The Inventory

To Mr. Robt. Aiken in Ayr, in answer to his mandate requiring an account of servants, carriages, carriage-horses, riding-horses, wives, children, &c.

SIR, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfu' list,
O' gudes an' gear, an' a' my graith,
To which I'm clear to gie my aith.

Imprimis then, for carriage cattle,
I have four brutes o' gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My Lan' afore 's a gude auld has been,
An' wight an' wilfu' a' his days been.
My Lan' ahin 's a weel gaun fillie,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie,
An' your auld borough monie a time,
In days when riding was nae crime----
But ance whan in my wooing pride
I like a blockhead boost to ride,
The wilfu' creature sae I pat to,
(Lord pardon a' my sins an' that too!)
I play'd my fillie sic a shavie,
She 's a' bedevil'd wi' the spavie.
My Furr ahin 's a wordy beast.
As e'er in tug or tow was trac’d.------
The fourth 's a Highland Donald hastie,
A damn'd red wud Kilburnie blastie;
Foreby a Cowt, o' Cowts the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail.
If he be spar'd to be a beast,
He'll draw me fifteen pun’ at least.----
Wheel carriages I ha’e but few,
Three carts, an' twa are feckly new;
Ae auld wheelbarrow, mair for token,
Ae leg an' baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker o' the spin'le,
An' my auld mither brunt the trin'le.------
For men, I've three mischievous boys,
Run deils for rantin an' for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t'other,
Wee Davoc hauds the nowte in fother.
I rule them as I ought, discreetly,
An' aften labour them compleatly;
An' ay on Sundays duly nightly,
I on the questions targe them tightly:
Till faith, wee Davock ‘s turned sae gleg,
Tho' scarcely langer than your leg,
He'll screed you aff 'Effectual Calling,
As fast as ony in the dwalling.------
I've nane in female servan' station
(Lord keep me ay frae a' temptation!)
I ha’e nae wife; and that my bliss is,
An' ye have laid nae tax on misses;
An' then if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the devils dare na touch me.
Wi' weans I'm mair than weel contented,
Heav'n sent me ane mae than I wanted.
My sonsie smirking dear-bought Bess,
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of ought ye like but grace;
But her, my bonny, sweet wee lady,
I've paid enough for her already,
An' gin ye tax her or her mither,
By the Lord! ye 'se get them a' thegither.

And now, remember Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of licence out I'm takin;
Frae this time forth, I do declare,
I'se ne'er ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Thro' dirt and dub for life I'll paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel a’ on foot I'll shank it.
I've sturdy bearers, Gude be thankit.--------
The Kirk an’ you may tak' you that,
It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your buke,
Nor for my ten white shillings luke.

This list wi' my ain han’I wrote it,
Day an’ date as under notit,
Then know all ye whom it concerns,
Subscripsi huic,
ROBERT BURNS.
Mossgeil, February 22d, 1786.