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Title: Hamewith
Author: Murray, Charles Theodore
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             CHARLES MURRAY

                          With Introduction by
                              ANDREW LANG


                          Two Illustrations by
                          R. DOUGLAS STRACHAN

                        CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD.

    _Here on the Rand we freely grant_
      _We’re blest wi’ sunny weather;_
    _Fae cauld an’ snaw we’re weel awa,_
      _But man, we miss the heather._


                               TO MY WIFE


    _Some of these verses appeared originally in "The Scots
    Observer," "The National Observer," "Black and White," "The
    Outlook," "The Spectator," "Chambers’ Journal," and other
    papers; and a number of them were published in volume form in
    1900 by Messrs. D. Wyllie and Son, Aberdeen.  In the present
    collection many new poems appear for the first time._


The Alien
The Whistle
Skeely Kirsty
The Antiquary
The Miller
The Miller Explains
The Packman
The Lettergae
Margaret Dods
The Back o’ Beyont is Dry
A Green Yule
Spring in the Howe o’ Alford
The Hint o’ Hairst
R. L. S.
Burns’ Centenary
The Ae Reward
"My Lord"
In the Gloamin’
The Maid o’ the Mill
The Witch o’ the Golden Hair
Where Love was Nane
The Deil an’ the Deevilock
A Backcast
The Lawin’
The Gypsy
The Outlaw’s Lass
Charon’s Song
Virgil in Scots
Horace in Scots. Car. I, 11
Horace in Scots. Car. I, 38
Horace in Scots. Car. II, 10
Horace in Scots. Car. III, 9
Horace in Scots. Car. III, 15
Horace in Scots. Car. III, 26
Horace in Scots. Epod. II
The Remonstrance
The Reply
Scotland our Mither


Whence arose the popular belief that some persons impart luck to the
books of other persons? The answer, if it were not a question of books
but of other projectiles, would be (in savage society) that one man has
more _maya_ or _wakan_ or _orenda_ than another; has more of a subtle,
imponderable, potent, innermost, all-pervading something than another,
and that he can communicate this gift, by luck or otherwise, to others.
Thus in Rutuya a medicine man communicated his _maya_ to Colonel
Gudgeon, to Lieutenant Grant, and other gentlemen, who then walked
barefoot but unsinged over a floor of red-hot stones.  Obviously our
civilized faith in prefaces by other hands than the author’s (usually
the better man), is part of the _orenda_ or _maya_ superstition or

Were I conscious of possessing _maya_ or luck, I would gladly impart it
to all men, if all men were equally virtuous, like the teacher of the
art of flying in "Rasselas," by Dr. Samuel Johnson.  But I am so far
from being conscious of possessing _maya_ that I only wish, if there be
indeed a quantity of this transcendental ether, that some one who had
plenty of it would write introductions for my books, which stand greatly
in need of a supernormal "send off."  Still they are not in quite such
evil case as they would be were I a poet, for many a man and most women
most justly disesteem their own capacity for reading verses.  Indeed
that art is now almost lost, and it is strange to think that there are
probably to-day more persons who write verse than who read it.  Poetry,
like Christmas cards, is bought, not to keep, but to give away at
Christmas, on birthdays, and, by economical friends of the bride, at
weddings.  There is always plenty of poetry in small volumes, in flabby
leather covers, among the array of wedding presents.  This offering is a
survival: the idea of love is still connected with the writings of
Tennyson and Browning, though experience tells us that the
poetry-reading days of the pair end at the altar.

The child of an earlier generation, I was capable of reading verses in
my youth, and even now can do so, retaining at least that faculty of a
dead world, just as the last Pict held the secret of "brewing the ale
from the heather bell."  Mr. Charles Murray’s ale (which is excellent)
is all brewed from the heather bell, is pure Scots; and he sings the
songs of our national Zion on "a distant and a deadly shore," that of
the Transvaal—though this is a mere figure of speech, the Transvaal,
like Bohemia, possessing at present no sea-coast.

To the patriotic Scot there is somewhat affecting in the echoes of very
rich Scots which reach us across the African continent and "seas that
row between."  To speak for myself, I am never so happy as when I cross
the Tweed at Berwick from the South, or go on the links at Wimbledon
Common, and hear the accents (for there are several, including that
peculiar to Gourock) of my native tongue.  These observes are quite
genuine, and come from a Scot whose critics in England banter him on his
patriotism, while his critics in Scotland revile him as rather more
unpatriotic than the infamous Sir John Menteith, who whummled the
bannock.  The Scots of Mr. Murray is so pure and so rich that it may
puzzle some patriots whose sentiments are stronger than their linguistic
acquirements.  The imitations of Horace are among the best extant, and
Mr. Murray might take Professor Blackie’s advice, trying how far the
most rustic idylls of Theocritus, say the "Oaristus," can be converted
into the Doric of the Lowlands.  If one may have favourites, among these
is "The Packman," "The Howe of Alford," "The Hint o’ Hairst," "The
Antiquary," and "The Lettergae."  Does any Lettergae survive in this age
of guilt when the harmonium pervades the kirks which our fathers
purified from the Romish organ? Indeed, the poems beget a certain
melancholy.  "I am never merry when I hear sweet music" from a world
that is dead or dying, the world of Scott and Hogg, the world that knew
not polluted streams, and railways, and motor cars, and, worst of
abominations, the gramophone.

In a far-off land Mr. Murray retains the sentiment of that forgotten
time, and is haunted by the scent of peat and bog myrtle, the sound of
old words that now are strange, the poverty that was not the mate of
discontent.  _Enfin_ he has the secret of the last of the Picts, if
indeed _he_ was the last, if they do not dwell with "The Secret
Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies" in the secret places of the
hills.  Poetry more truly Scots than that of Mr.  Murray is no longer
written—was not written even by Mr. Stevenson, about "a’ the bonny U. P.
Kirks," for in his verses there was a faint twinkle of the spirit of



    Hot youth ever is a ranger,
      New scenes ever its desire;
    Cauld Eild, doubtfu’ o’ the stranger,
      Thinks but o’ haudin’ in the fire.

    Midway, the wanderer is weary,
      Fain he’d be turnin’ in his prime
    Hamewith—the road that’s never dreary,
      Back where his heart is a’ the time.

                              *THE ALIEN*

    In Afric’s fabled fountains I have panned the golden sand—
      Caught crocodile with baviaan for bait—
    I’ve fished, with blasting gelatine for hook an’ gaff an’ wand,
      An’ lured the bearded barbel to his fate:
    But take your Southern rivers that meander to the sea,
    And set me where the Leochel joins the Don,
    With eighteen feet of greenheart an’ the tackle running free—
        _I want to have a clean fish on._

    The eland an’ the tsessebe I’ve tracked from early dawn,
      I’ve heard the roar of lions shake the night,
    I’ve fed the lonely bush-veld camp on dik-kop an’ korhaan,
      An’ watched the soaring vulture in his flight;
    For horn an’ head I’ve hunted, yet the spoil of gun and spear,
      My trophies, I would freely give them all,
    To creep through mist an’ heather on the great red deer—
        _I want to hear the black cock call._

    In hot December weather when the grass is caddie high
      I’ve driven clean an’ lost the ball an’ game,
    When winter veld is burned an’ bare I’ve cursed the cuppy lie—
      The language is the one thing still the same;
    For dongas, rocks, an’ scuffled greens give me the links up
      The whins, the broom, the thunder of the surf,
    The three old fellows waiting where I used to make a fourth—
        _I want to play a round on turf._

    I’ve faced the fremt, its strain an’ toil, in market an’ in
      Seen Fortune ebb an’ flow between the "Chains,"
    Sat late o’er starlit banquets where the danger spiced the wine,
      But bitter are the lees the alien drains;
    For all the time the heather blooms on distant Benachie,
      An’ wrapt in peace the sheltered valley lies,
    I want to wade through bracken in a glen across the sea—
        _I want to see the peat reek rise._

[Illustration: The Whistle]

                             *THE WHISTLE*

    He cut a sappy sucker from the muckle rodden-tree,
    He trimmed it, an’ he wet it, an’ he thumped it on his knee;
    He never heard the teuchat when the harrow broke her eggs,
    He missed the craggit heron nabbin’ puddocks in the seggs,
    He forgot to hound the collie at the cattle when they strayed,
    But you should hae seen the whistle that the wee herd made!

    He wheepled on’t at mornin’ an’ he tweetled on’t at nicht,
    He puffed his freckled cheeks until his nose sank oot o’ sicht,
    The kye were late for milkin’ when he piped them up the closs,
    The kitlins got his supper syne, an’ he was beddit boss;
    But he cared na doit nor docken what they did or thocht or said,
    There was comfort in the whistle that the wee herd made.

    For lyin’ lang o’ mornin’s he had clawed the caup for weeks,
    But noo he had his bonnet on afore the lave had breeks;
    He was whistlin’ to the porridge that were hott’rin’ on the
    He was whistlin’ ower the travise to the baillie in the byre;
    Nae a blackbird nor a mavis, that hae pipin’ for their trade,
    Was a marrow for the whistle that the wee herd made.

    He played a march to battle, it cam’ dirlin’ through the mist,
    Till the halflin’ squared his shou’ders an’ made up his mind to
    He tried a spring for wooers, though he wistna what it meant,
    But the kitchen-lass was lauchin’ an’ he thocht she maybe kent;
    He got ream an’ buttered bannocks for the lovin’ lilt he played.
    Wasna that a cheery whistle that the wee herd made?

