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127. Stanzas on Naething

 TO you, sir, this summons I’ve sent,
 Pray, whip till the pownie is freathing;
But if you demand what I want,
 I honestly answer you—naething.
Ne’er scorn a poor Poet like me, For idly just living and breathing, While people of every degree Are busy employed about—naething.
Poor Centum-per-centum may fast, And grumble his hurdies their claithing, He’ll find, when the balance is cast, He’s gane to the devil for—naething.
The courtier cringes and bows, Ambition has likewise its plaything; A coronet beams on his brows; And what is a coronet—naething.
Some quarrel the Presbyter gown, Some quarrel Episcopal graithing; But every good fellow will own Their quarrel is a’ about—naething.
The lover may sparkle and glow, Approaching his bonie bit gay thing: But marriage will soon let him know He’s gotten—a buskit up naething.
The Poet may jingle and rhyme, In hopes of a laureate wreathing, And when he has wasted his time, He’s kindly rewarded wi’—naething.
The thundering bully may rage, And swagger and swear like a heathen; But collar him fast, I’ll engage, You’ll find that his courage is—naething.
Last night wi’ a feminine whig— A Poet she couldna put faith in; But soon we grew lovingly big, I taught her, her terrors were naething.
Her whigship was wonderful pleased, But charmingly tickled wi’ ae thing, Her fingers I lovingly squeezed, And kissed her, and promised her—naething.
The priest anathèmas may threat— Predicament, sir, that we’re baith in; But when honour’s reveillé is beat, The holy artillery’s naething.
And now I must mount on the wave— My voyage perhaps there is death in; But what is a watery grave? The drowning a Poet is naething.
And now, as grim death’s in my thought, To you, sir, I make this bequeathing; My service as long as ye’ve ought, And my friendship, by God, when ye’ve naething.

Poem by Robert Burns
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