The Calf

by Robert Burns

To the Rev. Mr. James Steven, on his text,
And they shall go forth, and grow up like CALVES of the stall.
Malachi, iv. 2.

Right, Sir! your text I'll prove it true,
Though Heretics may laugh;
For instance; there 's yoursel' just now,
God knows, an unco Calf!

And should some patron be so kind
As bless you wi' a kirk,
I doubt na, Sir, but then we'll find,
Ye 're still as great a Stirk.

But, if the lover's raptur'd hour
Shall ever be your lot,
Forbid it, ev'ry heavenly power,
You e'er should be a Stot!

Tho', when some kind, connubial dear.
Your but-and-ben adorns,
The like has been that you may wear
A noble head of horns.

And in your lug, most reverend James,
To hear you roar and rowte,
Few men o' sense will doubt your claims
To rank amang the Nowte.

And when ye 're numbered wi' the dead,
Below a grassy hillock,
Wi' justice they may mark your head --
Here lies a famous Bullock!

Notes to the poem:

The Rev. James Steven was afterwards one of the Scottish Clergy in London, and ultimately minister of Kilwinning in Ayrshire. He was no favourite of the poet's, and the lines were written on hearing him preach from the text.


The Poetical Works Of Robert Burns
Copyright 1910
Ward, Lock, and Co., Ltd