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Has oft been stretched to shield the honoured land!

Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire!
May every son be worthy of his sire!
Firm may she rise with generous disdain
At Tyranny's or direr Pleasure's chain!
Still self-dependent in her native shore,
Bold may she brave grim Danger's loudest


Till Fate the curtain drops on worlds to be no more!


"The enclosed I have just wrote, nearly extempore, in a solitary inn at Selkirk, after a miserably wet day's riding." - Burns to William Creech, 13th May,


AULD chuckie 1 Reekie's 2 sair distrest,
Down droops her ance weel-burnished crest,
Nae joy her bonny buskit nest

Can yield ava,

Her darling bird that she lo❜es best

Willie's awa'!


at all

1 Literally, a hen; secondarily, a familiar term of address: "Gin ony sour-mou'd girning bucky Ca' me conceited keckling chucky."

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? Literally, smoky; a familiar sobriquet for Edinburgh, not at all unsuitable.

Oh Willie was a witty wight,
And had o' things an unco slight;
Auld Reekie aye he keepit tight,
And trig and braw:

But now they'll busk her like a fright
Willie's awa'!

The stiffest o' them a' he bowed;
The bauldest o' them a' he cowed;
They durst nae mair than he allowed,
That was a law:


Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks,1 and fools,
Frae colleges and boarding-schools,

We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd― fellow — gold Willie's' awa'!

Willie's awa'!


May sprout like simmer puddock-stools toad-stools In glen or shaw;


He wha could brush them down to


The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer 2
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour;
He was a dictionar and grammar

Amang them a';

the dust

1 Gawky, a simpleton; tawpy, usually applied to a foolish, sluttish woman; gowk, literally, the cuckoo; secondarily, a fool.

2 The Chamber of Commerce at Edinburgh, of which Creech was secretary.

I fear they'll now mak monie a stammer
Willie's awa'!


Nae mair we see his levee door
Philosophers and poets pour,
And toothy critics by the score,
In bloody raw!

The adjutant o' a' the core
Willie's awa'!

Now worthy Gregory's Latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace,
Mackenzie, Stewart, sic a brace

As Rome ne'er saw;

They a' maun meet some ither place-
Willie's awa'!

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Poor Burns e'en Scotch drink canna quicken ; He cheeps like some bewildered chicken, chirps

1 Creech, who, besides being a clever and well-educated man, enjoyed high reputation as a teller of quaint stories, lived on familiar terms with many of the literary men of his day. His house, in one of the elevated floors of a tenement in the High Street, accessible from a wretched alley called Craig's Close, was frequented in the mornings by company of that kind, to such an extent that the meeting used to be called Creech's Levee. Burns here enumerates as attending it, Dr. James Gregory, author of the Conspectus Medicinæ ; Alexander Fraser Tytler, afterwards Lord Woodhouselee; Dr. William Greenfield, professor of rhetoric in the Edinburgh University; Henry Mackenzie, author of The Man of Feeling; and Dugald Stewart, professor of moral philosophy.

Scared frae its minnie and the


By hoodie-craw;

Grief's gien his heart an unco kickin'
Willie's awa'!

Now every sour-mou'd girnin'


And Calvin's folk, are fit to fell him;
And self-conceited critic skellum 1

Up wimpling stately Tweed I've sped,
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed,

And Ettrick banks now roaring red,
While tempests blaw;

But every joy and pleasure's fled-
Willie's awa'!

His quill may draw;

He wha could brawlie ward their bellum
Willie's awa'!

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May I be Slander's common speech,
A text for infamy to preach,

And lastly, streekit out to bleach
In winter snaw,

When I forget thee, Willie Creech,
Though far awa'!

1 A term of contempt:

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talking fellow



"She tauld thee weel, thou was a skellum."

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Tam O'Shanter.

May never wicked Fortune touzle him!
May never wicked men bamboozle him!
Until a pow as auld's Methusalem
He canty claw !

Then to the blessèd New Jerusalem
Fleet wing awa'!




WHOE'ER he be that sojourns here,

I pity much his case,

Unless he come to wait upon

The Lord their God


cheerfully scratch

The Duke of Argyle had an overabundance of guests in the castle, and the innkeeper at Inverary was too much occupied with the surplus to have any attention to spare for passing travellers. Hereupon Burns penned an epigram, which it is to be supposed he left inscribed on one of the windows. We must regret this as a discourtesy towards a most respectable nobleman the more so, as the names of the Duke and Duchess of Argyle stand at the head of the subscription for his Poems.

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his Grace.

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