Document 644

Dipper: 32 - Invite Tae Embro

Author(s): Dr James A Begg

Copyright holder(s): Dr James A Begg

This document contains language which some may find offensive


The Robert Burns Club of Edinburgh held an Open Poetry Competition in 1986, the subject being Robert Burns and Edinburgh. This was my entry. J.A.B.

Dear Rab, I trust that ye'll forgie
Unsocht familiaritie,
Frae ane that ettles juist a-wee
Tae strive for fame,
An wha, in the cause o Poetrie,
Maun uise yer name -

- An link it up, wi screivin pen,
(Juist hou on earth I dinnae ken,
It's faur ayont the wit o men!)
- Tae Embro Toun;
Whan m' days, like yours, I'd raither spen
By Bonny Doon!

I've raxt my harns wi aa my micht,
For if my memory sers me richt,
(It's no sae guid this time o nicht,
- A wee bit leaky!)
Yer ain Collection's raither licht
Anent Auld Reekie!

Yer verses aa, as faur's I mind,
Were mair concerned wi wummankind,
Hurt pride, spent passion, love declined
Wi condescension;
Nor yet did closes, lands, or wynd
E'er rate a mention.

Altho, in truth, ye did complete
'Edina! Scotia's darling seat!'
A mim-moued Southron ode sae sweet,
My hert it rung,
Sae wersh aside the rich rid meat
O yer guid Scots tongue.

Nae dout sic havers really meant tae
Satisfy the 'Cognoscenti',
Wha, in this land o pride an plenty,
Cuid cut ye deid;
- An a Plouman Poet maun aye be tentie
O's daily breid!

But still, man Rab, ye didnae fleich,
Or gaberlunzie hauns ootstreitch,
E'en whan that Prenter, Willie Creech
Gat copyright;
An like some life-bluid-sucking leech,
He bled ye white.

At least ye had the consolation
O fleein heich abune yer 'station',
An 'fleein' whiles in celebration,
Wi fair Clarinda,
Whan drawn in amorous assignation,
Ye chappt her winda.

'Platonic frienship' - wha can tell?
For twice at least ye rang the bell,
An ither twa puir lassies fell
Wi bastard bairn -
- At least ye didnae rin like Hell,
But showed some carin.

But 'Time an Tide nae man can tether',
Let's chynge this tack, let's check this blether,
The warld kens fine ye were nae wether
Amang the gimmers!
- Ride on wi me, for waur or better,
Twa hunner simmers.

We'll jaunt tae Embro Toun thegither.
Guidsakes, my frien, I widnae swither,
- An niver mind this hellish weather,
- It's no that faur,
Nor a twa day ride by pownie ither,
- We'll gang by caur!

Ye'll fin there's muckle as ye kent it,
The Auld Toun hooses freshly pentit,
The causeys aiblins fresher scentit
Than last ye saw it;
The keech in sewers nou is emptit,
Nae need tae jaw it!

The High Street still rins doun the hill,
Past howffs an mansions guid an ill,
Whaur aft ye fand the tippeny yill
Maist appetisin,
While ither nichts yer heid wad birl

Wi Blair, MacKenzie, Dugal Stewart.
The ills o aa the warld ye'd cured,
Gin ye had been by God empouered,
Tae richt the wrangs,
Yer fellow man's sae lang endured,
In chains an whangs.

Wi heavy hert, I'm sweirt tae say,
The warld's still set wi grief an wae,
An no juist ance, but every day,
There's thousans deid,
As stervin, hapless puir faa prey
Tae war an greed.

The Russian serfs wha slew their Tsar,
An styled themsels U.S.S.R.,
An hailed yersel, Rab Burns, their star, An brither man,
Nou coontless peasants slay, in faur

Th' America ye sae admired,
The braw new warld yer passions fired,
The 'Liberty' yer muse inspired,
Is but a sham,
A battle-cry besmirched an tired,
- No worth a damn!

For 'Liberty' loues the lion's share,
Nae freedom there for black or puir,
A weel-tochert countrie grasps for mair
Nor it deserves,
An judges this baith richt an fair,
Gin a puir warld sterves.

Ach, havers Rab, I'm aff the track,
My train o thocht a wee bit slack,
Cairrit awa wi this unco crack
O wars an worry;
I'll hae tae turn my pencil back
Tae Edinburgh.

For three thrang weeks in every year,
The City throbs wi life an cheer,
While music, art, an poetrie dear,
Enrich the mind,
An ither, ugsome, cantraips queer,
Screive, screich, an grind!

Ye'll no be sweirt tae come alang
Tae a Festival o plays an sang,
An jyne yon intellectual thrang
On Embro's streets,
As thousans upon thousans gang
Tae witness feats

O finest virtuositie,
Perfection an precocitie,
As shows perform for aa tae see
Their magic art,
An artistes get across at ye
As shuin's they stert.

But whiles there's curiositie,
An dounricht animositie,
Whan bombasts wi verbositie
Extol as 'Art',
Sic trash, in aa veracitie,
'S no worth a fart!

The Fringe'll gie ye sic a dose
O 'Poetrie' like murdert prose,
An pentins like a bluidy nose,
- Aa dreips an splatters,
An bare-scud actors nearly froze,
- An mad as hatters!

But as ye tak a dauner roun,
An fill yer hert wi sicht an soun,
I'm shuir yer hert will tak a stoun,
An blin wi tears,
Ye'll harken back tae Embro Toun,
Twa hunner years.

An nou's I close this lang epistle,
Afore my harns turn intae gristle,
If ye think my wark's no worth a whustle,
Or scrape o pen,
I'd ask ye, Rab, tae grup the thistle,
An let me ken.

raxt my harns/racked my brains
wynd/narrow street
ram gimmer/young ewe
jaw it/throw out(liquid)
whangs/leather thongs
weel-tochert/well endowed
stoun/sharp pang of pain

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Dipper: 32 - Invite Tae Embro. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 June 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Dipper: 32 - Invite Tae Embro." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 June 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Dipper: 32 - Invite Tae Embro," accessed 25 June 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 644

Dipper: 32 - Invite Tae Embro


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1986
Word count 966
General description Anthology of prizewinning and other Scots poems, and short stories in Ayrshire Scots. This poem was Joint Winner of Edinburgh Robert Burns Club's Open Poetry Competition 1986 (£200 Prize). Clement Wilson Trophy (Scots Verse) S.N.O.P.C. 1988.

Text medium

Other Audiocassette

Text publication details

Publisher Luath Press
Publication year 1991
Place of publication Barr, Ayrshire
ISBN/ISSN 0946487227
Edition First
Part of larger text
Contained in The Dipper an the Three Wee Deils: Tales and Poems in Ayrshire Scots
Editor Authors: Dr. J. A. Begg and J. Reid
Page numbers 80-84

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 623
Title Dr
Forenames James
Initials A
Surname Begg
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Medical Practitioner
Place of birth New Cumnock
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Ayr
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Clerical Officer, NCB
Father's place of birth Sandbank
Father's region of birth Argyll
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Primary Teacher
Mother's place of birth New Cumnock
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Danish No No No No A little
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Holidaying in France
Norwegian No No No No A little
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home, socially, at work