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Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns


Air

Tune-"For a' that, an' a' that."


I am a Bard of no regard,
Wi' gentle folks an' a' that;
But Homer-like, the glowrin byke,
Frae town to town I draw that.

Chorus

For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that;
I've lost but ane, I've twa behin',
I've wife eneugh for a' that.

[Footnote 2: Homer is allowed to be the oldest ballad-singer on record.-R.
B.]

I never drank the Muses' stank,
Castalia's burn, an' a' that;
But there it streams an' richly reams,
My Helicon I ca' that.
For a' that, &c.

Great love Idbear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a' that, &c.

In raptures sweet, this hour we meet,
Wi' mutual love an' a' that;
But for how lang the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that.
For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft,
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear your decks, and here's-"The Sex!"
I like the jads for a' that.

Chorus

For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that;
My dearest bluid, to do them guid,
They're welcome till't for a' that.

Recitativo

So sang the bard - and Nansie's wa's
Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echo'd from each mouth!
They toom'd their pocks, they pawn'd their duds,
They scarcely left to co'er their fuds,
To quench their lowin drouth:
Then owre again, the jovial thrang
The poet did request
To lowse his pack an' wale a sang,
A ballad o' the best;
He rising, rejoicing,
Between his twa Deborahs,
Looks round him, an' found them
Impatient for the chorus.

Air

tune-"Jolly Mortals, fill your Glasses."

See the smoking bowl before us,
Mark our jovial ragged ring!
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing-

Chorus

A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.

What is title, what is treasure,
What is reputation's care?
If we lead a life of pleasure,
'Tis no matter how or where!
A fig for, &c.

With the ready trick and fable,
Round we wander all the day;
And at night in barn or stable,
Hug our doxies on the hay.
A fig for, &c.

Does the train-attended carriage
Thro' the country lighter rove?
Does the sober bed of marriage
Witness brighter scenes of love?
A fig for, &c.

Life is al a variorum,
We regard not how it goes;
Let them cant about decorum,
Who have character to lose.
A fig for, &c.

Here's to budgets, bags and wallets!
Here's to all the wandering train.
Here's our ragged brats and callets,
One and all cry out, Amen!

Chorus

A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.


song-For A' That^1

tune-"For a' that."

Tho' women's minds, like winter winds,
May shift, and turn, an' a' that,
The noblest breast adores them maist-
A consequence I draw that.

Chorus

For a' that, an' a' that,
And twice as meikle's a' that;
The bonie lass that I loe best
She'll be my ain for a' that.

Great love I bear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave, an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a' that, &c.

But there is ane aboon the lave,
Has wit, and sense, an' a' that;
A bonie lass, I like her best,
And wha a crime dare ca' that?
For a' that, &c.

In rapture sweet this hour we meet,
Wi' mutual love an' a' that,

[Footnote 1: A later version of "I am a bard of no regard" in "The Jolly
Beggars."]

But for how lang the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that.
For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft.
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear your decks, and here's-"The Sex!"
I like the jads for a' that.
For a' that, &c.

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