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    Address to an Illegitimate Child

    by Robert Burns
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    [This hasty and not very decorous effusion, was originally entitled
    "The Poet's Welcome; or, Rab the Rhymer's Address to his Bastard
    Child." A copy, with the more softened, but less expressive title, was
    published by Stewart, in 1801, and is alluded to by Burns himself, in
    his biographical letter to Moore. "Bonnie Betty," the mother of the
    "sonsie-smirking, dear-bought Bess," of the Inventory, lived in
    Largieside: to support this daughter the poet made over the copyright
    of his works when he proposed to go to the West Indies. She lived to
    be a woman, and to marry one John Bishop, overseer at Polkemmet, where
    she died in 1817. It is said she resembled Burns quite as much as any
    of the rest of his children.]

    Thou's welcome, wean, mischanter fa' me,
    If ought of thee, or of thy mammy,
    Shall ever daunton me, or awe me,
    My sweet wee lady,
    Or if I blush when thou shalt ca' me
    Tit-ta or daddy.

    Wee image of my bonny Betty,
    I, fatherly, will kiss and daut thee,
    As dear and near my heart I set thee
    Wi' as gude will
    As a' the priests had seen me get thee
    That's out o' hell.

    What tho' they ca' me fornicator,
    An' tease my name in kintry clatter:
    The mair they talk I'm kent the better,
    E'en let them clash;
    An auld wife's tongue's a feckless matter
    To gie ane fash.

    Sweet fruit o' mony a merry dint,
    My funny toil is now a' tint,
    Sin' thou came to the warl asklent,
    Which fools may scoff at;
    In my last plack thy part's be in't
    The better ha'f o't.

    An' if thou be what I wad hae thee,
    An' tak the counsel I sall gie thee,
    A lovin' father I'll be to thee,
    If thou be spar'd;
    Thro' a' thy childish years I'll e'e thee,
    An' think't weel war'd.

    Gude grant that thou may ay inherit
    Thy mither's person, grace, an' merit,
    An' thy poor worthless daddy's spirit,
    Without his failins;
    'Twill please me mair to hear an' see it
    Than stocket mailens.
    If you're writing a Address to an Illegitimate Child essay and need some advice, post your Robert Burns essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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