Tam O' Shanter (NLS104186395)
BY ROBERT BURNS,
THE AYRSHIRE POET.
"Ah Tam! ah Tam! thou'll get thy fairing!
"In hell they'll roast thee like a herring!
"In vain thy Kate awaits thy coming!
"Kate soon will be a waefu' woman!!!
Printed by J. NEILSON.
ALOWAY KIRK, &c.
WHEN chapman bilies leave the street,
And drouthy neeborg. neebors meet,
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak' the gate;
While we sit bouſing at the nappy,
And getting fou and unco bhppy,
We thinkna on the lang Scots miles,
The moſſes, waters, slaps and ſtiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our ſulky ſullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering form,
Nurſing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpaſſes,
For honeſt men and boony laſſes.)
O Tam! hadſt thou been but sae wise,
As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a ſkellum,
A blethering, blustering drunken bellum
That frae November till October,
Ae market day thou wagt ra ſober:
That ilka melder, wi' the Miller,
Thou sat as long as thou had ſiller ;
That every naig was ca'd a ſhoe on,
The ſmith and thee gat roaring fou on;
That at the L—d's, even on Sunday,
Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or ſoon,
Thou wad be found deep drown'd in Doon,
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Aloway's auid haunted Kirk,
AH, gentle dames' it gars me greet,
To think how many counſils sweet,
How many lengthen'd, ſage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises.
But to our tale; Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle. bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming ſwats. that drank divinely;
Had, at his elbow, Souter Jonny,
His ancient, truſty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither,
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
And age the ale was growing better:
The Landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi' favours, ſecret, sweet, and precious;
The Souser tauld his queerest stories,
The Landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The ſtorm without might roar and rustle,
Tam didna mind the ſtorm a whistle.—
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himſelf amang, the nappy;
As bees fle home wi' lades'o' treaſure;
The minutes wing'd their way with pleasure;
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the ills of life victorious!
But pleaſures are like poppies spread,
You seize the power, its bloom is ſhed;
Or, like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts for ever;
Or like the Borealis rays,
That flit ere you can point the place:
Or like the rainbow's lovely form,
Evaniſhing anmid the ſtorm
Ne man can tether Time or Tide,
The hour approache. Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night', black arch the keyſtane,
That drear hour he mounts his beast in,
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
The win' blew as 'twad blawn its last,
The ratilin showers roſe on the blast;
The ſpeedy gleama the darkneſs ſwallow'd,
Loud, deep and lang the thunder hellow'd:
That night a child might underſtand,
The deil had business on his hand.—
Weel mounted on his gray mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg.
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain and fire;
Whiles hadding fast his gude blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o'er an auld Scot sonnet:
Whiles glowring round wi' prudent cares,
Let bogles catch him unawares;
KIRK ALOWAY was-drawing nigh,
Where ghaists and howlets nightly cry—
By this time he was cross the ford,
Wliare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd
Asd past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brake's neck bane:
And thro' the whins, and by the cairn,
Whaere hunter's fan the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd herſel',
Before him Doon pours all ⟨⟩ floods:
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods,
The lightning flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll:
Whan glimmering the the groaning trees
Kirk Aloway ſeemd in a blaze;
Thro' ilka bore the beams are glancing,
And loud reegunded mith and dancing.
Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn,
What danger thou canst mak us scorn;
Wi' tipenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi' Usquebae, we'll face the Devil!
The swats ſae rearm'd in Tamie's noddle,
Fair play he card na deil's a boddle:
But Meggy strod right feir astonish'd
Till, ty the heel and hand admoniſh d.
She ventur'd forward to the light
And vow! Tam ſaw ad unco sighht!
Warlocks and wiatches in a dance,
Nae cotilion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeye and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels—
At winsock bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick in shape o' beast
A touzie tyke, black, grim and large,
To gie them music was his charge,
He screw'd his pipes, and gart them skirl,
Til roof and rafters a' did dirl—
Coffins stood round like open preſſes;
That slew'd the dead in their last dreſſes,
And by ſome devilish catntip slight
Each in his cauld hand held a light—
By which heroic Fam was able
To note upon the table,
A murdere's banes in gibbet airns;
Twa span long, wee unchristened bairns;
A thief, new cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gah did gape:
Five tomahawks, wi' blud red-rusted :
Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted ;
A garter, which a babe had strangled :
A knife a father's throat had mangled,
Whom his ain ſon of life bereft,
The grey hairs yet stack to the heſt:
With mair o' Forrible and awfu'
Which een to name wad be unlawfu?
Three lawyers' tongues. turn'd inside out.
Wi'lies ſeem'd like a beggar clout;
Three Priests hearts, ratten, black as muck,
Lay stinking, vile, in every neuck.—
As Tamie glow'd, amaz'd and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious ;
The piper loud and louder blew :
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reel'd, they set, they cross d, they cleekit,
Till ilka Carlin ſwat and reekit,
And koost her dudies to the wark,
And linkit at it in her sark!
Now, Tam, O Tam! had they been queens
A' plump and strapping in their teens;
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flanen,
Been snaw white, ſeventeen hundred linen!
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair
That ance were plush o gude blue hair,
I wad hae gien them aff my hurdies,
For a blink o' the bory burdies!
But wither'a bedlams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hare wad ſpean a foal,
Lonping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder did na turn thy ſtomach -
But I'am kend what was what fu' brawly,
There was ae winsome wench and wally,
That night inlisted in the core,
(Lang after kend on Carrick shore;
For mony a beasi to dead ſhe ſhot,
And perish'd meny a bonny boat,
And shook baith meikle corn an' bear,
And kept the country side in fear—)
Her cutty ſark o' Paisley harn,
That while a Jassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' surely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vaunty—
Ah, little thought thy reverend Grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi' twa pund Scors, ('twas a' their riches)
Wad ever grace a dance of witches!
But hear my muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights are far beyond ber power;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was and strang)
And how Tam stood like ane bet witched,
And thought his vera een enriched :
Even Satan glowr'd and fig'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd, and blew wi' might as' main ;
Till first a caper—syne anither—
Tam loft his reason a' thegether.
Then roars out— Weel done Cutty sark! "
And in an inetant all is dark,
And scarcely te has Maggieraillca, 16-
Till out the bellish legion faillied ITIL
A: bees biz out wi' angry fyke,
When plundering herde assail their byke;
As open pussies mortal, foes
When pop, she starts before their noſe:
As eager rins the market croud,
When "Catch the thief" resounde aloud:
So Maggie rins, the witches follow
Wi' mony an elderie shout and hollo.—
Ah Tam! ah Tam! thou'l get thy fairing!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herring
In vain tby KATE awaits this coming!
KATE soon will be a waefu' woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost MEG,
And win the keyſtane o' the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running ſtream they darena cross;
But ere the keyſtane she could make,
The fient a tall she had to shake!
For Nanny, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie's prest,
And flew at Tam wi furious ettle,
But little kend she Maggie mettle:
Ae spring brought aff her Master hale,
But left behind hier aingry tail;
The Carlin caught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump—
Now, wha this tale o truth shall read
Ilk man and mother's son take heed:
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'
Or Cutty Sarks rin in your mind,
Think—ye may buy the joys o'er dear
Remember Tam O'Shanter's Mare.