    He blew them rants sae lively, schottisches, reels, an’ jigs,
    The foalie flang his muckle legs an’ capered ower the rigs,
    The grey-tailed futt’rat bobbit oot to hear his ain strathspey,
    The bawd cam’ loupin’ through the corn to "Clean Pease Strae";
    The feet o’ ilka man an’ beast gat youkie when he played—
    Hae ye ever heard o’ whistle like the wee herd made?

    But the snaw it stopped the herdin’ an’ the winter brocht him
    When in spite o’ hacks an’ chilblains he was shod again for
    He couldna sough the catechis nor pipe the rule o’ three,
    He was keepit in an’ lickit when the ither loons got free;
    But he aften played the truant—’twas the only thing he played,
    For the maister brunt the whistle that the wee herd made!

                            *SKEELY KIRSTY*

    A stane-cast fae the clachan heid
    An auld feal dyke enclosed a reed
    O’ garden grun’, where flower an’ weed
      In spring grew first aye;
    An’ there the humble hauddin’ steed
      O’ Skeely Kirsty.

    Upon the easin’ sods a fou
    Thick-leaved an’ sappy yearly grew,
    Which, for a scrat or scabbit mou’,
      Beat aught in "Buchan";
    An’ draughts fae herbs she used to brew
      That drank like brochan.

    To heal a heid, or scob a bane,
    To ease a neebour’s grippit wean,
    Or thoom a thraw, there wasna ane
      Could e’er come near her;
    Nae income, fivver, hoast, nor nane
      Would ever steer her.

    She cured for pleasure, nae for fees;
    Healed man an’ beast wi’ equal ease:
    She gae a lotion for the grease
      To Spence the carrier,
    That cured his mear, when the disease
      Gaed ower the farrier.

    Was there a corp to streck or kist,
    She aye was foremost to assist;
    She grat to think "how he’d be miss’t,
      Sae good and gifted"!
    Syne handed roon’ anither taste
      Afore they lifted.

    Ae morn grim Death—that poacher fell—
    Gat Kirsty in his girn hersel’;
    Nae epitaph her virtues tell,
      It needs nae vreetin’:
    On ae thing maistly Fame will dwell—
      Her gift o’ greetin’.

                            *THE ANTIQUARY*

    A little mannie, nae ower five feet three,
      Sae bent wi’ eild he lookit less than that,
    His cleadin’ fashioned wi’ his tastes to ’gree,
      Fae hose an’ cuitikins to plaid an’ hat.

    His cot stob-thackit, wi’ twa timmer lums,
      A box-bed closet ’tween the but an’ ben,
    A low peat fire, where bauldrins span her thrums,
      Wat dried his beets, an’ smoked, an’ read his lane.

    The horn-en’ fu’ o’ craggins, quaichs, an’ caups,
      Mulls, whorls, an’ cruisies left bare room to stir;
    Wi’ routh o’ swourds an’ dirks a’ nicks an’ slaps,
      An’ peer-men, used langsyne for haudin’ fir.

    He’d skulls in cases, lest the mouldy guff
      Should scunner frien’s, or gather muckle flees;
    He’d querns for grindin’ either meal or snuft,
      An’ flints an’ fleerishes to raise a bleeze,

    Rowed in a cloutie, to preserve the glint;
      He had a saxpence that had shot a witch,
    Sae stark, she hadna left her like ahint
      For killin’ kye or giein’ fouk the itch.

    He kent auld spells, could trail the rape an’ spae,
      He’d wallets fu’ o’ queer oonchancie leems,
    Could dress a mart, prob hoven nowt, an’ flay;
      Fell spavined horse, an’ deftly use the fleems.

    He lived till ninety, an’ this deein’ wiss
      He whispered, jist afore his spirit flew—
    "Gweed grant that even in the land o’ bliss
      I’ll get a bield whaur some things arena new."


    It’s but a fortnight since we laid him doon,
      An’ cut the sods to hap his narrow lair—
    On Sunday still the grass was dry an’ broon;
      An’ noo they’re up again the kist is bare,
    For Bell this day we e’en maun lay aboon,
      An’ face in fun’ral blacks the drift ance mair.

    Twa Fiersdays back she seem’d baith swak an’ strang,
      A’ day her clogs were clankin’ roon’ the closs;
    An’ tho’ an income she’d complained o’ lang
      It never kept her yet fae kirk or moss.
    Wha would hae thocht she’d be the next to gang
      That never grieved a grain at Jeames’s loss?

    It seem’d richt unco—faith, ’twas hardly fair,
      Just when he thocht to slip awa’ at last
    An’ drap for aye the trams o’ wardly care—
      The muckle gates aboon were barely fast
    Ere she was pechin’ up the gowden stair,
      An’ fleechin’ Peter till he let her past.

    When Jeames—I’se warrant ye, wi’ tremblin’ shins—
      Stands forrit, an’ they tak’ the muckle beuk
    To reckon up his shortcomes, slips, an’ sins,
      She’ll check the tally fae some canny neuk,
    An’ prod his memory when he begins
      Should there be ony he would fain o’erleuk.

    That Scuttrie Market when he was the waur—
      He thocht the better—o’ a drap o’ yill,
    An’ fell at Muggart’s door amo’ the glaur,
      Forgot the shaltie ower the hindmost gill,
    Syne stoitered aff alane, he kent nae whaur,
      An’ sleepit wi’ the sheep on Baadin’s hill.

    That Fast-day when he cawed an early load,
      When craps were late an’ weather byous saft,
    Instead o’ daund’rin to the Hoose o’ God
      An’ noddin’ thro’ "fourteenthly" in the laft;
    Or how he banned the Laird upon the road—
      His bawds an’ birds that connached sae the craft.

    Nae chance for him to discount or excuse
      The wee’est bit, wi’ her there keen to tell
    How a’ was true; but yet, gin he should choose
      To bid them look the credit side as well—
    Ae conter claim they canna weel refuse—
      The mony patient years he bore wi’ Bell.

                              *THE MILLER*

    When riven wicks o’ mou’s were rife,
      An’ bonnets clad the green,
    Aye in the thickest o’ the strife
      Auld Dusty Tam was seen.
    Nae Tarlan’ man daur flout his fame
      Had he a chance to hear;
    The Leochel men slid canny hame
      When he cam’ aff his mear.
    At Scuttrie or at Tumblin’ Fair
      Nane ordered in sae free,
    Or kent sae weel the way to share
      A mutchkin amo’ three.
    An’ when he took the road at nicht,
      His bonnet some ajee,
    Ye seldom saw a baulder wicht—
      Till Isie met his e’e.
    She waited whaur the muirlan’ track
      Strikes wi’ the hamewith turn;
    An’ ower him there her anger brak’
      Like some spate-ridden burn.

    The ouzel, startled, left the saugh
      An’ skimmed alang the lade,
    The kitty-neddies fae the haugh
      Gaed pipin’ ower her head.
    But still she flate till Tammas, now
      Dismounted on the loan,
    Ran to the mill an’ pu’d the tow
      That set the water on;
    Syne busy banged the girnal lids,
      An’ tossed the sacks about,
    Or steered again the bleezin’ sids,
      While aye she raved without.
    She bann’d the moulter an’ the mill,
      The intak, lade, and dam,
    The reekit dryster in the kil’,
      Syne back again to Tam.
    Till dark—the minister himsel’
      I’ll swear he couldna stap her—
    Her teethless mou’ was like a bell,
      Her tongue the clangin’ clapper.
    Neist mornin’ she laid doon the law—
      He’d gang nae mair to fairs;
    An’ sae he held the jaud in awe
      He kept it—till St. Sairs.

                         *THE MILLER EXPLAINS*

    The byword "as sweer as the Miller"
      Disturbs me but little, for hech!
    Ye’ll find for ane willin’ to bishop
      A score sittin’ ready to pech.
    But come to the brose or the bottle,
      There’s few need less priggin’ than me;
    While they’re busy blessin’ the bannock,
      I’m raxin’ a han’ to fa’ tee.
    The neighbours clash lood o’ my drinkin’,
      An’ naething hits harder than truth;
    But tales micht be tempered, I’m thinkin’,
      Gin fouk would consider my drooth.
    Nae doot, at the Widow’s displenish
      Gey aften I emptied the stoup;
    But thrift is a thing we should cherish,
      An’ whisky’s aye free at a roup.
    Week in an’ week oot, when I’m millin’,
      The sids seem to stick in my throat;
    Nae wonder at markets I’m willin’
      To spend wi’ a crony a groat.
    An’ if I’ve a shaltie to niffer,
      Or’t maybe some barley to sell,
    An oonslockened bargain’s aye stiffer—
      Ye ken that fu’ brawly yersel’.
    Fae forbears my thirst I inherit,
      As others get red hair or gout;
    The heirship’s expensive: mair merit
      To me that I never cry out.
    An’ sae, man, I canna help thinkin’
      The neighbours unkindly; in truth,
    Afore they can judge o’ my drinkin’
      They first maun consider my drooth.

