Poem of the day

Braid Claith
by Robert Fergusson (1750-1774)

Ye wha are fain to hae your name
Wrote i’ the bonny book o’ fame,
Let merit nae pretension claim
   To laurel’d wreath,
But hap ye weel, baith back and wame,
   In gude Braid Claith.

He that some ells o’ this may fa’,
An’ slae-black hat on pow like snaw,
Bids bauld to bear the gree awa’,
   Wi a’ this graith,
Whan bienly clad wi’ shell fu’ braw
   O’ gude Braid Claith.

Waesuck for him wha has na fek o’t!
For he’s a gowk they’re sure to geck at,
A chiel that ne’er will be respekit
   While he draws breath,
Till his four quarters are bedeckit
   Wi’ gude Braid Claith.

On Sabbath-days the barber spark,
When he has done wi’ scrapin wark,
Wi’ siller broachie in his sark,
   Gangs trigly, faith!
Or to the Meadow, or the Park,
   In gude Braid Claith.

Weel might ye trow, to see them there,
That they to shave your haffits bare,
Or curl an’ sleek a pickle hair,
   Would be right laith,
Whan pacing wi’ a gawsy air
   In gude Braid Claith.

If ony mettl’d stirrah grien
For favour frae a lady’s een,
He maunna care for bein’ seen
   Before he sheath
His body in a scabbard clean
   O’ gude Braid Claith.

For, gin he come wi’ coat thread-bare,
A feg for him she winna care,
But crook her bonny mou’ fu’ sair,
   And scald him baith.
Wooers shou’d ay their travel spare
   Without Braid Claith.

Braid Claith lends fock an unco heese,
Makes mony kail-worms butter-flees,
Gies mony a doctor his degrees
   For little skaith:
In short, you may be what you please
   Wi’ gude Braid Claith.

For tho’ ye had as wise a snout on
As Shakespeare or Sir Isaac Newton,
Your judgment fock would hae a doubt on,
   I’ll tak my aith,
Till they cou’d see ye wi’ a suit on
   O’ gude Braid Claith.

hap: cover, wrap; wame: belly; fa’: posess, deserve; pow: head; bauld: bold; gree: prize; graith: accoutrements; beinly: comfortably; waesuck for: woe betide; feck: plenty; gowk: fool; geck: scoff; sark: shirt; trigly: trimly; haffits: cheeks; a pickle: a little; laith: loath; gawsy: trim and portly; stirrah: young fellow; grien: yearn; maunna: must not; gin: if; feg: fig; travel: trouble; fock: folk; unco: uncouth, great; heese: hoist, lift; skaith: pains; aith: oath.

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