Tam O'shanter Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


A TaleA
Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this BukeB
Gawin DouglasC
When chapman billies leave the streetD
And drouthy neebors neebors meetD
As market days are wearing lateE
An' folk begin to tak' the gateE
While we sit bousing at the nappyF
An' getting fou and unco happyF
We think na on the lang Scots milesG
The mosses waters slaps and stilesG
That lie between us and our hameH
Whare sits our sulky sullen dameH
Gathering her brows like gathering stormH
Nursing her wrath to keep it warmH
This truth fand honest Tam o'ShanterI
As he frae Ayr ae night did canterI
Auld Ayr wham ne'er a town surpassesJ
For honest men and bonie lassesJ
O Tam hadst thou but been sae wiseJ
As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's adviceJ
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellumH
A blethering blustering drunken blellumH
That frae November till OctoberI
Ae market day thou was nae soberI
That ilka melder wi' the millerI
Thou sat as lang as thou had sillerI
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe onK
The smith and thee gat roarin fou onK
That at the Lord's house ev'n on SundayL
Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till MondayF
She prophesied that late or soonM
Thou would be found deep drowned in DoonM
Or catched wi' warlocks in the mirkB
By Alloway's auld haunted kirkB
Ah gentle dames it gars me greetD
To think how mony counsels sweetD
How mony lengthened sage advicesJ
The husband frae the wife despisesJ
But to our tale Ae market nightN
Tam had got planted unco rightN
Fast by an ingle bleezing finelyF
Wi' reaming swats that drank divinelyF
And at his elbow Souter JohnnyF
His ancient trusty drouthy cronyF
Tam lo'ed him like a vera britherI
They had been fou for weeks thegitherI
The night drave on wi' sangs an' clatterI
And aye the ale was growing betterI
The landlady and Tam grew graciousJ
Wi' favours secret sweet and preciousJ
The Souter tauld his queerest storiesJ
The landlord's laugh was ready chorusJ
The storm without might rair and rustleO
Tam did na mind the storm a whistleO
Care mad to see a man sae happyF
E'en drowned himself amang the nappyF
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasureI
The minutes winged their way wi' pleasureI
Kings may be blest but Tam was gloriousJ
O'er a' the ills o' life victoriousJ
But pleasures are like poppies spreadP
You seize the flow'r its bloom is shedP
Or like the snow falls in the riverI
A moment white then melts for everI
Or like the borealis raceJ
That flit ere you can point their placeJ
Or like the rainbow's lovely formH
Evanishing amid the stormH
Nae man can tether time or tideQ
The hour approaches Tam maun rideQ
That hour o' night's black arch the key staneF
That dreary hour he mounts his beast inF
And sic a night he tak's the road inF
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad inF
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its lastR
The rattling showers rose on the blastR
The speedy gleams the darkness swallowedS
Loud deep and lang the thunder bellowedS
That night a child might understandT
The De'il had business on his handT
Weel mounted on his grey mare MegB
A better never lifted legB
Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mireI
Despising wind and rain and fireI
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnetU
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnetV
Whiles glow'rin round wi' prudent caresJ
Lest bogles catch him unawaresJ
Kirk Alloway was drawing nighW
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cryW
By this time he was cross the fordX
Whare in the snaw the chapman smooredX
And past the birks and meikle staneF
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck baneF
And thro' the whins and by the cairnF
Whare hunters fand the murdered bairnF
And near the thorn aboon the wellY
Whare Mungo's mither hanged hersel'Y
Before him Doon pours all his floodsJ
The doubling storm roars thro' the woodsJ
The lightnings flash from pole to poleY
Near and more near the thunders rollY
When glimmering thro' the groaning treesJ
Kirk Alloway seemed in a bleezeJ
Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancingB
And loud resounded mirth and dancingB
Inspiring bold John BarleycornF
What dangers thou canst mak' us scornF
Wi' tippenny we fear nae evilY
Wi' usquabae we'll face the devilY
The swats sae reamed in Tammie's noddleY
Fair play he cared na deils a boddleY
But Maggie stood right sair astonishedX
Till by the heel and hand admonishedX
