[My translation into Standard English from The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Burns’ poem arguably exhibits the influence of Stoic and Epicurean themes.]
Contented with little and joyous with more,
Whenever I meet with Sorrow and Care,
I gave them a slap, as they’re creeping along,
With a cup o’ good ale and an auld Scottish song.
I oft’ scratch the elbow o’ troublesome Thought;
But Man is a soldier, and Life must be fought.
My mirth and good humour are coin in my pouch,
And my Freedom’s my Lairdship no monarch dare touch.
A twelve-month o’ trouble, should my fortune fall,
A night o’ good fellowship fixes it all:
When at the blithe end of our journey at last,
Who the Hell ever thinks o’ the road he has passed?
Blind Chance, let her stumble and stagger on her way,
Be it to me, or from me, even, let the slut stray!
Come Ease, or come Travail, come Pleasure or Pain,
My worst words are:– “Welcome, and welcome again!”
– Robert Burns, 1794.
The Stoic Handbook
Sign up today for our free email course on the Stoic Handbook. You'll receive weekly emails with my commentary on passages from Epictetus.