Robert Burns

Here you will find the Long Poem Halloween of poet Robert Burns


Upon that night, when fairies light 
On Cassilis Downans dance, 
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze, 
On sprightly coursers prance; 
Or for Colean the route is ta'en, 
Beneath the moon's pale beams; 
There, up the cove, to stray and rove, 
Among the rocks and streams 
To sport that night. 

Among the bonny winding banks, 
Where Doon rins, wimplin' clear, 
Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks, 
And shook his Carrick spear, 
Some merry, friendly, country-folks, 
Together did convene, 
To burn their nits, and pou their stocks, 
And haud their Halloween 
Fu' blithe that night. 

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat, 
Mair braw than when they're fine; 
Their faces blithe, fu' sweetly kythe, 
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin'; 
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs, 
Weel knotted on their garten, 
Some unco blate, and some wi' gabs, 
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin' 
Whiles fast at night. 

Then, first and foremost, through the kail, 
Their stocks maun a' be sought ance; 
They steek their een, and graip and wale, 
For muckle anes and straught anes. 
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift, 
And wander'd through the bow-kail, 
And pou't, for want o' better shift, 
A runt was like a sow-tail, 
Sae bow't that night. 

Then, staught or crooked, yird or nane, 
They roar and cry a' throu'ther; 
The very wee things, todlin', rin, 
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther; 
And gif the custoc's sweet or sour. 
Wi' joctelegs they taste them; 
Syne cozily, aboon the door, 
Wi cannie care, they've placed them 
To lie that night. 

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a' 
To pou their stalks of corn: 
But Rab slips out, and jinks about, 
Behint the muckle thorn: 
He grippet Nelly hard and fast; 
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses; 
But her tap-pickle maist was lost, 
When kitlin' in the fause-house 
Wi' him that night. 

The auld guidwife's well-hoordit nits, 
Are round and round divided, 
And monie lads' and lasses' fates 
Are there that night decided: 
Some kindle coothie, side by side, 
And burn thegither trimly; 
Some start awa, wi' saucy pride, 
And jump out-owre the chimlie 
Fu' high that night. 

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie ee; 
Wha 'twas she wadna tell; 
But this is Jock, and this is me, 
She says in to hersel: 
He bleezed owre her, and she owre him, 
As they wad never mair part; 
Till, fuff! he started up the lum, 
And Jean had e'en a sair heart 
To see't that night. 

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt, 
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie; 
And Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt, 
To be compared to Willie; 
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling, 
And her ain fit it brunt it; 
While Willie lap, and swore by jing, 
'Twas just the way he wanted 
To be that night. 

Nell had the fause-house in her min', 
She pits hersel and Rob in; 
In loving bleeze they sweetly join, 
Till white in ase they're sobbin'; 
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view, 
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't: 
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou', 
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't, 
Unseen that night. 

But Merran sat behint their backs, 
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell; 
She lea'es them gashin' at their cracks, 
And slips out by hersel: 
She through the yard the nearest taks, 
And to the kiln goes then, 
And darklins graipit for the bauks, 
And in the blue-clue throws then, 
Right fear't that night. 

And aye she win't, and aye she swat, 
I wat she made nae jaukin', 
Till something held within the pat, 
Guid Lord! but she was quakin'! 
But whether 'was the deil himsel, 
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en', 
Or whether it was Andrew Bell, 
She didna wait on talkin' 
To spier that night. 

Wee Jennie to her grannie says, 
"Will ye go wi' me, grannie? 
I'll eat the apple at the glass 
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie:" 
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt, 
In wrath she was sae vap'rin', 
She notice't na, an aizle brunt 
Her braw new worset apron 
Out through that night. 

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face! 
I daur you try sic sportin', 
As seek the foul thief ony place, 
For him to spae your fortune. 
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight! 
Great cause ye hae to fear it; 
For mony a ane has gotten a fright, 
And lived and died deleeret 
On sic a night. 

"Ae hairst afore the Sherramoor, -- 
I mind't as weel's yestreen, 
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure 
I wasna past fifteen; 
The simmer had been cauld and wat, 
And stuff was unco green; 
And aye a rantin' kirn we gat, 
And just on Halloween 
It fell that night. 

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen, 
A clever sturdy fallow: 
His son gat Eppie Sim wi' wean, 
That lived in Achmacalla: 
He gat hemp-seed, I mind it weel, <