                             *THE PACKMAN*

    There was a couthy Packman, I kent him weel aneuch,
    The simmer he was quartered within the Howe o’ Tough;
    He sleepit in the barn end amo’ the barley strae
    But lang afore the milkers he was up at skreek o’ day,
    An’ furth upon the cheese stane set his reekin’ brose to queel
    While in the caller strype he gied his barkit face a sweel;
    Syne wi’ the ell-wan’ in his neive to haud the tykes awa’
    He humpit roon’ the country side to clachan, craft an’ ha’.

    Upon the flaggit kitchen fleer he dumpit doon his pack,
    Fu’ keen to turn the penny ower, but itchin’ aye to crack;
    The ploomen gaithered fae the fur’, the millert fae the mill,
    The herd just gied his kye a turn an’ skirtit doon the hill,
    The smith cam’ sweatin’ fae the fire, the weaver left his leem,
    The lass forgot her comin’ kirn an’ connached a’ the ream,
    The cauper left his turnin’ lay, the sooter wasna slaw
    To fling his lapstane in the neuk, the elshin, birse an’ a’.

    The Packman spread his ferlies oot, an’ ilka maid an’ man
    Cam’ soon on something sairly nott, but never missed till than;
    He’d specs for peer auld granny when her sicht begood to fail,
    An’ thummles, needles, preens an’ tape for whip-the-cat to wale,
    He’d chanter reeds an’ fiddle strings, an’ trumps wi’ double
    A dream beuk ’at the weeda wife had hankered after lang,
    He’d worsit for the samplers, an’ the bonniest valentines,
    An’ brooches were in great request wi’ a’ kirk-gangin’ queyns.

    He’d sheafs o’ rare auld ballants, an’ an antrin swatch he sang
    Fae "Mill o’ Tiftie’s Annie," or o’ "Johnnie More the Lang,"
    He would lilt you "Hielan’ Hairry" till the tears ran doon his
    Syne dicht them wi’ a doonward sleeve an’ into "James the Rose";
    The birn that rowed his shou’ders tho’ sae panged wi’ things to
    Held little to the claik he kent, an’ wasna laith to tell,—
    A waucht o’ ale to slock his drooth, a pinch to clear his head,
    An’ the news cam’ fae the Packman like the water doon the lade.

    He kent wha got the bledder when the sooter killed his soo,
    An’ wha it was ’at threw the stane ’at crippled Geordie’s coo,
    He kent afore the term cam’ roon’ what flittin’s we would see,
    An’ wha’d be cried on Sunday neist, an’ wha would like to be,
    He kent wha kissed the sweetie wife the nicht o’ Dancie’s ball,
    An’ what ill-trickit nickum catched the troot in Betty’s wall,
    He was at the feein’ market, an’ he kent a’ wha were fou,
    An’ he never spoiled a story by consid’rin’ gin ’twas true.

    Nae plisky ever yet was played but he could place the blame,
    An’ tell you a’ the story o’t, wi’ chapter, verse an’ name,
    He’d redd you up your kith an’ kin atween the Dee an’ Don,
    Your forbears wha were hanged or jiled fae auld Culloden on,
    Altho he saw your face get red he wouldna haud his tongue,
    An’ only leuch when threatened wi’ a reemish fae a rung;
    But a’ the time the trade gaed on, an’ notes were rankit oot
    Had lang been hod in lockit kists aneth the Sunday suit.

    An’ faith the ablach threeve upon’t, he never cried a halt
    Until he bocht fae Shou’der-win’ a hardy cleekit shalt,
    An’ syne a spring-cairt at the roup when cadger Willie broke,
    That held aneth the cannas a’ that he could sell or troke;
    He bocht your eggs an’ butter, an’ awat he wasna sweer
    To lift the poacher’s birds an’ bawds when keepers werna near;
    Twa sizzens wi’ the cairt an’ then—his boolie rowed sae fine—
    He took a roadside shoppie an’ put "Merchant" on the sign.

    An’ still he threeve an’ better threeve, sae fast his trade it
    That he thirled a cripple tailor an’ took in a queyn to shue,
    An’ when he got a stoot guidwife he didna get her bare,
    She brocht him siller o’ her ain ’at made his puckle mair,
    An’ he lent it oot sae wisely—deil kens at what per cent—
    That farmers fan’ the int’rest near as ill to pay’s the rent;
    An’ when the bank set up a branch, the wily boddies saw
    They beet to mak’ him Agent to hae ony chance ava’

    Tho’ noo he wore a grauvit an’ a dicky thro’ the week
    There never was a bargain gaun ’at he was far to seek,
    He bocht the crafter’s stirks an’ caur, an’ when the girse was
    He aye took on a park or twa, an’ never rued it yet;
    Till when a handy tack ran oot his offer was the best
    An’ he dreeve his gig to kirk an’ fair as canty as the rest,
    An’ when they made him Elder, wi’ the ladle it was gran’
    To see him work the waster laft an’ never miss a man.

    He sent his sons to college, an’ the auldest o’ the three—
    Tho’ wi’ a tyauve—got Greek aneuch to warsle thro’s degree,
    An’ noo aneth the soundin’ box he wags a godly pow;
    The second loon took up the law, an’ better fit there’s fyou
    At chargin’ sax an’ auchtpence, or at keepin’ on a plea,
    An’ stirrin’ strife ’mang decent fouk wha left alane would
    The youngest ane ’s a doctor wi’ a practice in the sooth,
    A clever couthy cowshus chiel some hampered wi’ a drooth.

    The dother—he had only ane—gaed hine awa’ to France
    To learn to sing an’ thoom the harp, to parley-voo an’ dance;
    It cost a protty penny but ’twas siller wisely wared
    For the lass made oot to marry on a strappin’ Deeside laird;
    She wasna just a beauty, but he didna swither lang,
    For he had to get her tocher or his timmer had to gang:
    Sae noo she sits "My Lady" an’ nae langer than the streen
    I saw her wi’ her carriage comin’ postin’ ower Culblean.

    But tho’ his bairns are sattled noo, he still can cast the coat
    An’ work as hard as ever to mak’ saxpence o’ a groat;
    He plans as keen for years to come as when he first began,
    Forgettin’ he’s on borrowed days an’ past the Bible span.
    See, yon’s his hoose, an’ there he sits; supposin’ cry in,
    It’s cheaper drinkin’ toddy there than payin’ at the Inn,
    You’ll find we’ll hae a shortsome nicht an’ baith be bidden
    But—in your lug—ye maunna say a word aboot the Pack.

                            *THE LETTERGAE*

    Sundays see his saintly look—
      What grace he maun be feelin’,
    When stridin’ slawly ben the pass,
      Or to the lettrin speelin’!
    What unction in his varied tones,
      As aff the line he screeds us,
    Syne bites the fork, an’ bums the note,
      Ere to the tune he leads us!
    Plain paraphrase, or quirky hymn,
      Come a’ the same to Peter,
    He has a tune for ilka psalm
      Nae matter what the metre.
    "St. Paul’s" or "University"
      Wi’ equal ease is lifted;
    At "Martyrdom" he fair excels—
      Eh! keep’s sirs, but he’s gifted!

    But see him now, some workin’ day
      When aproned in his smiddy,
    An’ mark the thuds ’at shape the shoon,
      An’ dint the very studdy;
    Or when he cocks his elbuck up
      To work the muckle bellows,
    An’ tells the clachan’s latest joke
      To loud-lunged farmer fellows;
    Or hear him in the forenicht lilt,
      Wi’ sober face nae langer,
    Some sang, nae fae a Sunday book;
      A tune that isna "Bangor":
    To recognize him then, I’ll wad,
      A stranger it would baffle;
    On Sabbath he’s the Lettergae,
      The Smith at roup or raffle.

                            *MARGARET DODS*

                       LATE VINTER IN ST. RONAN’s

    Nae mair the sign aboon the door
      Wi’ passin’ winds is flappin’;
    Fish Nellie comes nae as afore
      Wi’ nervous chappin’.
    The Captain ’s followed Francie Tyrell—
      Mind ance he gaed to seek him,
    An’ felt your besom shaft play dirl
      Doon-by at Cleikum.
    Wi’ thrift as great as made you build
      To save the window taxin’,
    Death closed your e’en when greedy Eild
      Cam’ schedule raxin’.

    How gladly would we lea’ the Clubs,
      "Wildfire" or "Helter Skelter,"
    Dicht fae our feet a’ earthly dubs,
      Had ye a shelter
    Whaur trauchled chiels—"an’ what for no?"
      Gin sae it pleased the gods—
    Could rest an’ fish a week or so
      At Marget Dods’.
    ’Twould hearten strangers gin they saw
      Across some caller loanin’
    A wavin’ sign whaur crook an’ a’
      Hung auld St. Ronan.

    Then haudin’ hard to new-won grace,
      Rejectin’ aucht ’at’s evil,
    Ye wouldna thole in sic a place
      Dick Tinto’s Deevil,
    But send him sornin’ doon the howe
      To some tamteen or hottle,
    Whaur birselt vratches fain, I trow,
      Wad dreep a bottle.
    An’ since you’re bye wi’ anger noo,
      Send wi’ him something caller—
    As muckle’s slock the gizzened mou’
      O’ ae damned "Waller."

                      *THE BACK O’ BEYONT IS DRY*

    Fae the Back o’ Beyont the carlie cam’,
      He fittit it a’ the wye;
    The hooses were few, an’ the road was lang,
      Nae winner the man was dry—
    He was covered wi’ stoor fae head to heel,
      He’d a drooth ’at ye couldna buy,
    But aye he sang as he leggit alang
      "The Back o’ Beyont is dry."

