​​Willie Wastle


​Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed, 
The spot they ca'd it Linkumdoddie. 
Willie was a wabster guid 
Could stown a clue wi onie body. 
He had a wife was dour and din, 
O, Tinkler Maidgie was her mither! 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 
I wad na gie a button for her. 

She has an e'e (she has but ane), 
The cat has twa the very colour, 
Five rusty teeth, forbye a stump, 
A clapper-toungue wad deave a miller; 
A whiskin beard about her mou, 
Her nose and chin they threaten ither: 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 
I wad na gie a button for her. 

She's bow-hough'd, she's hem-shin'd, 
Ae limpin leg a hand-breed shorter; 
She's twisted right, she's twisted left, 
To balance fair in ilka quarter; 
She has a hump upon her breast, 
The twin o that upon her shouther: 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 
I wad na gie a button for her. 

Auld baudrans by the ingle sits, 
An wi her loof her face a-washin; 
But Willie's wife is nae sae trig, 
She dights her frunzie wi a hushion; 
Her walie nieves like midden-creels, 
Her face wad fyle the Logan Water: 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 
I wad na gie a button for her. 


Robert Burns

Willie Wastle 


Willie Wastle dwelt on Tweed,
The spot they called it Linkumdoddie.
Willie was a weaver good
Could stown a clew with any body (packs a ball of thread.)
He had a wife was sullen and dun (dark complexioned),
O, Tinker (Gypsy) Maidgeie was her mother!
Such a wife as Willie had,
I would not give a button for her.

She has an eye (she has but one),
The cat has two the very (same) colour,
Five rusty teeth, besides a stump,
A (bell) clapper-tongue would deafen a miller;
A whisker beard about her mouth,
Her nose and chin they threaten each other (nearly meet):
Such a wife as Willie had,
I would not give a button for her.

She is bow legged, she is hem-shin'd (also bow legged),
One limping leg a hand-breadth shorter;
She is twisted right, she is twisted left,
To balance fair in each quarter;
She has a hump upon her breast,
The twin of that upon her shoulder:
Such a wife as Willie had,
I would not give a button for her.

Old cats by the fireplace sits,
And with her paw her face a-washing;
But Willie's wife in not so neat,
She wipes her face with a footless stocking;
Her ample fists like manure baskets,
Her face would foul the Logan Water:
Such a wife as Willie had,
I would not give a button for her.


Robert Burns

English Translation