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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

Robert Burns 1759-1796 John Bartlett

    Auld Nature swears the lovely dears
  Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her ’prentice han’ she tried on man,
  And then she made the lasses, O! 1
          Green grow the Rashes.
    Some books are lies frae end to end.
          Death and Dr. Hornbook.
    Some wee short hours ayont the twal.
          Death and Dr. Hornbook.
    The best laid schemes o’ mice and men
        Gang aft a-gley;
And leave us naught but grief and pain
        For promised joy.
          To a Mouse.
    When chill November’s surly blast
  Made fields and forests bare.
          Man was made to Mourn.
    Man’s inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn.
          Man was made to Mourn.
    Gars auld claes look amaist as weel ’s the new.
          The Cotter’s Saturday Night.
    Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale.
          The Cotter’s Saturday Night.
    He wales a portion with judicious care;
And “Let us worship God,” he says with solemn air.
          The Cotter’s Saturday Night.
    Perhaps Dundee’s wild-warbling measures rise,
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name.
          The Cotter’s Saturday Night.
    From scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur springs,
  That makes her loved at home, revered abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
  ”An honest man ’s the noblest work of God.” 2
          The Cotter’s Saturday Night.
    For a’ that, and a’ that,
And twice as muckle ’s a’ that.
          The Jolly Beggars.
    O Life! how pleasant is thy morning,
Young Fancy’s rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pausing Caution’s lesson scorning,
        We frisk away,
Like schoolboys at th’ expected warning,
        To joy and play.
          Epistle to James Smith.
    Misled by fancy’s meteor ray,
        By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray
        Was light from heaven.
          The Vision.
    And like a passing thought, she fled
        In light away.
          The Vision.
    Affliction’s sons are brothers in distress;
A brother to relieve,—how exquisite the bliss!
          A Winter Night.
    His locked, lettered, braw brass collar
Showed him the gentleman and scholar.
          The Twa Dogs.
    And there began a lang digression
About the lords o’ the creation.
          The Twa Dogs.
    Oh wad some power the giftie gie us
To see oursel’s as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
And foolish notion.
          To a Louse.
    Then gently scan your brother man,
  Still gentler sister woman;
Though they may gang a kennin’ wrang,
  To step aside is human. 3
          Address to the Unco Guid.
    What ’s done we partly may compute,
  But know not what ’s resisted.
          Address to the Unco Guid.
    Stern Ruin’s ploughshare drives elate
  Full on thy bloom. 4
          To a Mountain Daisy.
    O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,
  To wretches such as I!
    Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.
          Epistle to a Young Friend.
    I waive the quantum o’ the sin,
  The hazard of concealing;
But, och! it hardens a’ within,
  And petrifies the feeling!
          Epistle to a Young Friend.
    The fear o’ hell ’s a hangman’s whip
  To haud the wretch in order; 5
But where ye feel your honour grip,
  Let that aye be your border.
          Epistle to a Young Friend.
    An atheist’s laugh ’s a poor exchange
  For Deity offended!
          Epistle to a Young Friend.
    And may you better reck the rede, 6
  Than ever did the adviser!
          Epistle to a Young Friend.
    Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes;
Flow gently, I ’ll sing thee a song in thy praise.
          Flow gently, sweet Afton.
    Oh whistle, and I ’ll come to ye, my lad. 7
          Whistle, and I ’ll come to ye.
    If naebody care for me,
I ’ll care for naebody. 8
          I hae a Wife o’ my Ain.
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
  And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
  And days o’ lang syne?
          Auld Lang Syne.
    We twa hae run about the braes,
  And pu’d the gowans fine.
          Auld Lang Syne.
    Dweller in yon dungeon dark,
Hangman of creation, mark!
Who in widow weeds appears,
Laden with unhonoured years,
Noosing with care a bursting purse,
Baited with many a deadly curse?
          Ode on Mrs. Oswald.
    To make a happy fireside clime
        To weans and wife,—
That is the true pathos and sublime
        Of human life.
          Epistle to Dr. Blacklock.
    If there ’s a hole in a’ your coats,
        I rede ye tent it;
A chiel ’s amang ye takin’ notes,
        And, faith, he ’ll prent it.
          On Captain Grose’s Peregrinations through Scotland.
    John Anderson my jo, John,
  When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
  Your bonny brow was brent.
          John Anderson.
    My heart ’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart ’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer. 9
          My Heart ’s in the Highlands.
    She is a winsome wee thing,
She is a handsome wee thing,
She is a bonny wee thing,
This sweet wee wife o’ mine.
          My Wife ’s a Winsome Wee Thing.
    The golden hours on angel wings
