96. The Inventory
SIR, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfu list,
O gudes an gear, an a my graith,
To which Im clear to gie my aith.
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes o gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My hand-afore s a guid auld has-been,
An wight an wilfu a his days been:
My hand-ahin s a weel gaun fillie,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie. 2
An your auld borough mony a time
In days when riding was nae crime.
But ance, when in my wooing pride
I, like a blockhead, boost to ride,
The wilfu creature sae I pat to,
(Ld pardon a my sins, an that too!)
I playd my fillie sic a shavie,
Shes a bedevild wi the spavie.
My furr-ahin s a wordy beast,
As eer in tug or tow was traced.
The fourths a Highland Donald hastle,
A dnd red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Foreby a cowt, o cowts the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail:
Gin he be spard to be a beast,
Hell draw me fifteen pund at least.
Wheel-carriages I hae but few,
Three carts, an twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, mair for token,
Ae leg an baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker o the spinle,
An my auld mither brunt the trinle.
For men, Ive three mischievous boys,
Run-deils for ranting an for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t other:
Wee Davock hauds the nowt in fother.
I rule them as I ought, discreetly,
An aften labour them completely;
An aye on Sundays duly, nightly,
I on the Questions targe them tightly;
Till, faith! wee Davocks grown sae gleg,
Tho scarcely langer than your leg,
Hell screed you aff Effectual Calling,
As fast as ony in the dwalling.
Ive nane in female servant station,
(Ld keep me aye frae a temptation!)
I hae nae wife-and thay my bliss is,
An ye have laid nae tax on misses;
An then, if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the deevils darena touch me.
Wi weans Im mair than weel contented,
Heavn 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 bonie, sweet wee lady,
Ive paid enough for her already;
An gin ye tax her or her mither,
By the Ld, yese get them a thegither!
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of licence out Im takin:
Frae this time forth, I do declare
Ise neer ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Thro dirt and dub for life Ill paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel a on foot Ill shank it,
Ive sturdy bearers, Gude the thankit!
The kirk and you may tak you that,
It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your beuk,
Nor for my ten white shillings leuk.
This list, wi my ain hand I wrote it,
The day and date as under noted;
Then know all ye whom it concerns,
Subscripsi huic, ROBERT BURNS.MOSSGIEL, February 22, 1786.
Note 1. The Inventory was addressed to Mr. Aitken of Ayr, surveyor of taxes for the district. [back]
Note 2. Kilmarnock.R. B. [back]
96. The Inventory by Robert Burns