    He’d a score o’ heather-fed wethers to sell,
      An’ twa or three scrunts o’ kye,
    An unbroken cowt to niffer or coup,
      A peck o’ neep seed to buy;
    But never a price would the crater mak’,
      The dealers got "No" nor "Ay,"
    Till they tittit the tow, he’d dae naething but sough
      "The Back o’ Beyont is dry."

    I’ the year o’ short corn he dee’d o’ drooth,
      But they waked him weel upbye,
    ’Twas a drink or a dram to the cronies that cam’,
      Or baith an they cared to try.
    When the wag-at-the-wa’ had the wee han’ at twa
      Ye shoulda jist heard the cry,
    As the corp in the bed gied a warsle an’ said
      "The Back o’ Beyont is dry."

    Fae Foggyloan to the Brig o’ Potarch,
      An’ sooth by the Glen o’ Dye,
    Fae the Buck o’ the Cabrach thro’ Midmar,
      Whaurever your tryst may lie;
    At ilka toll on the weary road
      There’s a piece an’ a dram forbye,
    Gin ye show them your groat, an’ say laich i’ your throat
      "The Back o’ Beyont is dry."

    "The Back o’ Beyont is dry,
    The Back o’ Beyont is dry,
    To slacken a drooth can never be wrang,
    Sae help yoursel’ an’ pass it alang,
    The Back o’ Beyont is dry"

                             *A GREEN YULE*

    I’m weary, weary houkin’, in the cauld, weet, clorty clay,
      But this will be the deepest in the yaird;
    It’s nae a four fit dibble for a common man the day—
      Ilk bane I’m layin’ by is o’ a laird.
    Whaever slips the timmers, lippens me to mak’ his bed,
      For lairds maun just be happit like the lave;
    An’ kistit corps are lucky, for when a’thing’s deen an’ said,
      There’s lythe, save for the livin’, in a grave.

    Up on the watch-tower riggin’ there’s a draggled hoodie craw
      That hasna missed a funeral the year;
    He kens as weel’s anither this will fairly ding them a’,
      Nae tenant on the land but will be here.
    Sae up an’ doon the tablin’ wi’ a gloatin’ roupy hoast,
      He haps, wi’ twistit neck an’ greedy e’e,
    As if some deil rejoicin’ that anither sowl was lost
      An’ waitin’ for his share o’ the dregie.

    There’s sorrow in the mansion, an’ the Lady that tak’s on
      Is young to hae sae muckle on her ban’,
    Wi’ the haugh lands to excamb where the marches cross the Don,
      An’ factors aye hame-drauchted when they can.
    Come spring, we’ll a’ be readin’, when the kirk is latten oot,
      "Displenish" tackit up upon the yett;
    For hame-fairm, cairts an’ cattle, will be roupit up, I doot,
      The policies a’ pailined aff an’ set.

    Twa lairds afore I’ve happit, an’ this noo will mak’ the third,
      An’ tho’ they spak’ o’ him as bein’ auld,
    It seerly seemed unlikely I would see him in the yird,
      For lang ere he was beardit I was bald.
    It’s three year by the saxty, come the week o’ Hallow Fair,
      Since first I laid a divot on a grave;
    The Hairst o’ the Almighty I hae gathered late an’ ear’,
      An’ coont the sheaves I’ve stookit, by the thrave.

    I hae kent grief at Marti’mas would neither haud nor bin’—
      It was sair for even unco folk to see;
    Yet ere the muir was yellow wi’ the blossom on the whin,
      The tears were dry, the headstane a’ ajee.
    Nae bairns, nae wife, will sorrow, when at last I’m laid awa’,
      Nae oes will plant their daisies at my head;
    A’ gane, but I will follow soon, an’ weel content for a’
      There’s nane but fremt to lay me in my bed.

    Earth to earth, an’ dust to dust, an’ the sowl gangs back to
      An’ few there be wha think their day is lang;
    Yet here I’m weary waitin’, till the Master gies the nod,
      To tak’ the gait I’ve seen sae mony gang.
    I fear whiles He’s forgotten on his eildit gard’ner here,
      But ae day He’ll remember me, an’ then
    My birn o’ sins afore Him I’ll spread on the Judgment fleer,
      Syne wait until the angel says "Come ben."

    There noo, the ill bird’s flaffin’ on the very riggin’ stane,
      He sees them, an’ could tell ye, did ye speer,
    The order they will come in, ay, an’ name them ilka ane,
      An’ lang afore the funeral is here.
    The feathers will be noddin’ as the hearse crawls past the Toll,
      As soon’s they tap the knowe they’ll be in sicht;
    The driver on the dickey knappin’ sadly on his mull,
      Syne raxin’ doon to pass it to the vricht.

    The factor in the carriage will be next, an’ ridin’ close
      The doctor, ruggin’ hard upon his grey;
    The farmers syne, an’ feuars speakin’ laich aboot their loss,
      Yet thankfu’ for the dram on sic a day.
    Ay, there at last they’re comin’, I maun haste an’ lowse the tow
      An’ ring the lang procession doon the brae;
    I’ve heard the bell sae aften, I ken weel its weary jow,
      The tale o’ weird it tries sae hard to say.

    _Bring them alang, the young, the strong,_
      _The weary an’ the auld;_
    _Feed as they will on haugh or hill,_
      _This is the only fauld._

    _Dibble them doon, the laird, the loon_
      _King an’ the cadgin’ caird,_
    _The lady fine beside the queyn,_
      _A’ in the same kirkyaird._

    _The warst, the best, they a’ get rest;_
        _Ane ’neath a headstane braw,_
    _Wi’ deep-cut text; while ower the next_
      * The wavin’ grass is a’.*

    _Mighty o’ name, unknown to fame_
      _Slipptt aneth the sod;_
    _Greatest an’ least alike face_
      _Waitin’ the trump o’ God._


    There’s a wee, wee glen in the Hielan’s,
      Where I fain, fain would be;
    There’s an auld kirk there on the hillside
      I weary sair to see.
    In a low lythe nook in the graveyard
      Drearily stands alane,
    Marking the last lair of a’ I lo’ed,
      A wee moss-covered stane.

    There’s an auld hoose sits in a hollow
      Half happit by a tree;
    At the door the untended lilac
      Still blossoms for the bee;
    But the auld roof is sairly seggit,
      There’s nane now left to care;
    And the thatch ance sae neatly stobbit
      Has lang been scant and bare.

    Aft as I lie ’neath a foreign sky
      In dreams I see them a’—
    The auld dear kirk, the dear auld hame,
      The glen sae far awa’.
    Dreams flee at dawn, and the tropic sun
      Nae ray o’ hope can gie;
    I wander on o’er the desert lone,
      There’s nae mair hame for me.

                     *SPRING IN THE HOWE O’ ALFORD*

    There’s burstin’ buds on the larick now
      A’ the birds are paired an’ biggin’;
    Saft soughin’ win’s dry the dubby howe,
      An’ the eildit puir are thiggin’.

    The whip-the-cat ’s aff fae hoose to hoose,
      Wi’ his oxtered lap-buird lampin’,
    An’ hard ahint, wi’ the shears an’ goose,
      His wee, pechin’ ’prentice trampin’.

    The laird’s approach gets a coat o’ san’,
      When the grieve can spare a yokin’;
    On the market stance there’s a tinker clan,
      An’ the guidwife’s hens are clockin’.

    The mason’s harp is set up on en’,
      He’s harlin’ the fire-hoose gable;
    The sheep are aff to the hills again
      As hard as the lambs are able.

    There’s spots o’ white on the lang brown park,
      Where the sacks o’ seed are sittin’;
    An’ wily craws fae the dawn to dark
      At the harrow tail are flittin’.

    The liftward lark lea’s the dewy seggs,
      In the hedge the yeldrin ’s singin’;
    The teuchat cries for her harried eggs,
      In the bothy window hingin’.

    Nae snaw-bree now in the Leochel Burn,
      Nae a water baillie goupin’—
    But hear the whirr o’ the miller’s pirn,
      The plash where the trouts are loupin’.

                          *THE HINT O’ HAIRST*

    O for a day at the Hint o’ Hairst,
      With the craps weel in an’ stackit,
    When the farmer steps thro’ the corn-yard,
      An’ counts a’ the rucks he’s thackit:

    When the smith stirs up his fire again,
      To sharpen the ploughman’s coulter;
    When the miller sets a new picked stane,
      An’ dreams o’ a muckle moulter:

    When cottars’ kail get a touch o’ frost,
      That male’s them but taste the better;
    An’ thro’ the neeps strides the leggined laird,
      Wi’ ’s gun an’ a draggled setter:

    When the forester wi’ axe an’ keel
      Is markin’ the wind-blawn timmer,
    An’ there ’s truffs aneuch at the barn gale
      To reist a’ the fires till simmer.

    Syne O for a nicht, ae lang forenicht,
      Ower the dambrod spent or cairtin’,
    Or keepin’ tryst wi’ a neebour’s lass—-
      An’ a mou’ held up at pairtin’.


    Now Winter rides wi’ angry skirl
    On sleety winds that rive an’ whirl,
    An’ gaberlunzie-like plays tirl
      At sneck an’ lozen.
    The bairns can barely bide the dirl
      O’ feet gane dozin.