  Flew o’er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
  Was my sweet Highland Mary.
          Highland Mary.
    But, oh! fell death’s untimely frost
  That nipt my flower sae early.
          Highland Mary.
    It ’s guid to be merry and wise, 10
It ’s guid to be honest and true,
It ’s guid to support Caledonia’s cause,
And bide by the buff and the blue.
          Here ’s a Health to Them that ’s Awa’.
    Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
        Or to victory!
Now ’s the day and now ’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour.
    Liberty ’s in every blow!
        Let us do or die. 11
    In durance vile 12 here must I wake and weep,
And all my frowsy couch in sorrow steep.
          Epistle from Esopus to Maria.
    Oh, my luve ’s like a red, red rose,
  That ’s newly sprung in June;
Oh, my luve ’s like the melodie
  That ’s sweetly played in tune.
          A Red, Red Rose.
    Contented wi’ little, and cantie wi’ mair.
          Contented wi’ Little.
    Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet
To think how monie counsels sweet,
How monie lengthened sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo’ed him like a vera brither,—
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    The landlady and Tam grew gracious
Wi’ favours secret, sweet, and precious.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    The landlord’s laugh was ready chorus.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or, like the snow-fall in the river,
A moment white, then melts forever.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    Nae man can tether time or tide. 13
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    That hour, o’ night’s black arch the keystane.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    Inspiring, bold John Barleycorn,
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    As Tammie glow’red, amazed and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious.
          Tam o’ Shanter.
    But to see her was to love her, 14
Love but her, and love forever.
          Ae Fond Kiss.
    Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted!
          Ae Fond Kiss.
    To see her is to love her,
  And love but her forever;
For Nature made her what she is,
  And never made anither!
          Bonny Lesley.
    Ye banks and braes o’ bonny Doon,
  How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
  And I sae weary fu’ o’ care?
          The Banks of Doon.
    Chords that vibrate sweetest pleasure
Thrill the deepest notes of woe.
          Sweet Sensibility.
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp,
  The man ’s the gowd for a’ that. 15
          For a’ that an a’ that.
    A prince can make a belted knight,
  A marquis, duke, and a’ that;
But an honest man ’s aboon his might,
  Guid faith, he maunna fa’ that. 16
          For a’ that an a’ that.
    ’T is sweeter for thee despairing
Than aught in the world beside,—Jessy!
    Some hae meat and canna eat,
  And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
  Sae let the Lord be thankit.
          Grace before Meat.
    It was a’ for our rightfu’ King
  We left fair Scotland’s strand.
          A’ for our Rightfu’ King. 17
    Now a’ is done that men can do,
  And a’ is done in vain.
          A’ for our Rightfu’ King. 18
    He turn’d him right and round about
  Upon the Irish shore,
And gae his bridle reins a shake,
  With, “Adieu for evermore, my dear,
  And adieu for evermore.” 19
          A’ for our Rightfu’ King. 20
Note 1.
Man was made when Nature was
But an apprentice, but woman when she
Was a skilful mistress of her art.
Cupid’s Whirligig (1607). [back]
Note 2.
See Fletcher, Quotation 3. [back]
Note 3.
See Pope, Quotation 113. [back]
Note 4.
See Young, Quotation 53. [back]
Note 5.
See Burton, Quotation 83. [back]
Note 6.
See Shakespeare, Hamlet, Quotation 43. [back]
Note 7.
See Beaumont and Fletcher, Quotation 19. [back]
Note 8.
See Bickerstaff, Quotation 3. [back]
Note 9.
These lines from an old song, entitled “The Strong Walls of Derry,” Burns made a basis for his own beautiful ditty. [back]
Note 10.
See Heywood, Quotation 6. [back]
Note 11.
See Fletcher, Quotation 6. [back]
Note 12.
Durance vile.—W. Kenrick (1766): Falstaff’s Wedding, act i. sc. 2. Edmund Burke: The Present Discontents. [back]
Note 13.
See Heywood, Quotation 13. [back]
Note 14.
To know her was to love her.—Samuel Rogers: Jacqueline, stanza 1. [back]
Note 15.
I weigh the man, not his title; ’t is not the king’s stamp can make the metal better.—Wycherly: The Plaindealer, act i. sc. 1. [back]
Note 16.
See Southerne, Quotation 2. [back]
Note 17.
This ballad first appeared in Johnson’s “Museum,” 1796. Sir Walter Scott was never tired of hearing it sung. [back]
Note 18.
This ballad first appeared in Johnson’s “Museum,” 1796. Sir Walter Scott was never tired of hearing it sung. [back]
Note 19.
Under the impression that this stanza is ancient, Scott has made very free use of it, first in “Rokeby” (1813), and then in the “Monastery” (1816). In “Rokeby” he thus introduces the verse:—

He turn’d his charger as he spake,
Upon the river shore,
He gave his bridle reins a shake,
Said, “Adieu for evermore, my love,
And adieu for evermore.” [back]
Note 20.
This ballad first appeared in Johnson’s “Museum,” 1796. Sir Walter Scott was never tired of hearing it sung. [back]