[WHAT waefu’ news is this I hear,
Frae greeting I can scarce forbear,
Folks tells me, ye ‘re gawn aff this year,
Out o’er the sea,
And lasses wham ye lo’e sae dear
Will greet for thee.

Weel wad I like war ye to stay,
But Robin since ye will away,
I ha’e a word yet mair to say,
And maybe twa;
My he protect us night an’ day,
That made us a’.

Whar thou art gaun, keep mind frae me,
Seek him to bear thee companie,
And, Robin, whan ye come to die,
Ye’ll won aboon,
An’ live at peace and unity
Ayont the moon.

Some tell me, Rab, ye dinna fear
To get a wean, an’ curse an’ swear,
I’m unco wae, my lad, to hear
O’ sic a trade,
Cou’d I persuade ye to forbear,
I wad be glad.

Fu’ weel ye ken ye’ll gang to hell,
Gin ye persist in doin’ ill------
Waes me! Ye ‘re hurlin’ down the hill
Withouten dread,
An’ ye’ll get leave to swear your fill
After ye ‘re dead.

There, walth o’ women ye’ll get near,
But getting’ weans ye will forbear,
Ye’ll never say, my bonnie dear
Come gie ‘s a kiss------
Nae kissing there-------ye’ll girn an’ sneer,
An’ ither hiss.

O Rab! Lay by thy foolish tricks,
An’ steer nae mair the female sex,
Or some day ye’ll come through the pricks,
An’ that ye’ll see;
Ye’ll fin’ hard living wi’ Auld Nicks;
I’m wae for thee.

But what ‘s this comes wi’ sic a knell,
Amaist as loud as ony bell,
While it does mak my conscience tell
Me what is true,
I’m but a ragget cowt mysel’,
Owre sib to you!

We’re owre like those wha think it fit,
To stuff their noodles fu’ o’ wit,
An’ yet content in darkness sit,
Wha shun the light,
To let them see down to the pit,
That lang dark night.

But, fareweel, Rab, I maun awa’,
May he that made us keep us a’,
For that wad be a dreadfu’ fa’
And hurt us sair,
Lad, ye wad never mend ava,
Sae, Rab, tak’ care.]

Robert Burns’ Answer

WHAT ails ye now, ye lousie bitch
To thresh my back at sic a pitch?
Losh man! hae mercy wi' your natch,
Your bodkin's bauld,
I did na suffer ha’f sae much
Frae Daddie Auld.

What tho' at times when I grow crouse,
I gi’e their wames a random pouse,
Is that enough for you to souse
Your servant sae?
Gae mind your seam, ye prick the louse,
An' jag-the-flae.

King David o' poetic brief,
Wrocht 'mang the lasses sic mischief
As filled his after life wi' grief
An' bloody rants,
An' yet he 's rank'd amang the chief
O' lang syne saunts.

And maybe, Tam, for a' my cants,
My wicked rhymes, an' drucken rants,
I'll gie auld cloven Clooty's haunts
An unco slip yet,
An' snugly sit amang the saunts
At Davie's hip yet.

But fegs, the Session says I maun
Gae fa' upo' anither plan,
Than garrin lasses coup the cran
Clean heels ower body,
And sairly thole their mither's ban
Afore the howdy.

This leads me on to tell for sport,
How I did wi' the Session sort--------
Auld Clinkum at the inner port
Cry’d three times, "Robin!
Come hither lad, an’ answer for't,
Ye're blam'd for jobbin’."

Wi' pinch I put a Sunday's face on,
An' snoov'd awa before the Session----
I made an open fair confession,
I scorn't to lie,
An' syne Mess John, beyond expression,
Fell foul o' me.

A fornicator lown he call'd me,
An' said my faut frae bliss expell'd me;
I own'd the tale was true he tell'd me,
"But, what the matter,”
Quo' I, “I fear unless ye geld me,
I'll ne'er be better."

"Geld you!” quo' he and whatfore no,
If that your right hand, leg or toe,
Should ever prove your sp'ritual foe,
You shou’d remember
To cut it aff, an' what for no
Your dearest member."

"Na, na,” quo' I, “I'm no for that,
Gelding 's nae better than 'tis ca't;
I'd rather suffer for my faut
A hearty flewit,
As sair owre hip as ye can draw 't,
Tho' I should rue it.

Or gin ye like to end the bother,
To please us a', I've just ae ither,
When next wi' yon lass I forgather,
Whate'er betide it,
I'll frankly gie her 't a' thegither,
An' let her guide it."

But, Sir, this pleas'd them warst ava,
An' therefore, Tam, when that I saw,
I said "Gude night," an' cam' awa',
And left the Session;
I saw they were resolved a'
On my oppression.