English poetry

Poems in English


278. On the late Captain Grose's Peregrinations

HEAR, Land o’ Cakes, and brither Scots,
Frae Maidenkirk to Johnie Groat’s;-
If there’s a hole in a’ your coats,
I rede you tent it:
A chield’s amang you takin notes,
And, faith, he’ll prent it:

If in your bounds ye chance to light
Upon a fine, fat fodgel wight,
O’ stature short, but genius bright,
That’s he, mark weel;
And wow! he has an unco sleight
O’ cauk and keel.

By some auld, houlet-haunted biggin,
Or kirk deserted by its riggin,
It’s ten to ane ye’ll find him snug in
Some eldritch part,
Wi’ deils, they say, L-d save’s! colleaguin
At some black art.

Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha’ or chaumer,
Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamour,
And you, deep-read in hell’s black grammar,
Warlocks and witches,
Ye’ll quake at his conjuring hammer,
Ye midnight bitches.

It’s tauld he was a sodger bred,
And ane wad rather fa’n than fled;
But now he’s quat the spurtle-blade,
And dog-skin wallet,
And taen the-Antiquarian trade,
I think they call it.

He has a fouth o’ auld nick-nackets:
Rusty airn caps and jinglin jackets,
Wad haud the Lothians three in tackets,
A towmont gude;
And parritch-pats and auld saut-backets,
Before the flood.

Of Eve’s first fire he has a cinder;
Auld Tubalcain’s fire-shool and fender;
That which distinguished the gender
O’ Balaam’s ass:
A broomstick o’ the witch of Endor,
Weel shod wi’ brass.

Forbye, he’ll shape you aff fu’ gleg
The cut of Adam’s philibeg;
The knife that nickit Abel’s craig
He’ll prove you fully,
It was a faulding jocteleg,
Or lang-kail gullie.

But wad ye see him in his glee,
For meikle glee and fun has he,
Then set him down, and twa or three
Gude fellows wi’ him:
And port, O port! shine thou a wee,
And THEN ye’ll see him!

Now, by the Pow’rs o’ verse and prose!
Thou art a dainty chield, O Grose!-
Whae’er o’ thee shall ill suppose,
They sair misca’ thee;
I’d take the rascal by the nose,
Wad say, “Shame fa’ thee!”


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Poem 278. On the late Captain Grose's Peregrinations - Robert Burns