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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Braid Claith

Robert Fergusson (1750–1774)

YE wha are fain to hae your name

Wrote in the bonny book of fame,

Let merit nae pretension claim

To laurel’d wreath,

But hap ye weel, baith back and wame,

In gude Braid Claith.

He that some ells o’ this may fa’,

An’ slae black hat on pow like snaw,

Bids bauld to bear the gree awa’,

Wi’ a’ this graith,

Whan bienly clad wi’ shell fu’ braw

O’ gude Braid Claith.

Waesuck for him wha has nae fek o’t!

For he’s a gowk they’re sure to geck at.

A chield that ne’er will be respekit

While he draws breath,

Till his four quarters are bedeckit

Wi’ gude Braid Claith.

On Sabbath-days the barber spark,

Whan he has done wi’ scrapin wark

Wi’ siller broachie in his sark,

Gangs trigly, faith!

Or to the Meadows or the Park,

In gude Braid Claith.

Weel might ye trow, to see them there,

That they to shave your haffits bare,

Or curl an’ sleek a pickle hair,

Wud be right laith,

Whan pacing wi’ a gawsy air

In gude Braid Claith.

If ony mettled stirrah grien

For favour frae a lady’s ein,

He mauna care for being seen

Before he sheath

His body in a scabbard clean

O’ gude Braid Claith.

For, gin he come wi’ coat thread-bare,

A feg for him she winna care,

But crook her bony mou’ fu’ sair,

An’ scald him baith.

Wooers shou’d ay their travel spare

Without Braid Claith.

Braid Claith lends fouk an unco heese,

Makes mony kail-worms butter-flees,

Gies mony a doctor his degrees

For little skaith:

In short, you may be what you please

Wi’ gude Braid Claith.

For thof ye had as wise a snout on,

As Shakespeare or Sir Isaac Newton,

Your judgment fouk wud hae a doubt on,

I’ll tak’ my aith,

Till they cou’d see ye wi’ a suit on

O’ gude Braid Claith.