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This week we continue with a song of good companionship and conviviality which celebrates an evening spent by Robert Burns and Allan Masterton with William Nicol – ‘Willie Brew’d A Peck O’ Maut’; the words were written by Burns in 1789 to an air by Masterton to commemorate what had been a byous nicht. This week’s poem ‘To A Mountain Daisy’ was composed in April 1786 and was originally transcribed under the title ‘The Gowan’ to his friend John Kennedy. Of the poem Robert Burns wrote to him on 20 April 1786 – “I have here enclosed a small piece, the very latest of my productions: I am a good deal pleased with some of the sentiments myself, as they are just the native querulous feelings of a heart which ‘melancholy has marked for her own.’“ The statue of Robert Burns which stands on Union Terrace, Aberdeen, shows our National Bard holding a gowan.



O, Willie brew’d a peck o’ maut,
   And Rob and Allan cam to prie;
Three blyther hearts that lee-lang night
   Ye wad na found in Christendie.

We are no fou, we’re nae that fou,
   But just a drappie in our e’e,
The cock may craw, the day may daw,
And aye we’ll taste the barley bree.

Here are we met, three merry boys,
   Three merry boys I trow are we;
And mony a night we’ve merry been,
   And mony mae we hope to be!

It is the moon, I kent her horn,
   That’s blinkin’ in the lift sae hie;
She shines sae bright to wyle us hame,
   But, by my sooth, she’ll wait a wee!

Wha first shall rise to gang awa’,
   A cuckold, coward loun is he!
Wha last beside his chair shall fa’,
   He is the king amang us three!



Click here to listen to this in RealAudio read by Marilyn P Wright

On turning down with the Plough, in April, 1786.

Wee, modest crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,
Wi' spreckl'd breast!
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield,
High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield
O' clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble field,
Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betray'd,
And guileless trust;
Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid
Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!
Unskilful he to note the card
Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n
To mis'ry's brink;
Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
He, ruin'd, sink!

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine-no distant date;
Stern Ruin's plough-share drives elate,
Full on thy bloom,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,
Shall be thy doom!

                                                                                              Return to A Burns Collection 


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