Robert Burns

The Auld Farmer's Salutation To His Auld Mare

written in 1786

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 mear; 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 hollowm Whare'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 hazel. 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' power; 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. Mony a sair daurk we twa hae wrought, An' wi' the weary warl' fought! An' mony 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' thy 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.

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