403. The Soldierâ€™s Return: A Ballad by Robert Burns
WHEN wild warâ€™s deadly blast was blawn, And gentle peace returning, Wiâ€™ mony a sweet babe fatherless, And mony a widow mourning; I left the lines and tented field, Where lang Iâ€™d been a lodger, My humble knapsack aâ€™ my wealth, A poor and honest sodger.
A leal, light heart was in my breast, My hand unstainâ€™d wiâ€™ plunder; And for fair Scotia hame again, I cheery on did wander: I thought upon the banks oâ€™ Coil, I thought upon my Nancy, I thought upon the witching smile That caught my youthful fancy.
At length I reachâ€™d the bonie glen, Where early life I sported; I passâ€™d the mill and trysting thorn, Where Nancy aft I courted: Wha spied I but my ain dear maid, Down by her motherâ€™s dwelling! And turnâ€™d me round to hide the flood That in my een was swelling.
Wiâ€™ alterâ€™d voice, quoth I, â€œSweet lass, Sweet as yon hawthornâ€™s blossom, O! happy, happy may he be, Thatâ€™s dearest to thy bosom: My purse is light, Iâ€™ve far to gang, And fain would be thy lodger; Iâ€™ve servâ€™d my king and country langâ€” Take pity on a sodger.â€
Sae wistfully she gazâ€™d on me, And lovelier was than ever; Quoâ€™ she, â€œA sodger ance I loâ€™ed, Forget him shall I never: Our humble cot, and hamely fare, Ye freely shall partake it; That gallant badge-the dear cockade, Yeâ€™re welcome for the sake oâ€™t.â€
She gazâ€™dâ€”she reddenâ€™d like a roseâ€” Syne pale like only lily; She sank within my arms, and cried, â€œArt thou my ain dear Willie?â€ â€œBy him who made yon sun and sky! By whom true loveâ€™s regarded, I am the man; and thus may still True lovers be rewarded.
â€œThe wars are oâ€™er, and Iâ€™m come hame, And find thee still true-hearted; Thoâ€™ poor in gear, weâ€™re rich in love, And mair weâ€™se neâ€™er be parted.â€ Quoâ€™ she, â€œMy grandsire left me gowd, A mailen plenishâ€™d fairly; And come, my faithfuâ€™ sodger lad, Thouâ€™rt welcome to it dearly!â€
For gold the merchant ploughs the main, The farmer ploughs the manor; But glory is the sodgerâ€™s prize, The sodgerâ€™s wealth is honor: The brave poor sodger neâ€™er despise, Nor count him as a stranger; Remember heâ€™s his countryâ€™s stay, In day and hour of danger.