie put the nieve in,
                    An’ while ought’s there,
Then hiltie skiltie, we gae scrievin’,
                    An’ fash nae mair.

Leeze me on rhyme! it’s aye a treasure,
My chief, amaist my only pleasure,
At hame, a-fiel’, at work, or leisure,
                    The Muse, poor hizzie!
Tho’ rough an’ raploch be her measure,
                    She’s seldom lazy.

Haud to the Muse, my dainty Davie:
The warl’ may play you monie a shavie;
But for the Muse she’ll never leave ye,
                    Tho’ e’er so puir,
Na, even tho’ limpin’ wi’ the spavie
                    Frae door to door.

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