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The Auld Farmer's New-Year
Morning Salutation to his
Auld Mare, Maggie.



Burns Original

Standard English Translation

The Auld Farmer's New-Year
Morning Salutation to his
Auld Mare, Maggie.
On giving her the accustomed ripp of
corn to hansel in the new-year.
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 onie 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 onie bird.
It's now some nine-an'-twenty year
Sin' thou was my guid-father's meere;
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 trottin 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 and skiegh,
An' stable-meals at fairs were driegh,
How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skriegh,
An' tak the road!
Town's-bodies ran, an' stood abiegh,
An' ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow,
We took the road ay like a swallow:
At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' speed;
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow,
Whare'er thou gaed.
The sma, droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle
Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle;
But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle,
And gar't them whaizle:
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O' saugh or hazle.
Thou was a noble fittie-lan',
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn!
Aft thee an' I, in aught hours' gaun,
On 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' pow'r;
Till sprittie knowes wad rair't, an' risket,
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, an' breastit,
Then stood to blaw;
But just thy step a wee thing hastit,
Thou snoov't awa.
My pleugh is now thy bairntime 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.
Monie a sair darg we twa hae wrought,
An' wi' the weary warl' fought!
An' monie 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 heapet 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.

The Old Farmer's New-Year
Morning Salutation to his
Old Mare, Maggie.
On giving her the accustomed handful of corn
to handsel (inaugural gift) in the new year.
A Good New Year I wish thee, Maggie!
Hae, there is a handful from the sheaf to your old belly:
Though, you are hollow backed now, and knobby,
I have seen the day
You could have gone like any colt,
Out over the lea.
Although now you are drooping, stiff, and crazy,
And your ald hide as white as a daisy,
I have seen you dappled, sleek and shiny,
A bonny gray:
He should been prepared that dared to excite you,
Once in a day.
You once was in the foremost rank,
A filly stately, compact, and limber:
And set well down a shapely shank
As ever tread earth;
And could have flown out over a moat
Like any bird.
It is now some nine-and-twenty year
Since you was my father-in-law's mare;
He gave me you, wholly as a dowry,
And fifty mark;
Though it was small, it was well won wealth,
And you was strong.
When first I went to court my Jenny,
You then was trotting with your mother:
Though you was tricky, sly, and funny,
You never was mischievous;
But homely, tractable, quiet, and pleasant,
And uncommonly good tempered.
That day, you pranced with much pride,
When you bore home my lovely bride:
And sweet and graceful she did ride,
With maiden air!
Kyle-Stewart I could have challenged wide,
For such a pair.
Though now you can but stumble and hobble,
And stagger like a salmon boat,
That day, you was a goer noble,
For heels and wind!
And ran them till they all did wobble,
Far, far behind!
When you and I were young and skittish,
And stable-meals at fairs were tedious,
How you would prance, and snort, and whinny,
And take the road!
Towns people ran, and stood aloof,
And called you mad.
When you was fed with corn, and I was mellow,
We took the road yes like a swallow:
At wedding races you had never a fellow,
For pith and speed;
But every tail you paid them hollow,
Wherever you went.
The small, short rumped, hunter cattle
Might sometimes have beat you for a spurt;
But six Scotch miles you tried their mettle,
And made them wheeze:
No whip nor spur, but just a twig
Of willow or hazel.
You were a noble near horse to the plough,
As ever in tug or tow was drawn!
Often you and I, in eight hours going,
On good March weather,
Have turned six rods (land measure) by our own hand
For days together.
You never pulled rashly, stopped sudden, or capered.
But your old tail you would have whisked,
And spread abroad your well filled breast,
With vigour and power,
Till rooty hillocks would have roared, and cracked,
And fallen smoothly over.
When frosts lay long, and snows were deep,
And threatened labour back to keep,
I gave your dish a small bit heap
Above the edge:
I knew my Maggie would not sleep
For that, ere summer.
In cart or car you never refused to go;
The stiffest incline you would have faced it;
You never leaped, and sprang, and sprung forward,
Then stood to blow;
But just your step a little slower,
You jogged along.
My plough team is now your issue (children) all,
Four gallant brutes as ever did pull (the plough);
As well as six more I have sold away,
That you have nursed;
They drew me thirteen pounds and two,
The very worst.
Many a sore day's we two have worked,
And with the weary world fought!
And many an anxious day I thought
We would be beat!
Yet here to crazy age we are brought,
With something yet.
And think not, my old trusty servant,
That now perhaps you are less deserving,
And your old days may end in starving;
For my last bushel,
A heaped quarter-peck, I will reserve one
Laid by for you.
We have worn to crazy years together;
We will totter about with one another;
With attentive care I will change your tether
To some reserved patch,
Where you may nobly stretch (fill) your stomach
With small fatigue.


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