Song—O Leave Novels[1]

     O leave novels, ye Mauchline belles,
     Ye're safer at your spinning-wheel;
     Such witching books are baited hooks
     For rakish rooks, like Rob Mossgiel;
     Your fine Tom Jones and Grandisons,
     They make your youthful fancies reel;
     They heat your brains, and fire your veins,
     And then you're prey for Rob Mossgiel.

     Beware a tongue that's smoothly hung,
     A heart that warmly seems to feel;
     That feeling heart but acts a part—
     'Tis rakish art in Rob Mossgiel.
     The frank address, the soft caress,
     Are worse than poisoned darts of steel;
     The frank address, and politesse,
     Are all finesse in Rob Mossgiel.

Burns never published this poem.