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The Inventory by Robert Burns
SIR, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfuí list,
Oí gudes aní gear, aní aí my graith,
To which Iím clear to giíe my aith.
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes oí gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My hand-afore ís a guid auld has-been,
Aní wight aní wilfuí aí his days been:
My hand-ahin ís a weel gaun fillie,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie. 2
Aní your auld borough mony a time
In days when riding was nae crime.
But ance, when in my wooing pride
I, like a blockhead, boost to ride,
The wilfuí creature sae I pat to,
(Lód pardon aí my sins, aní that too!)
I playíd my fillie sic a shavie,
Sheís aí bedevilíd wií the spavie.
My furr-ahin ís a wordy beast,
As eíer in tug or tow was traced.
The fourthís a Highland Donald hastle,
A dóníd red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Foreby a cowt, oí cowts the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail:
Gin he be sparíd to be a beast,
Heíll draw me fifteen pund at least.
Wheel-carriages I haíe but few,
Three carts, aní twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, mair for token,
Ae leg aní baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker oí the spiníle,
Aní my auld mither brunt the triníle.
For men, Iíve three mischievous boys,
Run-deils for ranting aní for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher tí other:
Wee Davock hauds the nowt in fother.
I rule them as I ought, discreetly,
Aní aften labour them completely;
Aní aye on Sundays duly, nightly,
I on the Questions targe them tightly;
Till, faith! wee Davockís grown sae gleg,
Thoí scarcely langer than your leg,
Heíll screed you aff Effectual Calling,
As fast as ony in the dwalling.
Iíve nane in female servant station,
(Lód keep me aye frae aí temptation!)
I hae nae wife-and thay my bliss is,
Aní ye have laid nae tax on misses;
Aní then, if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the deevils darena touch me.
Wií weans Iím mair than weel contented,
Heavín sent me ane mae than I wanted!
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess,
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of ought ye like but grace;
But her, my bonie, sweet wee lady,
Iíve paid enough for her already;
Aní gin ye tax her or her mither,
By the Lód, yeíse get them aí thegither!
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of licence out Iím takin:
Frae this time forth, I do declare
Iíse neíer ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Throí dirt and dub for life Iíll paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel aí on foot Iíll shank it,
Iíve sturdy bearers, Gude the thankit!
The kirk and you may tak you that,
It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your beuk,
Nor for my ten white shillings leuk.
This list, wií my ain hand I wrote it,
The day and date as under noted;
Then know all ye whom it concerns,
Subscripsi huic, ROBERT BURNS.MOSSGIEL, February 22, 1786.
Note 1. The ďInventoryĒ was addressed to Mr. Aitken of Ayr, surveyor of taxes for the district. [back]
Note 2. Kilmarnock.óR. B. [back]