The Merry Muses of Caledonia/The Fornicator
THE MERRY MUSES OF CALEDONIA.
Tune—"Clout the Cauldron."
This is an early production of Burns, and refers to the public rebuke administered to him by the Kirk Session, in the Autumn of 1784, following on the birth of "his dear-bought Bess," whose mother was Elizabeth Paton, a servant of the family while in Lochlea. An altered version will be found in Scott Douglas's Kilmarnock edition (vol. ii., p. 420). Burns usually draws upon his imagination when writing in this vein. The "roguish boy," for instance, was of the opposite sex in reality.
Ye jovial boys, who love the joys,
Wi' ruefu' face, and signs o' grace,
or, Those limbs so clean, where I between,
Commenced a fornicator.