Scotch Drink

The original manuscript written by Robert Burns.   Scotch Drink Gie him strong drink, until he wink, That's sanking in despair ; An' liquor guid to fire his bluid, That's prest wi' grief an' care ; There let him bouse, an' deep carouse, Wi' bumpers, flowing o'er, Till he forgets his loves or debts, An' minds his griefs no more, Solomon (Proverbs XXXI. 6, 7). LET other Poets raise a fracas 'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drunken Bacchus, An' crabbèd names an' stories wrack us An' grate our lug ; I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us, In glass or jug. O thou, my Muse ! guid auld Scotch Drink, Whether thro' wimplin wormis thou jink, Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink, In glorious faem, Inspire me, fill I lisp an' wink, To sing thy name ! Let husky wheat the haughs adorn, An' aits set up their awnie horn, An' pease an' beans at een or morn Perfume the plain ; Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn, Thou King o' grain ! On thee aft Scotland chows her cood In souple scones, the wale o' food ! Or tumblin' in the boiling flood Wi' kail an' beef; But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood There thou shines chief. Food fills the wame, an' keep us livin' ; Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin', When heavy-dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin' ; But, oil'd by thee, The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin' Wi' rattlin' glee. Thou clears the head o' doited Lear: Thou cheers the heart o' drooping Care; Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair, At's weary toil : Thou even brightens dark Despair Wi' gloomy smile. Aft, clad in massy siller weed, Wi' gentles thou erects thy head; Yet humbly kind, in time o' need, The poor man's wine, His wee drap parritch, or his bread, Thou kitchens fine. Thou art the life o' public haunts; But thee, what were our fairs and rants? Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts, By thee inspir'd, When gaping they besiege the tents, Are doubly fir'd. That merry night we get the corn in ! O sweetly then thou reams the horn in ! Or reekin' on a New-Year mornin' In cog or bicker, An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in, An' gusty sucker ! When Vulcan gies his bellows breath, An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith, O rare to see thee fizz an' freath I' th' luggèd caup ! Then Burnewin comes on like death At ev'ry chaup. Nae mercy, them, for airn or steel; The brawnie, banie, ploughman chiel, Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel, The strong forehammer. Till block an' studdie ring an' reel Wi' dinsome clamour. When skirlin' weanies see the light, Thou maks the gossips clatter bright How fumblin' cuifs their dearies slight- Wae worth the name ! Nae Howdie gets a social night, Or plack frae them. When neibors anger at a plea, An' just as wud as wud can be, How easy can the barley-bree Cement the quarrel ! It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee To taste the barrel. Alake! that e'er my Muse has reason To wyte her countrymen wi treason; But mony daily weet their weasan' Wi' liquors nice, An' hardly, in a winter's season, E'er spier her price. Wae worth that brandy, burning trash ! Fell source o' mony a pain an' brash ! Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken hash, O' half his days ; An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash To her warst faes. Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well, Ye chief, to you my tale I tell, Poor plackless devils like mysel' ! It sets you ill, Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell, Or foreign gill. May gravels round his blather wrench, An' gouts torment him, inch by inch, Wha twists his gruntle wi' a glunch O' sour disdain, Out owre a glass o' whisky punch Wi' honest men ! O Whisky ! soul o' plays an' pranks ! Accept a bardie's gratefu' thanks ! When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks Are my poor verses ! Thou comes-they rattle i' their ranks At ither's arses ! Thee, Ferintosh ! O sadly lost ! Scotland, lament frae coast to cost ! Now colic-grips an' barkin' hoast May kill us a'; For loyal Forbes' charter'd boast Is ta'en awa ! Thae curst horseleeches o' th' Excise Wha mak the whisky stells their prize- Haud up thy hand, deil ! Ance - twice - thrice ! There, seize the blinkers ! An' bake them up in brunstane pies For poor damn'd drinkers. Fortune ! if thou'll but gie me still Hale breeks, a bannock, and a gill, An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will, Tak' a' the rest, An' deal'd about as thy blind skill Directs thee best.   Part of the James McKie Collection
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EADO121a, b, c
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Robert Burns
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East Ayrshire Council
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