    The ingle’s heaped wi’ bleezin’ peats
    An’ bits o’ splutt’rin’ firry reets
    Which shortly thow the ploughmen’s beets;
      An’ peels appear
    That trickle oot aneth their seats
      A’ ower the fleer.

    The auld wife’s eident wheel gaes birr,
    The thrifty lasses shank wi’ virr;
    Till stents are finished nane will stir
      Lest Yule should come,
    When chiels fae wires the wark mith tirr
      To sweep the lum.

    The shepherd newly fae the hill
    Sits thinkin’ on his wethers still;
    He kens this frost is sure to kill
      A’ dwinin’ sheep:
    His collie, tired, curls in its tail
      An’ fa’s asleep.

    Now Granny strips the bairns for bed:
    Ower soon the extra quarter fled
    For which sae sairly they had pled:
      But there, it chappit;
    An’ sleepy "gweed words" soon are said,
      An’ cauld backs happit.

    The milkers tak’ their cogues at last,
    Draw moggins on, tie mutches fast,
    Syne hap their lantrens fae the blast
      Maun noo be met;
    An’ soon the day’s last jot is past,
      Milk sey’d an’ set.

    Syne Sandy, gantin’, raxes doon
    His fiddle fae the skelf aboon,
    Throws by the bag, an’ souffs a tune,
      Screws up a string,
    Tries antics on the shift, but soon
      Starts some auld spring.

    Swith to the fleer ilk eager chiel
    Bangs wi’ his lass to start the reel,
    Cries "Kissin’ time"; the coy teds squeal,
      An’ struggle vainly:
    The sappier smacks whiles love reveal,
      But practice mainly.

    An opening chord wi’ lang upbow
    The fiddler strikes, syne gently now
    Glides into some Strathspey by Gow,
      Or Marshall’t may be;
    The dancers lichtly needle thro’;
      Rab sets to Leebie.

    Wi’ crackin’ thooms "Hooch! Hooch!" they reel.
    The winceys, spreadin’ as they wheel,
    Gie stolen glints o’ souple heel
      An’ shapely queet.
    The guidman claps his hands, sae weel
      He’s pleased to see’t.

    The wrinkles leave the shepherd’s broo,
    For see the sonsy mistress too
    Shows what the aulder fouks can do,
      An’, licht’s a bird,
    Some sober country dance trips thro’
      Wi’ Jock the herd.

    Syne lads wha noo can dance nae mair
    To cauldrife chaumers laith repair;
    An’ lasses, lauchin’, speel the stair,
      Happy an’ warm.
    For liftin’ hearts an’ killin’ care
      Music’s the charm!

    _When frost is keen an’ winter bauld,_
    _An’ deep the drift on muir an’ fauld;_
    _When mornin’s dark an’ snell an’ cauld_
      _Bite to the bane;_
    _We turn in thocht, as to a hauld,_
      _To some sic e’en._

                               *R. L. S.*

    He hears nae mair the Sabbath bells
    Borne on the breeze amang Lowden’s dells,
    Nor waukens when the bugle tells
      The dawn o’ day.

    Fate was the flute the Ganger played,
    Cheerin’ him on wi’ its hopes ahead;
    Now "O’er the hills" the master’s laid
      "An’ far away."

    Tho’ frail the bark, O he was brave,
    Nor heedit the stormy winds that drave;
    But lanely now the sailor’s grave
      Across the faem.

    The deer unhunted roam at will,
    The whaup cries sair on the dreary hill,
    The chase is o’er, the horn is still:
      The hunter’s hame.

                           *BURNS’ CENTENARY*

"I’ll be more respected a hundred years after I am dead than I am at
present."—R. B., 1796.

    "My fame is sure; when I am dead
    A century," the Poet said,
    "They’ll heap the honours on my head
      They grudge me noo";
    To-day the hundred years hae sped
      That prove it true.

    Whiles as the feathered ages flee,
    Time sets the sand-glass on his knee,
    An’ ilka name baith great an’ wee
      Shak’s thro’ his sieve;
    Syne sadly wags his pow to see
      The few that live.

    An’ still the quickest o’ the lot
    Is his wha made the lowly cot
    A shrine, whaur ilka rev’rent Scot
      Bareheadit turns.
    Our mither’s psalms may be forgot,
      But never Burns.

    This nicht, auld Scotland, dry your tears,
    An’ let nae sough o’ grief come near’s;
    We’ll speak o’ Rab’s gin he could hear’s;
      Life’s but a fivver,
    And he’s been healed this hundred years
      To live for ever.


    _I saw a truant schoolboy chalk his name_
      _Upon the Temple door; then with a shout_
    _Run off; that night a weary beggar came,_
      _Leant there his ragged back and rubbed it out._

    Dry-lipped she stands an’ casts her glance afar,
      Ae hand across her brows to shield her een,
    Her horn flung careless on the tapmost scaur,
      Where names deep chiselled in the rocks are seen.
    An’ far below, on ilka ridge an’ knowe,
      A warslin’ thrang o’ mortals still she spies,
    Wha strive an’ fecht an’ spurn the grassy howe—
      Thro’ whins an’ heather ettlin’ aye to rise.
    Ane whiles she sees, wha, perched upon a stane,
      Proclaims that he at least the goal has won,
    But shortly finds he ’s shiverin’ there his lane
      Wi’ scores aboon, between him an’ the sun.
    Another, sair forfochen wi’ the braes,
      Enjoys the view while he has strength to see;
    "Weel ’s better aye than waur," content, he says,
      "Thus far is far an’ far aneuch for me."
    Some wise, or lazy, never quit the glen,
      But stretched at easedom watch the hill aboon,
    Glad whiles to see ane gettin’ up they ken,
      But aft’ner pleased to see him rumblin’ doon.
    Ane, better shod or stronger than the lave,
      Gets near aneuch to grip her skirts at last;
    She lifts her horn an’ o’er a new-made grave
      Awakes the echoes wi’ a fun’ral blast.

                            *THE AE REWARD*

    Gae wauken up the Muses nine;
      Tho’ we’ve nae plaited bays
    Aroon’ their curly pows to twine,
      We winna stent them praise.
    Gin music tak’ her chanter doon,
      Her sister start a sang,
    The other saeven join the tune
      An’ lift it lood an’ lang.

    First set the tune to suit the time
      When we were loons at school,
    The sang can be a careless rhyme
      Nae measured aff by rule.
    We stole our pleasures then, prepared
      Wi’ hands held out to pay;
    Were aulder sins as easy squared,
      Oor slates were clean the day.

    Syne twa three bars in safter key
      For days o’ youthfu’ love,
    When lasses a’ to you an’ me
      Were angels fae above.
    Lang-leggit Time, but he was fleet
      When we’d a lass the piece,
    When bondage aye o’er a’ was sweet,
      An’ freedom nae release.

    Noo stamp an’ blaw a skirl o’ war—
      The times that noo we hae,
    An’ gin the need be near or far
      We’re ready for the day.
    The tykes are roon’ the lion’s lair,
      We’ve seen the like before,
    An’ seldom hae they wanted mair
      When ance they heard him roar.

    Syne choke the drones—ae reed’s enew
      To play the days to come,
    When auld Age stachers into view
      An’ adds up a’ the sum.
    We’ve loved an’ focht an’ sell’t an’ bocht
      Until we’re short o’ breath;
    The auld kirkyard the ae reward,
      An’ that we get fae Death.

                              *"MY LORD"*

    Nakit tho’ we’re born an’ equal,
      Lucky anes are made Police;
    An’ if civil life’s the sequel,
      Honours but wi’ age increase,
    Till a Baillie, syne selected
      Ruler ower the Council Board,
    An’ tho’ never re-elected,
      "Ance a Provost, aye ’My Lord.’"

    Credit’s got by advertisin’
      Ye hae siller still to lend;
    Get the word o’ early risin’,
      Ye can sleep a week on end.
    Gie a man a name for fightin’—
      Never need he wear a sword;
    Men will flee afore his flytin’—
      "Ance a Provost, aye ’My Lord.’"

    But for mischief name a body,
      He can never win aboon ’t,
    Folk wad swear he chate the wuddy
      In the lint-pot gin he droon’t;
    For unless ye start wi’ thrivin’,
      A’ your virtues are ignored,
    Vain a’ future toil an’ strivin’—
      "Ance a Provost, aye ’My Lord.’"

                           *IN THE GLOAMIN’*

    Why sinks the sun sae slowly doon
      Behind the Hill o’ Fare?
    What restless cantrip’s ta’en the moon?—
      She’s up an hour an’ mair.
    I doubt they’re in a plot the twa
      To cheat me o’ the gloamin’;
    Yestreen they saw me slip awa’,
      An’ ken where I gang roamin’.

    The trees bent low their list’nin’ heads
      A’ round the Loch o’ Skene;
    The saft winds whispered ’mang the reeds
      As we gaed by yestreen.
    The bee, brushed fae the heather bell,
      Hummed loudly at our roamin’,
    Syne hurried hame in haste to tell
      The way we spent the gloamin’.

    The mavis told his mate to hush
      An’ hearken fae the tree;
    The robin keekit fae a bush
      Fu’ pawkily an’ slee.
    An’ now they sing o’ what they saw
      Whenever we gang roamin’;
    They pipe the very words an’ a’
      We whispered in the gloamin’.

