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132. Reply to a Trimming Epistle received from a Tailor

 WHAT ails ye now, ye lousie bitch
To thresh my back at sic a pitch?
Losh, man! hae mercy wi’ your natch,
 Your bodkin’s bauld;
I didna suffer half sae much
 Frae Daddie Auld.
What tho’ at times, when I grow crouse, I gie their wames a random pouse, Is that enough for you to souse Your servant sae? Gae mind your seam, ye prick-the-louse, An’ jag-the-flea! King David, o’ poetic brief, Wrocht ’mang the lasses sic mischief As filled his after-life wi’ grief, An’ bluidy rants, An’ yet he’s rank’d amang the chief O’ lang-syne saunts.
And maybe, Tam, for a’ my cants, My wicked rhymes, an’ drucken rants, I’ll gie auld cloven’s Clootie’s haunts An unco slip yet, An’ snugly sit amang the saunts, At Davie’s hip yet! But, fegs! the session says I maun Gae fa’ upo’ anither plan Than garrin lasses coup the cran, Clean heels ower body, An’ sairly thole their mother’s ban Afore the howdy.
This leads me on to tell for sport, How I did wi’ the Session sort; Auld Clinkum, at the inner port, Cried three times, “Robin! Come hither lad, and answer for’t, Ye’re blam’d for jobbin!” Wi’ pinch I put a Sunday’s face on, An’ snoov’d awa before the Session: I made an open, fair confession— I scorn’t to lee, An’ syne Mess John, beyond expression, Fell foul o’ me.
A fornicator-loun he call’d me, An’ said my faut frae bliss expell’d me; I own’d the tale was true he tell’d me, “But, what the matter? (Quo’ I) I fear unless ye geld me, I’ll ne’er be better!” “Geld you! (quo’ he) an’ what for no? If that your right hand, leg or toe Should ever prove your sp’ritual foe, You should remember To cut it aff—an’ what for no Your dearest member?” “Na, na, (quo’ I,) I’m no for that, Gelding’s nae better than ’tis ca’t; I’d rather suffer for my faut A hearty flewit, As sair owre hip as ye can draw’t, Tho’ I should rue it.
“Or, gin ye like to end the bother, To please us a’—I’ve just ae ither— When next wi’ yon lass I forgather, Whate’er betide it, I’ll frankly gie her ’t a’ thegither, An’ let her guide it.
” But, sir, this pleas’d them warst of a’, An’ therefore, Tam, when that I saw, I said “Gude night,” an’ cam’ awa’, An’ left the Session; I saw they were resolvèd a’ On my oppression.

Poem by Robert Burns
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