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The Auld Farmer’s New Year Morning Salutation, to his Auld Mare

18th Century

Original manuscript in Burn's own hand.


The Auld Farmer's
New-Year Morning Salutation
To His Auld Mare, Maggie

A Guid New-Year I wish thee, Maggie!
Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie:
Tho thou's howe-backit now, an knaggie,
I've seen the day
Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie,
Out-owre the lay.

Tho now thou's dowie, stiff, an crazy,
An thy auld hide as white's a daisie,
I've seen thee dappl't, sleek an glaizie,
A bonie gray:
He should been tight that daur't to raize thee,
Ance in a day.

Thou ance was i' the foremost rank,
A filly buirdly, steeve, an swank;
An set weel down a shapely shank,
As e'er tread yird;
An could hae flown out-owre a stank,
Like ony bird.

It's now some nine-an-twenty year,
Sin' thou was my guid-father's meere;
He gied me thee, o tocher clear,
An fifty mark;
Tho it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear,
An thou was stark.

When first I gaed to woo my Jenny,
Ye then was trotting wi your minnie:
Tho ye was trickie, slee, an funnie,
Ye ne'er was donsie;
But hamely, tawie, quiet, an cannie,
An unco sonsie.

That day, ye pranc'd wi muckle pride,
When ye bure hame my bonie bride:
An sweet an gracefu, she did ride,
Wi maiden air!
Kyle-Stewart I could bragged wide
For sic a pair.

Tho now ye dow but hoyte and hobble,
An wintle like a saumont-coble,
That day, ye was a jinker noble,
For heels an win'!
An ran them till they a' did wauble,
Far, far, behin'!

When thou an I were young an skeigh,
An stable-meals at fairs were dreigh,
How thou wad prance, and snore, an skreigh
An tak the road!
Town's-bodies ran, an stood abeigh,
An ca't thee mad.

When thou was corn't, an I was mellow,
We took the road aye like a swallow:
At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an speed;
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow
Where'er thou gaed.

The sma', droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle
Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle;
But sax Scotch mile, thou try't their mettle,
An gar't them whaizle:
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O saugh or hazle.

Thou was a noble fittie-lan',
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn!
Aft thee an I, in aught hours' gaun,
In guid March-weather,
Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han',
For days thegither.

Thou never braing't, an fetch't, an fliskit;
But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit,
An spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket,
Wi pith an pow'r;
Till sprittie knowes wad rair't an riskit
An slypet owre.

When frosts lay lang, an snaws were deep,
An threaten'd labour back to keep,
I gied thy cog a wee bit heap
Aboon the timmer:
I ken'd my Maggie wad na sleep,
For that, or simmer.

In cart or car thou never reestit;
The steyest brae thou wad hae fac't it;
Thou never lap, an sten't, and breastit,
Then stood to blaw;
But just thy step a wee thing hastit,
Thou snoov't awa.

My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a',
Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw;
Forbye sax mae I've sell't awa,
That thou hast nurst:
They drew me thretteen pund an twa,
The vera warst.

Monie a sair daurk we twa hae wrought,
An wi the weary warl' fought!
An monie an anxious day, I thought
We wad be beat!
Yet here to crazy age we're brought,
Wi something yet.

An think na, my auld trusty servan',
That now perhaps thou's less deservin,
An my auld days may end in starvin;
For my last fow,
A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane
Laid by for you.

We've worn to crazy years thegither;
We'll toyte about wi ane anither;
Wi tentie care I'll flit thy tether
To some hain'd rig,
Whare ye may nobly rax your leather,
Wi sma' fatigue.


Part of the James McKie Collection

Dean Castle
Digital Number:
EADO120a, b, c
East Ayrshire Council

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