    The wintry winds may tirr the trees,
      Clouds hide baith sun an’ moon,
    An early frost the loch may freeze,
      An’ still the birdies’ tune.
    The bee a harried bike may mourn,
      An’ mirk o’ertak’ the gloamin’,
    But aye to thee my thochts will turn,
      Wherever I gang roamin’.

                         *THE MAID O’ THE MILL*

    The cushie doos are cooin’ in the birk,
      The pee-weets are cryin’ on the lea,
    The starlings in the belfry o’ the kirk
      Are layin’ plans as merry as can be.
    The mavis in the plantin’ has a mate,
      The blackbird is busy wi’ his nest,
    Then why until the summer should we wait
      When spring could see us happy as the rest?

    There’s leaves upon the bourtree on the haugh,
      The blossom is drappin’ fae the gean,
    There’s buds upon the rantree an’ the saugh,
      The ferns about the Lady’s Well are green.
    A’ day the herd is liltin’ on the hill,
      The o’ercome o’ ilka sang ’s the same:
    "There are ower mony maidens at the Mill,
      It’s time the ane I trysted wi’ cam’ hame!"

                     *THE WITCH O’ THE GOLDEN HAIR*

    Auld carlins ride on their brooms astride
      Awa’ thro’ the midnight air,
    But they cast nae spell on a man sae fell
      As the Witch o’ the Golden Hair.

    Nae a fairy free ’neath the hazel tree
      That dances upon the green
    Ever kent a charm that could heal or harm
      Like the glint o’ her twa blue een.

    Fae the earth she’s reived, fae the Heav’n she’s thieved,
      For her cauldron’s deadly brew;
    She laughs at the stounds o’ the hearts she wounds,
      For what recks the Witch o’ rue?

    Lang, lang may the vine in its envy twine
      To compass a bower sae rare,
    As will peer, I trow, wi’ her broad low brow
      An’ her wavin’ golden hair.

    The bloom fae the peach that we ne’er could reach
      The red that the apple missed,
    You’ll find if you seek on the Witch’s cheek,
      Left there when the summer kissed.

    The blue drappit doon fae the lift aboon
      To shine in her dancin’ een;
    An’ the honey-bee sips fae her red, red lips,
      Syne brags o’ the sweets between.

    Wi’ a magic wile she has won the smile
      That the mornin’ used to wear,
    An’ the gold the sun in his splendour spun
      Lies tangled amang her hair.

    The saft south wind cam’ to her to find
      A haven to sink an’ die,
    An’ the breath o’ myrrh it bequeathed to her
      You’ll find in the Witch’s sigh.

    The dimples three that you still can see
      Are a’ she can claim her ain,
    For in Nature fair naught can compare
      With them; they are hers alane.


    For arles he gae me a kiss,
      An’ twa ilka day was my fee;
    A bargain nae surely amiss,
      If paid where naebody could see.

    But scarce was the compact complete
      Ere I would hae broken’t again,
    The arles he gae were sae sweet,
      For mair o’ them, Sirs, I was fain.

    It’s braw wi’ the tweezlock to twine
      Lang rapes in the barn sae lythe,
    Yet better by far when it’s fine,
      An’ I gaither after his scythe.

    O busy’s the banster at e’en
      Till bedtime he sits an’ he glooms,
    An’ aye he cries "Lassie, a preen"
      An’ worries the stobs in his thooms.

    The laddie is tired wi’ the rake,
      Sleep soon puts a steek in his e’e,
    An’ I slip awa’ to the break
      An’ cannily gather my fee.

                         *WHERE LOVE WAS NANE*

    At farmers’ faugh lairds still may laugh,
      An’ the tinker sing as he clouts the pan;
    But what will cheer my bairnie dear
      When he kens his father’s a witless man?

    Bought by a ring, puir silly thing,
      An’ bent by the wind o’ my kinsfolk’s breath,
    Wha would gang braw, if that were ’t a’?—
      O! a loveless life it is waur than death!

    Will land or hoose seem good excuse
      For a mither married where love was nane?
    It’s hard for me, this weird to dree,
      But it’s waur that I canna bear’t my lane.

    My puir wee bairn, ye’ll live to learn
      How heavy the burden ye hae to bear.
    What’s gold or name when born to shame,
      An’ o’ sic a twasome to be the heir?

                      *THE DEIL AN’ THE DEEVILOCK*

    The muckle Deil lay at the mirk pit mou’,
      An’ hard at his heel lay a Deevilock;
    While the brimstane reek wi’ an upward spew
      Swirled roon’ baith the Deil an’ the Deevilock
    As their tails like flails were fannin’ the air,
    Said the big ane then to the wee ane there:
    "In colour an’ scouk we are sib as sins,
    Wi’ a half ell mair we would pass for twins."
      ("A wee toad spits," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "Since the warl’ was made"—’twas the auld Deil spak’—
      ("That’s a far cry noo," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "I hae wandered far but I’ve aye come back."
      ("To a het hame too," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "Since first I set oot wi’ a teem new creel,
    Haena mortals changed an’ their ways as weel!
    For then I was thin an’ had wark enew,
    Noo I’m fat as creesh, an’ the furnace fu’."
      ("Improve the draught," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "Then aften I swore at the cloven hoof,"
      ("It’s gey ill to shee," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "An’ the horns an’ tail scared mony a coof."
      ("Faith they hamper me," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "Gin’ I taul’ ye noo ye would scarce believe
    The bother I had wi’ that besom Eve;
    But forbid her noo, ye would find, I ween,
    She would eat the crap while it yet was green."
      ("Syne lift the tree," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "In the early days I would aften fail,"
      ("Syne sae lood God leuch," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "To wile them awa’ to my henchman Baal."
      ("Wasna auld Job teuch?" quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "The brawest an’ best o’ my weel waled flock
    Struggled lang an’ sair wi’ a reeshlin’ pock;
    I nickit him tho’, at the hinder-end,
    Wi’ the thirty croons that he couldna spend.
      ("He’d lots o’ heirs," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "But willin’ an’ keen they come half roads noo,"
      ("Saul! in fair big croods," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "An’ the backward anes are baith far an’ few."
      ("Curse your platitudes," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "They crack roon’ the fire, an’ are nae mair blate
    Than a bonnet laird wi’ a new estate;
    Their hands playin’ smack on their birslin’ shins
    As they lauch an’ brag o’ their former sins."
      ("Hame ’s aye hame-like," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "An’ you, ye’re the warst o’ my horny crew";
      ("I’m sorry I spak’," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "Nae an’ antrin jot leavin’ me to do."
      ("An’ I aye blush black," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "For a hungry chiel ye’ve an open gate,
    Help the elder pooch fae his ain kirk plate;
    Nae a leein’ man nor a faithless dame
    But is coontin’ kin, when they hear your name."
      ("I’m ’Canny-chance,’" quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "Wi’ the ministers ye are mair than thrang,"
      ("Took a Sunday twice," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "Aye giein’ them texts to support a wrang."
      ("Guid halesome advice," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "When in Auchterless ye suggest the prayer—
    ’Show my duty, Lord, lies in Auchtermair’;
    An’ when stipens shrink wi’ the fa’ in fiars,
    Siccan sizzons ban as ye mix your tears."
      ("We’re a’ ae claith," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "Ye hae even dealt amo’ stocks an’ shares,"
      ("Selled some to arrive," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "An’ made likely men into millionaires."
      ("Hoot, our bairns maun thrive," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "Ye startit a war, an’ to raise a loan
    Showed a spen’thrift king how to wadset ’s throne;
    An’ raikit them in fae the bench an’ cell,
    Till the Fact’ry Act is in bits in Hell."
      ("Nae half-time there," quo’ the Deevilock.)

    "Nae a pleasant thing hae ye left aneth,"
      ("There ’s the company," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "An’ a weary Deil canna look for death."
      ("Here ’s lang life to me," quo’ the Deevilock.)
    "It’s Hell to hae naething to do but sit
    An’ curse at the creak o’ the birlin’ spit;
    I’m red, red wi’ rust, save the jinglin’ keys,
    I’d swap wi’ a god wha is fond o’ ease."
      ("Ha! ha!—ha! ha!" quo’ the Deevilock.)

                              *A BACKCAST*

    How lanely the nichts by the auld ingle cheek,
      _Ohone, but a mither is nae like a wife,_
    Regret on the creepie sits watchin’ the reek,
      _An’ whaur are the dainties to comfort my life?_

    The backcast is dreary o’er years that are spent,
      _The rowan is withered, an’ leafless the gean,_
    They’re gane noo for ever, but, eh! had I kent,
      _Grim winter is reignin’ where summer was queen_

    I dammed for the lade that had never a wheel,
      _The chickens were bonnie but noo they’re awa’,_
    The castles I biggit gie other folk biel’.
      _O wae tak’ the gled that gaed aff wi’ them a’._

    A lassie proved fickle, unfaithfu’ a frien’,
      _Tho’ soorocks an’ tansies grow green in the ha’,_
    An’ a mither is a’ I hae left o’ my ain,
      _The ivy sae kindly aye covers the wa’._

                              *THE LAWIN’*

    The way o’ transgressors is hard;
      There cometh a day
    The Wicked will get their reward,
      The Devil his pay.

