Robert Burns

(1759-1796 / Ayrshire / Scotland)

Address ToThe Devil


O thou! whatever title suit thee,-
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an' sootie,
Clos'd under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
To scaud poor wretches!
Hear me, Auld Hangie, for a wee,
An' let poor damned bodies be;
I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,
E'en to a deil,
To skelp an' scaud poor dogs like me,
An' hear us squeel!
Great is thy pow'r, an' great thy fame;
Far ken'd an' noted is thy name;
An' tho' yon lowin heugh's thy hame,
Thou travels far;
An' faith! thou's neither lag nor lame,
Nor blate nor scaur.
Whyles, ranging like a roarin lion,
For prey a' holes an' corners tryin;
Whyles, on the strong-wing' d tempest flyin,
Tirlin' the kirks;
Whyles, in the human bosom pryin,
Unseen thou lurks.
I've heard my rev'rend graunie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or whare auld ruin'd castles gray
Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand'rer's way
Wi' eldritch croon.
When twilight did my graunie summon
To say her pray'rs, douce honest woman!
Aft yont the dike she's heard you bummin,
Wi' eerie drone;
Or, rustlin thro' the boortrees comin,
Wi' heavy groan.
Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi' sklentin light,
Wi' you mysel I gat a fright,
Ayont the lough;
Ye like a rash-buss stood in sight,
Wi' waving sugh.
The cudgel in my nieve did shake,
Each bristl'd hair stood like a stake,
When wi' an eldritch, stoor 'Quaick, quaick,'
Amang the springs,
Awa ye squatter'd like a drake,
On whistling wings.
Let warlocks grim an' wither'd hags
Tell how wi' you on ragweed nags
They skim the muirs an' dizzy crags
Wi' wicked speed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,
Owre howket dead.
Thence, countra wives wi' toil an' pain
May plunge an' plunge the kirn in vain;
For oh! the yellow treasure's taen
By witchin skill;
An' dawtet, twal-pint hawkie's gaen
As yell's the bill.
Thence, mystic knots mak great abuse,
On young guidmen, fond, keen, an' croose;
When the best wark-lume i' the house,
By cantraip wit,
Is instant made no worth a louse,
Just at the bit.
When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord,
An' float the jinglin icy-boord,
Then water-kelpie s haunt the foord
By your direction,
An' nighted trav'lers are allur'd
To their destruction.
And aft your moss-travers ing spunkies
Decoy the wight that late an drunk is:
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkeys
Delude his eyes,
Till in some miry slough he sunk is,
Ne'er mair to rise.
When Masons' mystic word an grip
In storms an' tempests raise you up,
Some cock or cat your rage maun stop,
Or, strange to tell!
The youngest brither ye wad whip
Aff straught to hell!
Lang syne, in Eden'd bonie yard,
When youthfu' lovers first were pair'd,
An all the soul of love they shar'd,
The raptur'd hour,
Sweet on the fragrant flow'ry swaird,
In shady bow'r;
Then you, ye auld snick-drawin dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog,
And play'd on man a cursed brogue,
(Black be your fa'!)
An gied the infant warld a shog,
Maist ruin'd a'.
D'ye mind that day, when in a bizz,
Wi' reeket duds an reestet gizz,
Ye did present your smoutie phiz
Mang better folk,
An' sklented on the man of Uz
Your spitefu' joke?
An' how ye gat him i' your thrall,
An' brak him out o' house and hal',
While scabs and blotches did him gall,
Wi' bitter claw,
An' lows'd his ill-tongued, wicked scaul,
Was warst ava?
But a' your doings to rehearse,
Your wily snares an' fechtin fierce,
Sin' that day Michael did you pierce,
Down to this time,
Wad ding a Lallan tongue, or Erse,
In prose or rhyme.
An' now, Auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin,
A certain Bardie's rantin, drinkin,
Some luckless hour will send him linkin,
To your black pit;
But faith! he'll turn a corner jinkin,
An' cheat you yet.
But fare you weel, Auld Nickie-ben!
O wad ye tak a thought an' men'!
Ye aiblins might-I dinna ken-
Still hae a stake:

I'm wae to think upo' yon den,
Ev'n for your sake!

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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