by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)
Translation © by Pierre Mathé

The mucking o' Geordie's byre
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): FRE
My heart is a breaking, dear Tittie,
  Some counsel unto me come len';
To anger them a' is a pity,
  But what will I do wi' Tam Glen? -

I'm thinking, wi' sic a braw fellow,
  In poortith I might mak a fen':
What care I in riches to wallow,
  If I mauna marry Tam Glen. -

There 's Lowrie the laird o' Dumeller,
  "Gude day to [you brute" he]1 comes ben:
He brags and he blaws o' his siller,
  But when will he dance like Tam Glen? -

My Minnie does constantly deave me,
  And bids me beware o' young men;
They flatter, she says, to deceive me,
  But wha can think sae o' Tam Glen? -

My Daddie says, gin I'll forsake him,
  He'll gie me gude hunder marks ten:
But if it 's ordain'd I maun take him,
  O wha will I get but Tam Glen?

Yestreen at the Valentines' dealing,
  My heart to my mou gied a sten;
For thrice I drew ane without failing,
  And thrice it was written, Tam Glen. -

The last Halloween I was waukin
  My droukit sark-sleeve, as ye ken;
His likeness cam up the house staukin,
  And the very grey breeks o' Tam Glen!

Come counsel, dear Tittie, don't tarry;
  I'll gie you my bonie black hen,
[Gif]2 ye will advise me to marry
  The lad I lo'e dearly, Tam Glen. -

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Haydn: "you," (coof) he"
2 Haydn: "Gin"

Mucking = cleaning dung out of a byre or stable
Titty = sister
Poortith = poverty
Mak' a fen'= to be above want, to make shift to live
Mauna = must not
Coof = blockhead, ninny
Ben = through to the inner room or parlour
Siller = silver, money
Minny = mother
Deave = annoy with talk
Gin = if
Gied a sten = moved with sudden motion
Waukin = making cloth thick and felted by a process, performed by hand, of soaking, beating and shrinking
Drookit = drenched
Sark-sleeve = shirt-sleeve
Breeks = breeches


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Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Tam Glen", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

Text added to the website: 2009-07-15 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-07-28 11:29:55
Line count: 32
Word count: 232

Tam Glen
Language: French (Français)  after the Scottish (Scots) 
Mon cœur se brise, chère sœur,
Viens me donner quelques conseils.
Il est triste de tous les fâcher,
Mais que faire de Tam Glen ?

Je crois qu'avec un aussi brave garçon,
Dans la pauvreté, je pourrais m'en sortir.
Que m'importe de se rouler dans la richesse,
Si je ne peux marier Tom Glen ?

Il y a Lowrie, le propriétaire de Dumeller :
« Bonjour à toi », [rustre]1, il entre !
Il fanfaronne et fait sonner ses écus,
Mais quand dansera-t-il comme Tam Glen ?

Ma maman me casse sans cesse les oreilles
Et me commande de me méfier des jeunes hommes ;
Elle dit qu'ils me flattent pour me décevoir,
Mais qui peut penser ça de Tam Glen ?

Mon papa dit que si je renonce à lui,
Il me donnera dix centaines de bon marcs :
Mais s'il est décidé que je ne l'ai pas,
Qui d'autre puis-je avoir que Tam Glen ?

Hier soir, à la loterie de la Saint Valentin,
Mon cœur bondit jusqu'à mes lèvres,
Car trois fois j'en tirai un sans faillir,
Et trois fois il était écrit « Tam Glen » !

À la dernière Toussaint j'étais occupée
À ma manche de chemise mouillée, comme vous savez ;
Sa semblable vint rôder dans la maison,
Et c'étaient les braies bien grises de Tam Glen !

Viens me conseiller, chère sœur, ne tarde pas !
Je te donnerai ma jolie poule noire,
Si tu me conseilles de me marier
Avec le garçon que j'aime tant, Tam Glen.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Haydn: "nigaud"


  • Translation from Scottish (Scots) to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Text added to the website: 2014-10-23 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-10-23 12:30:35
Line count: 32
Word count: 255