Friday, 8 April 2011

Yin that'll stan ye in guid stead

Today's aul sayin is a favourite of my mothers.

I'll gie it tae ye the way I herd it as a ween

Aye ricth han your story tell
When wi a bosom crony
But aa keep something ta yorsel
Ye dinne tell ta onnie

Those of you who are familiar with Rabbie will of course have recognised this, as a local version of the first 4 lines of verse five of Burn's, Epistle to a Young Friend the version that appears in most books of Burn's poetry is given below.

Aye free, aff-han', your story tell,
When wi' a bosom crony;
But still keep something to yoursel',
Ye scarcely tell to ony:

I love this piece of advice. To me encapsulates the Ulster-Scots ethos of stern, practical, level headedness. Burns is full of gems like this.

If your are unfamiliar with his work there are many free PDF copies of his poems and songs online.

Find below the full version of Robert Burn's - Epistle to a Young Friend
Many a young man leaving home to make his way in the world would --- da weel ta heed Burn's guid advice.

Epistle to a Young Friend

I Lang hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to have sent you,
Tho' it should serve nae ither end
Than just a kind momento:
But how the subject-theme may gang,
Let time and change determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang:
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

Ye'll try the world soon my lad;
And, Andrew dear, believe me,
Ye'll find mankind an unco squad,
And muckle they may grieve ye.
For care and trouble set your thought,
Ev'n when your end's attained;
And a' your views may come to nought,
Where ev'ry nerve is strained.

I'll no say, men are villains a';
The real, harden'd wicked,
What hae nae check but human law,
Are to a few restricked;
But, och! mankind are unco weak,
An' little to be trusted;
If self the wavering balance shake,
It's rarely right adjusted!

Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife,
Their fate we shouldna censure;
For still, th'important end of life
They equally may answer;
A man may hae in honest heart,
Tho' poortith hourly stare him;
A man may tak a neibor's part,
Yet hae nae cash to spare him.

Aye free, aff-han', your story tell,
When wi' a bosom crony;
But still keep something to yoursel',
Ye scarcely tell to ony:
Conceal yoursel' as weel's ye can
Frae critical dissection;
But keek thro' ev'ry other man,
Wi' sharpen'd, sly inspection.

The sacred lowe o' well-plac'd love,
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th' illicit rove,
Tho' naething should divulge it:
I waive the quantum o' the sin,
The hazard of concealing;
But, och! it hardens a' within,
And petrifies the feeling!

To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by ev'ry wile
That's justified by honour;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train attendant;
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.

The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip,
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that aye be your border;
Its slightest touches, instant pause--
Debar a' side-pretences;
And resolutely keep its laws,
Uncaring consequences.

The great Creator to revere,
Must sure become the creature;
But still the preaching cant forbear,
And ev'n the rigid feature:
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended;
An atheist-laugh's a poor exchange
For Deity offended!

When ranting round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded;
Or if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n--
A conscience but a canker,
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heav'n,
Is sure a noble anchor!

Adieu, dear, amiable youth!
Your heart can ne'er be wanting!
May prudence, fortitude, and truth,
Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman phrase, ``God send you speed,''
Still daily to grow wiser;
And may ye better reck the rede,
Than ever did th' adviser!

Robert Burns

No comments:

Post a Comment