Willie Chalmers by Robert Burns

Mr. Chalmers, a gentleman in Ayrshire, a particular friend of mine, asked me to write a poetic epistle to a young lady, his Dulcinea. I had seen her, but was scarcely acquainted with her, and wrote as follows:–

Wi’ braw new branks in mickle pride,
And eke a braw new brechan,
My Pegasus I’m got astride,
And up Parnassus pechin;
Whiles owre a bush wi’ donwward crush,
The doited beastie stammers;
Then up he gets, and off he sets,
For sake o’ Willie Chalmers.

I doubt na, lass, that weel ken’d name
May cost a pair o’ blushes;
I am nae stranger to your fame,
Nor his warm urged wishes.
Your bonie face sae mild and sweet,
His honest heart enamours,
And faith ye’ll no be lost a whit,
Tho’ wair’d on Willie Chalmers.

Auld Truth hersel’ might swear yer’e fair,
And Honour safely back her;
And Modesty assume your air,
And ne’er a ane mistak her:
And sic twa love-inspiring een
Might fire even holy palmers;
Nae wonder then they’ve fatal been
To honest Willie Chalmers.

I doubt na fortune may you shore
Some mim-mou’d pouther’d priestie,
Fu’ lifted up wi’ Hebrew lore,
And band upon his breastie:
But oh! what signifies to you
His lexicons and grammars;
The feeling heart’s the royal blue,
And that’s wi’ Willie Chalmers.

Some gapin’, glowrin’ countra laird
May warsle for your favour;
May claw his lug, and straik his beard,
And hoast up some palaver:
My bonie maid, before ye wed
Sic clumsy-witted hammers,
Seek Heaven for help, and barefit skelp
Awa wi’ Willie Chalmers.

See also  To A Dejected Poet by Ambrose Bierce

Forgive the Bard! my fond regard
For ane that shares my bosom,
Inspires my Muse to gie ‘m his dues
For deil a hair I roose him.
May powers aboon unite you soon,
And fructify your amours,–
And every year come in mair dear
To you and Willie Chalmers.

1786

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