Although Jean Armour was his beloved wife, Burns was a hopeless romantic and flirt all his days.
Ma mither aye minds me tae keep ma ain counsel, sae ye willna be hearing ony gossip frae me. Hairst time is busy eneugh onyways, nae time tae be staunin aroon clatterin. Ahve tae walk oer tae Mount Oliphant tae help wi the hairst this day’s morn, afore the sun is oot his bed. Aye, an the walk back – i the derk o evening tae. But mind, ahm nae my lane the walk back. Young Rab frae Mount Oliphant aye taks me hame.
It’s the custom heareabouts tae partner lad an lass thegither at hairst time, working the field at ane time. Rab taks the weeder-clips an ah walk ahint him gaitherin the stalkies. It’s simple eneugh but hard efter a while. Ah cover ma hair wi a cloot tae keep the stour frae it, but ane time we flung oursels oan the foggage tae tak a bite o summat, twa three curls brust oot an Rab leans oer tae tuck them back in trigly. Ah near turnit red wi the shame o it but luikin aroon naebody hae mindit it. Ah ate ma bit bread an Missus Burns’ fine yowe-milk kebbuck whiles Rab sate on a patch o sedge grinnin lik a loon an slappin his hauns on his breeks.
Hairst – harvest
Clattering – chattering
Weeder-clips – shears for weeding
Ahint – behind
Cloot – a piece of cloth, a rag
Foggage – grass for winter grazing
Brust – burst
Trigly – neatly, tidily
Yowe – ewe
Sedge – rushes
Loon – rascal
Breeks – breeches, trousers
Laggardly – to loiter or fall behind
Blate – shyness, sheepishness, modest
Doucely – sweetly
Thristle – thistle
Kens – knows
Unco – strange
Chiel – a young man
Fain – glad
Bear-corn – barley