She ventured forward on the lightX
And wow Tam saw an unco sightX
Warlocks and witches in a danceJ
Nae cotillion brent new frae FranceJ
But hornpipes jigs strathspeys and reelsJ
Put life and mettle in their heelsJ
A winnock bunker in the eastX
There sat auld Nick in shape o' beastX
A towzie tyke black grim and largeZ
To gie them music was his chargeZ
He screwed the pipes and gart them skirlY
Till roof and rafters a' did dirlY
Coffins stood round like open pressesJ
That shawed the Dead in their last dressesJ
And by some devilish cantraip sleightX
Each in its cauld hand held a lightX
By which heroic Tam was ableY
To note upon the haly tableY
A murderer's banes in gibbet airnsJ
Twa span lang wee unchristened bairnsJ
A thief new cutted frae a rapeF
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gapeF
Five tomahawks wi' blude red rustedX
Five scimitars wi' murder crustedX
A garter which a babe had strangledX
A knife a father's throat had mangledX
Whom his ain son o' life bereftX
The grey hairs yet stack to the heftX
Wi' mair of horrible and awfu'W
Which even to name wad be unlawfu'W
As Tammie glowered amazed and curiousJ
The mirth and fun grew fast and furiousJ
The Piper loud and louder blewY
The dancers quick and quicker flewY
They reeled they set they crossed they cleekitX
Till ilka carlin swat and reekitX
And coost her duddies to the warkB
And linket at it in her sarkB
Now Tam O Tam had they been queansJ
A' plump and strapping in their teensJ
Their sarks instead o' creeshie flainenF
Been snaw white seventeen hunder linenF
Thir breeks o' mine my only pairI
That ance were plush o' gude blue hairI
I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdiesJ
For ae blink o' the bonie burdiesJ
But withered beldams auld and drollY
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foalY
Lowping and flinging on a crummockB
I wonder didna turn thy stomachA2
But Tam kenned what was what fu' brawlieY
'There was ae winsome wench and waulie'Y
That night enlisted in the coreI
Lang after kenned on Carrick shoreI
For mony a beast to dead she shotX
And perished mony a bonie boatX
And shook baith meikle corn and bearI
And kept the country side in fearI
Her cutty sark o' Paisley harnF
That while a lassie she had wornF
In longitude tho' sorely scantyX
It was her best and she was vauntieX
Ah little kenned thy reverend grannieF
That sark she coft for her wee NannieF
Wi' twa pund Scots 'twas a' her richesJ
Wad ever graced a dance of witchesJ
But here my Muse her wing maun courI
Sic flights are far beyond her powerI
To sing how Nannie lap and flangB
A souple jade she was and strangB
And how Tam stood like ane bewitchedX
And thought his very een enrichedX
Even Satan glowered and fidged fu' fainF
And hotched and blew wi' might and mainF
Till first ae caper syne anitherI
Tam tint his reason a' thegitherI
And roars out Weel done Cutty sarkB
And in an instant all was darkB
And scarcely had he Maggie ralliedX
When out the hellish legion salliedX
As bees bizz out wi' angry fykeB
When plundering herds assail their bykeB
As open pussie's mortal foesJ
When pop she starts before their noseJ
As eager runs the market crowdX
When Catch the thief resounds aloudX
So Maggie runs the witches followY
Wi' mony an eldritch screech and hollowY
Ah Tam ah Tam thou'll get thy fairinF
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrinF
In vain thy Kate awaits thy cominF
Kate soon will be a woefu' womanF
Now do thy speedy utmost MegB
And win the key stane of the brigB
There at them thou thy tail may tossJ
A running stream they dare na crossJ
But ere the key stane she could makeB
The fient a tail she had to shakeB
For Nannie far before the restX
Hard upon noble Maggie prestX
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettleY
But little wist she Maggie's mettleY
Ae spring brought off her master haleY
But left behind her ain grey tailY
The carlin claught her by the rumpF
And left poor Maggie scarce a stumpF
Now wha this tale o' truth shall readX
Ilk man and mother's son take heedX
Whene'er to drink you are inclinedX
Or cutty sarks run in your mindX
Think ye may buy the joys o'er dearI
Remember Tam o'Shanter's mareI

Robert Burns


Poem topics: , Print This Poem , Rhyme Scheme

Submit Spanish Translation
Submit German Translation
Submit French Translation

Write your comment about Tam O'shanter poem by Robert Burns


Recent Interactions*

This poem was read 12 times,

This poem was added to the favorite list by 0 members,

This poem was voted by 0 members.

(* Interactions only in the last 7 days)

New Poems

Popular Poets