Epistle to J. Lapraik

Original Text: 
Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock, 1786). PR 4300 1786a K5a SMR. Edinburgh, 1797. B-10 0051 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
50But just a rhymer like by chance,
51An' hae to learning nae pretence;
52      Yet what the matter?
53Whene'er my Muse does on me glance,
54      I jingle at her.
55Your critic-folk may cock their nose,
56And say, "How can you e'er propose,
57You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,
58      To mak a sang?"
59But, by your leave, my learned foes,
60      Ye're maybe wrang.
61What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
63If honest nature made you fools,
68Confuse their brains in college classes!
70      Plain truth to speak;
72      By dint o' Greek!
73Gie me ae spark o' Nature's fire,
74That's a' the learnin' I desire;
76      At pleugh or cart,
77My Muse, though hamely in attire,
78      May touch the heart.


49] John Lapraik (1727-1807) was an Ayrshire farmer who gained a local reputation for his rhymes. Back to Line
62] horns: ink-horns. Back to Line
64] sairs: serves. Back to Line
65] shools: shovels. Back to Line
66] knappin-hammers: stone-breakers. Back to Line
67] hashes: fools. Back to Line
69] stirks: young steers. Back to Line
71] syne: then. Back to Line
75] dub: puddle. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.303.