    Cauld Death is the wages o’ Sin:
      Stents finished, we rue:
    The thread, tho’ sae pleasant to spin,
      Has connached the woo’.

    As soon as we’ve emptied the caup
      The lawin’s to clear;
    Tho’ thistles be only the crap
      The sawer maun shear.

    Sae let us consider it weel
      Ere joinin’ the fling,
    The dancer when tired o’ the reel
      Maun pay for the spring.

    _Then coont on the Lawin’, the Lawin’, the Lawin’,_
      _Keep mind o’ the Lawin’, forget na the score;_
    _We pay what we’re awin’, we’re awin’, we’re awin’,_
      _We pay a’ we’re awin’ when Death’s at the door._

                              *THE GYPSY*

    O wasna he bauld for a tinker loon,—
      Sim leant on his rake an’ swore—
    To fling a’ his wallets an’ bawd-skins doon,
      An’ rap at the castle door.

    Wi’ my Lord awa’ at the Corbie’s linn
      There was man nor dog at hame,
    Save a toothless bitch ’at was auld an’ blin’,
      An’ the gard’ner auld an’ lame.

    When my Lady heard she cam’ doon the stair,
      An’ ben thro’ the antlered ha’,
    Whaur, bonnet in hand, stood the gypsy there
      As raggit as she was braw.

    "O I hinna kettles to clout," she said,
      "An’ my spoons an’ stoups are hale,
    But gin ye gang roon’ to the kitchen maid
      She’ll gie ye a waucht o’ ale."

    "It’s never the way o’ the gentry, na,
      When visitin’ ’mang their frien’s,
    To drink wi’ the maids in the servants’ ha’
      Or speak about stoups an’ speens.

    "An’ we are mair sib than ye think," quo’ he,
      "For his Lordship’s father’s mine;
    Tho’ the second wife was o’ high degree,
      His first was a gypsy queyn.

    "An’ the younger son got the lands an’ a’,
      But the gypsies bettered me;
    He is only laird o’ a fairm or twa,
      I’m king o’ the covin-tree.

    "Sae I am guid-brither to you, my lass,
      An’ head o’ the auncient name;
    An’ it wouldna be richt for me to pass
      Withoot cryin’ in by hame."

    O a hantle then did the twasome say,
      An’ muckle passed them between;
    But at last ’twas "Sister, a fair good day,"
      "Guid-brither, a fair good e’en."

    _"My Lord comes hame fae the hunttn’ soon,_
      _An’ he’s big, weel-faured, an’ braw,_
    _But he isna a man like the tinker loon,_
      _Wi’ wallets an’ rags an’ a’."_

    _"Gin she were as free as the maids I ken,_
      _Dancin’ bar’fit on the green;_
    _As I am the King o’ the gypsy men,_
      _This nicht she would be my Queen."_

    _But the bluid ran thin in the gard’ner Sim,_
      _He’d heard o’ the cairds afore,_
    _An’ the auld romance had nae charms for him,_
      _He lockit the hen-hoose door._


    There’s a yellow thread in the Gordon plaid,
      But it binds na my love an’ me;
    And the ivy leaf has brought dool and grief
      Where there never but love should be.

    For my lad would ’list: when a Duchess kiss’t
      He forgot a’ the vows he made;
    And he turned and took but ae lang, last look,
      When the "Cock o’ the North" was played.

    O, her een were bright, an’ her teeth were white
      As the silver they held between;
    But the lips he pree’d, were they half as sweet
      As he vow’d ’at mine were yestreen?

    A poor country lass, ’mang the dewy grass,
      May hae whiles to kilt up her goon;
    But a lady hie sae to show her knee,
      And to dance in a boro’ toon!

    Gin I were the Duke, I could nae mair look
      Wi’ love on my high-born dame;
    At a kilt or plaid I would hang my head,
      And think aye on my lady’s shame.

    By my leefu’ lane I sit morn an’ e’en,
      Prayin’ aye for him back to me;
    For now he’s awa’ I forgie him a’
      Save the kiss he was ’listed wi’.

                          *THE OUTLAW’S LASS*

    _Duncan’s lyin’ on the cauld hillside,_
      _Donal’s swingin’ on the hangman’s yew:_
    _Black be the fa’ o’ the sergeant’s bride_
      _Wha broke twa troths to keep ae tryst true._

    The red-coats march at the skreek o’ day,
      An’ we maun lie on the brae the night;
    Then here’s to them safely on their way,
      Speed to the mirk brings the mornin’s fight.

    Here’s luck to me if you chance to fa’,
      An’ here’s to luck if it favours you;
    For she’s but ane, an’ o’ us there’s twa,
      To him that’s left may she yet prove true.

    In days to come, when the reivers ride,
      They’ll miss ae sword that was swift an’ keen,
    An’ you or I, as the Fates decide,
      Will curse the glint o’ a woman’s een.

    A parting cup, we will drink it noo,
      Syne break the quaich to a shattered faith;
    Here’s happiness to the lass we lo’e,
      The lying lass wha deceived us baith.

    _The soldiers drink in the change-house freet_
      _The tinker’s clinkin’ a crackit quaich;_
    _But cuddlin’ there on the sergeant’s knee_
      _Wha is the lass that is lauchin’ laich?_

                            *CHARON’S SONG*

    Another boat-load for the Further Shore,
      Heap them up high in the stern;
    Nae ane o’ them ever has crossed before
      An’ never a ane’ll return.
        Heavy it rides sae full, sae full,
          Deep, deep is the River,
        But light, light is the backward pull,
          The River flows silently on.

    A cargo o’ corps that are cauld I trow—
      They’re grippy that grudge the fare—
    An’ the antrin quick wi’ his golden bough
      That’s swappin’ the Here for There.
        Heavy it rides sae full, sae full,
          Slow, slow is the River,
        But light, light is the backward pull,
          The River flows silently on.

    In vain will they look wha seek for a ford,
      Where the reeds grow lank an’ lang:
    This is the ferry, an’ I am the lord
      An’ king o’ the boat an’ stang.
        Heavy it rides sae full, sae full,
          Black, black is the River,
        But light, light is the backward pull.
          The River, my River, flows on.

                           *VIRGIL IN SCOTS*

                        ÆNEID, BOOK III, 588-640

    Neist mornin’ at the skreek o’ day
      The mist had newlins lifted;
    The sky, a whylock syne sae grey,
      To fleckit red had shifted:
    When suddenly our herts gaed thud
      To see a fremt chiel stalkin’,
    Wi’ timorous steps fae out the wud,
      As fleyed-like as a mawkin.
    Lod! sic a sicht, half hid in glaur,
      It made us a’ feel wae, man;
    His hams were thin, his kyte was waur,
      It hung sae toom that day, man.
    His mattit beard was lang an’ roch ’s
      Gin it had ne’er been shorn;
    His kilt could barely fend his houghs
      Fae stobs, it was sae torn.
    A Greek was he, wha short afore
      At Troy was in the brulzie,
    An’ tho’ a halflin then, he bore
      A man’s pairt in the tulzie.
    As soon’s he spied our Trojan graith
      He nearhan’ swarfed wi’ fear;
    But maisterin’ his dread o’ skaith
      At last he ventured near.
    "I charge you by the stars," he cried,
      "And by the powers on high,
    To snatch me hence, nor lat me bide
      At Cyclops’ hands to die.
    I’ll no deny that I’m a Greek,
      Or that I was at Troy;
    Nor yet to hide the part, I’ll seek,
      That I took in the ploy.
    Sae gin ye judge my fau’t sae sair
      That grace ye daurna gie,
    Tear me to bits, fient haet I care,
      And sink me in the sea.
    I’ll meet my death without a wird,
      If dealt by men like these,"
    He said: syne flang him on the yirds
      An’ glammoched at our knees,
    Wi’ kindly mint we stilled his fear,
      Enquired his name an’ clan,
    An’ what fell bluffert blew him here
      Wi’ sic a hertless flan.
    To set him further at his ease
      Anchises gae him ’s han’,
    An’ heartened by our kindliness
      The chiel at last began:
    "My name is Achaemenides,
      An’ Ithaca my land;
    An’ some ooks syne I crossed the seas
      Wi’ poor Ulysses’ band.
    Oh, why left ever I my hame?
      I’d troubles there enew;
    My comrades left me, to their shame,
      When fae Cyclops they flew.
    Cyclops himsel’, wha can describe?
      The stars are ells below him;
    Gude send we ne’er may hae to bide
      Within a parish o’ him.
    His dungeon large, a hauddin’ fit
      For sic an awsome gleed;
    There at his fae’s dregies he’ll sit
      And spairge aboot their bleed.
    Wi’ horrid scouk he frowns on a’
      An’ heedless o’ their skraichs,
    He sweels their monyfaulds awa’
      Wi’ wauchts fae gory quaichs.
    I saw him, sirs, as sure’s I live,
      Ance as he lay at easedom,
    Twa buirdly chiels tak’ in his neive,
      Syne careless fae him heeze them.
    They fell wi’ sic a dreadfu’ thud,
      Whaur stanes lay roun’ in cairns;
    The causey ran wi’ thickened blood
      Like stoorum made wi’ harns.
    I watched him tak’ their limbs an’ cram
      Them ower his weel-raxed thrapple;
    The life scarce left the quivering ham
      That shivered in his grapple.
    But never was Ulysses slack
      To pay where he was awin’,
    An’ starkly did he gie him ’t back,
      An’ bravely cleared the lawin’.
    For while the hoven monster snored,
      An’ rifted in his dreams,
    We first the great God’s help implored
      An’ blessing on our schemes;
    The kavils cuist: a feerious thrang
      Syne gaithered roond aboot,
    An’ wi’ a sturdy pointed stang
      We bored his ae e’e oot."

