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The Hairst O' Rettie

Robert Burns 1759 (Alloway) – 1796 (Dumfries)

I hae seen the hairst o' Rettie, lads,
And twa-three aff the throne.
I've heard o sax and seven weeks
The hairsters girn and groan.
But wi' a covie Willie Rae
A monthie an' a day
Sends a' the jolly hairsters
Singin' blithely doon the brae.

In a monthie an' a day, my lads,
The like was never seen;
It beats to sticks the fastest strips
O' Vickers' best machine.
The Speedwell she taks up the rear,
The Victory clears the way;
And twenty acres daily yields,
Laid doon tae Willie Rae.

He drives them roond and roond the field
At sic an awfu' rate:
Yet guides them gently oot and in
At mony's a kittle gate.
And wiles them gently ow'r the steens
And mony a hidden hole,
And he'll come by nae mishanter
If ye leave him wi' a pole.

O he sharps their teeth tae gar them bite;
He taps them on the jaws,
And if he sees them dowie-like,
He'll brawly ken the cause:
A boltie here, or a pinnie there,
Tae keep them aye in tune;
He'll quickly stop their wild career,
And bring the clishack doon.

O he whittles aff the corners,
And makes crookit bitties straucht,
He likes to see that man and beast
Are equal in a draucht,
An' a' the corners neat an' square
And nae a shafe agley;
And he'll coont wi' ony dominie
Frae the Deveron tae the Spey.

Noo he's nae made up wi' mony words
Or kent tae puff and lee,
But just as keen a little chap
As ony you will see.
And if you're in search o hairvest work
Upon a market day,
Take my advice, be there in time
And look for Willie Rae.

Noo he hae got it in aboot,
An' a wer things be ticht,
We'll gaither roond the festal board
Tae spend a joyfae nicht;
Wi' Scottish sangs and mutton broth
Tae charm our cares away;
We'll drink success tae Rettie,
And my bandster Annie Maclean.

Noo afore I end my hamely screed,
I canna weel forget
The gentle dames that guards the hoose
And keeps the folk in maet.
Lang may they bile the kail
And stir the porridge weel.
An may never need or want for nail
Tae keep the timmer hale.

Noo here's tae a' ye Rettie blades,
A ringin' cheer - Hurra!
A better lot o' workin' chaps
A gaffer never saw.
They're aye sae willin' for tae pairt,
And eager for the fray
It was them that made the boatie row,
That was steer'd by Willie Rae.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:14 min read
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Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and lyricist. more…

All Robert Burns poems | Robert Burns Books

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