Included in the Glenriddell Manuscript and published (in part) in Thomas Stewart's `Poems ascribed to Robert Burns, the Ayrshire Bard' (1801), the poem is an affectionate address to Burns' illegitimate daughter by Elizabeth Paton: Elizabeth, born 22 May 1785. Compared with the sexual boastfulness over this episode, expressed in `Epistle to John Rankine', this poem following the birth of Elizabeth Burns expresses only warm tenderness. The child was raised at Mossgiel under the care of the poet's mother. In `The Inventory' Burns styles her as `Sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess.' She grew up to womanhood, was married and had a family. Her death is thus announced in the `Scots Magazine', December 8, 1817 :- `Died Elizabeth Burns, wife of Mr John Bishop, overseer at Polkemmet, near Whitburn. She was the daughter of the celebrated Robert Burns, and the subject of some of his most beautiful lines.' Lockhart was rather nasty about the business.

   Thou's welcome, wean! Mishanter fa' me,                 child/mishap
   If thoughts o' thee or yet thy mammie
   Shall ever daunton me or awe me,
      My sweet, wee lady,
   Or if I blush when thou shalt ca' me
      Tyta or daddie!

   What tho' they ca' me fornicator,
   An' tease my name in kintra clatter?                  country gossip
   The mair they talk, I'm kend the better;
      E'en let them clash!                                       tattle
   An auld wife's tongue's a feckless matter                     feeble
      To gie ane fash.                                   give annoyance

   Welcome, my bonie, sweet, wee dochter!
   Tho' ye come here a wee unsought for,
   And tho' your comin I hae fought for
      Baith kirk and queir;                                church/court
   Yet, by my faith, ye're no unwrought for ---
      That I shall swear!

   Sweet fruit o' monie a merry dint,                          occasion
   My funny toil is no a' tint:                            not all lost
   Tho' thou cam to the warl' asklent,                            askew
      Which fools may scoff at,
   In my last plack thy part's be in't                         farthing
      The better half o't.

   Tho' I should be the waur bestead,                    worse provided
   Thou's be as braw and bienly clad,                       well/finely
   And thy young years as nicely bred                       comfortably
      Wi' education,
   As onie brat o' wedlock's bed
      In a' thy station.

   Wee image o' my bonie Betty,                         Elizabeth Paton
   As fatherly I kiss and daut thee,                             caress
   As dear and near my heart I set thee,
      Wi' as guid will,
   As a' the priests had seen me get thee
      That's out o' Hell.

   Gude grant that thou may ay inherit                              God
   Thy mither's looks an' gracefu' merit,
   An' thy poor worthless daddie's spirit
      Without his failins!
   'Twill please me mair to see thee heir it
      Than stocket mailins.                          well-stocked farms

   And if thou be what I wad hae thee,
   An' tak the counsel I shall gie thee,
   I'll never rue my trouble wi' thee ---
      The cost nor shame o't ---
   But be a loving father to thee,
      And brag the name o't.