Address to the Deil

- 1759-1796

O thou! whatever title suit thee,
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,
Wha in yon cavern grim an’ sootie,
                             Clos’d under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie,
                             To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
An’ let poor damnèd bodies be;
I’m sure sma’ pleasure it can gie,
                             Ev’n to a deil,
To skelp an’ scaud poor dogs like me,
                             An’ hear us squeal!

Lang syne, in Eden’s bonnie yard,
When youthfu’ lovers first were pair’d,
And all the soul of love they shar’d,
                             The raptur’d hour,
Sweet on the fragrant flow’ry swaird,
                             In shady bow’r;

Then you, ye auld snick-drawing dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog.
An’ play’d on man a cursed brogue,
                             (Black be you fa!)
An’ gied the infant warld a shog,
                             ’Maist run’d a’.

D’ye mind that day, when in a bizz,
Wi’ reekit duds, an’ reestit gizz,
Ye did present your smoutie phiz
                             ’Mang better folk,
An’ sklented on the man of Uz
                             Your spitefu’ joke?

An’ how ye gat him i’ your thrall,
An’ brak him out o’ house an’ hal’,
While scabs an’ blotches did him gall
                             Wi’ bitter claw,
An’ lows’d his ill-tongu’d wicked scawl,
                             Was warst ava?

But a’ your doings to rehearse,
Your wily snares an’ fechtin’ fierce,
Sin’ that day Michael did you pierce,
                             Down to this time,
Wad ding a’ Lallan tongue, or Erse,
                             In prose or rhyme.

An’ now, auld Cloots, I ken ye’re thinkin’,
A certain Bardie’s rantin’, drinkin’,
Some luckless hour will send him linkin’,
                             To your black pit;
But faith! he’ll turn a corner jinkin’,
                             An’ cheat you yet.

But fare you weel, auld Nickie-ben!
O wad ye tak a thought an’ men’!
Ye aiblins might—I dinna ken—
                             Still hae a stake:
I’m wae to think upo’ yon den,
                             Ev’n for your sake!

More by Robert Burns

Afton Water

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds through the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills,
Far marked with the courses of clear winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
There oft as mild evening weeps over the lea,
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides;
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As gathering sweet flowerets she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dreams.

Anna, Thy Charms

Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,  
  And waste my soul with care;  
But ah! how bootless to admire,  
  When fated to despair!  
  
Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,
  To hope may be forgiven;  
For sure 'twere impious to despair  
  So much in sight of heaven. 

[O were my love yon Lilac fair]

O were my love yon Lilac fair,  
  Wi' purple blossoms to the Spring,
And I, a bird to shelter there,  
  When wearied on my little wing!
How I wad mourn when it was torn         
  By Autumn wild, and Winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,  
  When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd. 
O gin my love were yon red rose,  
  That grows upon the castle wa';    
And I myself a drap o' dew,  
  Into her bonie breast to fa'!
O there, beyond expression blest,  
  I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
  Till fley'd awa by Phoebus' light!