When chapman billies leave the street, 1.
And drouthy neebors, neebors meet;
As market days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate,
While we sit bousing at the nappy, 5
An' getting fou and unco happy.
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, 10
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonnie lasses).
Weel-mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire; 20
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet,
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet,
Whiles glow'rin round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, 25
Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil! 30
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle,
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventur'd forward on the light; 35
And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels. 40
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. -
Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,
A' plump and strapping in their teens!
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flainen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!-
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush o' guid blue hair,
I wad hae gien them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o' the bonie burdies!
Her cutty sark, o' Paisley harn, 55
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,
And thought his very een enrich'd: 60
E'en Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a thegither,
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" 65
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied.
When out the hellish legion sallied.
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stone o' the brig; 70
There, at them thou thy tail may toss
A runnin stream they dare na cross!
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother's son, take heed: 75
Whene'er to Drink you are inclin'd,
Or Cutty-sarks rin in your mind,
Think: ye may buy the joys o'er dear;
Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.