Dennistoun Online
Scottish Nursery Songs
printable version

 

To my Coat.


Though hardly worth one paltry groat,
Thou’rt dear to me, my poor old coat,
For full ten years my friend thou’st been,
For full ten years I’ve brush’d thee clean;
And now, like me, thou’rt old and wan,
With both the glow of youth is gone—
But, worn and shabby as thou art,
Thou and the poet shall not part.
                                          Poor coat.

I’ve not forgot the birth-day eve,
When first I donned thy glossy sleeve,
When jovial friends, in mantling wine,
Drank joy and health to me and mine.
Our indigence let some despise,
We’re dear as ever in their eyes
And for their sakes, old as thou art,
Thou and the poet shall not part,
                                          Poor coat.

One evening, I remember yet,
I, romping, feigned to fly Lisette—
She strove her lover to retain,
And thy frail skirt was rent in twain,—
Dear girl, she did her best endeavour,
And patched thee up as well as ever;
For her sweet sake, old as thou art,
Thou and the poet shall not part,
                                          Poor coat.

Never, my coat, hast thou been found
Bending thy shoulders to the ground,
From any upstart, “Lord” or “Grace,”
To beg a pension or a place
Wild forest flowers—no monarch’s dole
Adorn thy modest button-hole;
If, but for that, old as thou art,
Thou and the poet shall not part,
                                          Poor coat.

Poor though we be, my good old friend,
No gold shall bribe our backs to bend;
Honest amid temptations past,
We will be honest to the last—
For more I prize thy virtuous rags
Than all the lace a courtier brags,
And while I live, and have a heart,
Thou and the poet shall not part,
                                             My coat.

                                  —translated from Beranger.



 




Scottish Nursery Songs: Page 38 of  40