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

    Ye needna speer, Catriona, nae spaewife yet could tell
      Hoo short or lang for you an’ me the tack o’ life will rin,
    We’ll better jist dree oot the span as we hae dane the ell,
      Content gin mony towmonds still we’re left to store the kin,
    Or this the last we’ll see the rocks tashed wi’ the weary seas;
      Hae sense an’ set the greybeard oot; wi’ life sae short for a’
    They’re daft that plan ae ook ahead; Time keeks asklent an’
      E’en as we crack; the nicht is oors, the morn may never daw.

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

                             _Persicos odi_

    Foreign fashions, lad, allure you
      Hamespun happit I would be;
    Bring nae mair, for I assure you
      Ferlies only scunner me.

    Fancy tartans, clanless, gaudy,
      Mention them nae mair, I say;
    Best it suits your service, laddie,
      An’ my drinkin’, hodden-grey.

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

    Tempt not the far oonchancie main,
      Nor fearin’ blufferts, frien’,
    Creep roon’ fause headlan’s; haud your ain
      Tack fair atween.

    The gowden mids, wha aims at it
      Will shun the tinker’s lair,
    Nor gantin’ in a castle sit
      Whaur flunkeys stare.

    The heichest fir storms aft’nest bow;
      Lums fa’ wi’ sairest dunt;
    When lightnings rive, bauld Morven’s pow
      Drees aye the brunt.

    Come weel, come wae, wi’ hope or fear
      Prepare your heart for a’;
    The same Power sends the rain will clear
      The cloods awa’.

    Tho’ here the day ye’ve waes galore
      The morn may see them gone;
    Fate whiles lays by the dour claymore
      An’ tunes the drone.

    In trouble bauldly bear yoursel’;
      When thrivin’, mind the fret—
    "Tho’ lang the pig gangs to the well,
      Its ae day’s set."

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*


    "When Leebie lo’ed me ower them a’,
      An’ deil a dearer daured to fling
    An airm aboot her neck o’ snaw,
      I struttit crouser than the king."


    "When I was Hairry’s only care,
      Afore he lo’ed me less than Jean,
    Wha spak’ o’ love at kirk or fail—
      Set Leebie aye aboon the queen."


    "Noo Hielan’ Jean has witched me sae,
      She harps an’ sings wi’ siccan skill,
    Cauld Death can streek me on the strae
      Gin he but spare my marrow still."


    "For Colin dear, my heart’s alowe
      As his for me, Glen Nochty’s heir,
    Fate twice at me may shak’ his pow
      Gin he will still my laddie spare."


    "Gin tinker Love wi’ clinks o’ brass
      Bind baith oor hearts, an’ I forget
    Red-headit Jean, an’ you my lass—
      Lang left—again see wide the yett?"


    "Tho’ steady as a starn is he,
      An’ you’re like bobbin’ cork, it’s true,
    Wi’ temper grumlie as the sea,
      I’d love an’ live an’ dee wi’ you."

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

    Kirsty, ye besom! auld an’ grey,
      Peer Sandy’s wrunkled kimmer,
    Death’s at your elbuck, cease to play
      Baith hame an’ furth the limmer.

    Ongauns like yours lads weel may fleg
      Fae lasses a’ thegither;
    Tibbie may fling a wanton leg
      Would ill set you her mither.

    She Anra’s bothy sneck may tirl
      An’ loup like ony filly;
    Love stirs her as the pipers’ skirl
      Some kiltit Hielan’ billie.

    Nane pledge or bring you posies noo;
      Auld wives nae trumps set strummin’,
    For runts like you the Cabrach woo’—
      It’s time your wheel was bummin’.

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

    Life an’ love I’m by wi’ a’,
      Tho’ I’ve had cause o’ baith to brag;
    Hang dirk an’ chanter on the wa’,
      Nae mair I’ll reive or squeeze the bag.

    Whaur on the left my lantren gleams
      Weel gairdit by the sea-born queen,
    I lay my love an’ war worn leems,
      Hae mony a midnicht tulzie seen.

    O Venus, fae your island fair
      Wi’ snawless mountains, hear an’ help,
    Rax back your rung, an’ ance—nae mair—
      Gie saucy Meg a canny skelp.

                           *HORACE IN SCOTS*

    Happy is he, far fae the toon’s alairm
    Wha wons contentit on his forbears’ fairm;
    Whistlin’ ahint his owsen at the ploo,
    Oonfashed wi’ siller lent or int’rest due.
    Nae sodger he, that’s piped to wark an’ meat,
    Nae bar’fit sailor, fleyed at wind an’ weet,
    Schoolboard nor Session tempt him fae his hame,
    Provost or Baillie never heard his name;
    His business ’tis to sned the larick trees
    For lichened hag to stake his early peas,
    Or on his plaid amang the braes to lie
    Herdin’ his sleekit stots an’ hummel kye,
    Here wi’ his whittle nick a sooker saft,
    There mark a stooter shank for future graft;
    Whiles fae a skep a dreepin’ comb he steals,
    Or clips the doddit yowes for winter wheels.
    When ower the crafts blythe Autumn lifts her head
    Buskit wi’ aipples ripe an’ roddens red,
    He speels the trees the hazel nits to pu’,
    An’ rasps an’ aivrins fill his bonnet fu’,—
    Fit gifts awat, for gods o’ wood an’ yaird
    To show the gratefu’ husbandman’s regaird.
    Ah, then ’tis pleasant on saft mossy banks
    ’Neath auncient aiks to ease his wearied shanks,
    Whaur hidden burnies rumblin’ onwards row,
    An’ liltin’ linties cheer the peacefu’ howe,
    An’ babblin’ springs, as thro’ the ferns they creep
    Wi’ ceaseless croonin’ lull to gentle sleep.
    When stormy winter comes an’ in its train
    Brings drivin’ drift an’ spates o’ plashin’ rain,
    Wi’ dog an’ ferret then he’s roon’ the parks
    Whaur rabbits in the snaw hae left their marks;
    Or brings wi’ smorin’ sulphur thuddin’ doon
    The roostin’ pheasant fae the boughs aboon,
    Or daunders furth wi’ girn an’ gun to kill
    White hares an’ ptarmigan upon the hill.
    Wha mid sic joys would ever stop to fash
    Wi’ trystin’ queyns, their valinteens an’ trash?
    But gin a sonsy wife be his, she’ll help
    Wi’ household jots, the weans she’ll dead an’ skelp,
    An’—Buchan kimmers ken the way fu’ weel
    Or Hielan’ hizzies—tenty toom the creel
    O’ lang hained heath’ry truffs to reist the fire
    Against her man’s return, fair dead wi’ tire,
    An’ byre-ward clatter in her creeshie brogues
    To fill wi’ foamin’ milk the scrubbit cogues,
    Syne fae the press the cakes an’ kebbuck draw
    An’ hame-brewed drink nae gauger ever saw—
    Plain simple fare; could partans better please
    Or skate or turbot fae the furthest seas,
    Brocht to the market by the trawler’s airt
    Hawkit fae barrows or the cadger’s cairt?
    Nae frozen dainties, nae importit meat,
    Nae foreign galshochs, taste they e’er sae sweet,
    But I will match them fast as ye can name
    Wi’ simple berries that we grow at hame—
    Wi’ burnside soorocks that ye pu’ yoursel’,
    Wi’ buttered brose, an’ chappit curly kail,
    Wi’ mealy puddins fae the new killed Mart,
    Or hill-fed braxy that the tod has spar’d.
    What happier life than this for young or auld?
    To see the blackfaced wethers seek the fauld,
    The reekin’ owsen fae the fur’ set free
    Wear slowly hamewith ower the gowan’d lea,
    An’ gabbin’ servants fae the field an’ byre
    Scorchin’ their moleskins at the kitchen fire.

    _The banker swore ’mid siccan scenes to die,_
      _"Back to the land" was daily his refrain;_
    _A fortnicht syne he laid his ledgers by,_
      _The nicht he’s castin’ his accoonts again!_

                           *THE REMONSTRANCE*

    Noo man, hoo can ye think it richt
    To waste your time, nicht after nicht,
    An’ hunker in the failin’ licht
      Wi’ moody broo,
    Like some puir dwinin’ thewless wicht
      Wi’ death in view?

    I’ve taul’ ye aft aneuch it’s nae
    As if ye’d aught ’at’s new to say,
    Or said auld things some better way,
      Or like some callants
    Gat fouk to praise your sangs an’ pay
      Ye for your ballants.

    Instead o’ vreetin’ like a clerk
    Till bed-time brings alang the dark,
    Ye should be sportin’ in the park
      An’ hear the clamour
    Wad greet ye, should ye pass my mark
      Wi’ stane or hammer.

    Or tak’ a daunder roon’ the braes
    An’ hear the blackies pipe their lays,
    The liftward laverock’s sang o’ praise,
      An’ syne, my billie,
    Mak’ nae mair verses a’ your days—
      Shut doon your millie.

                              *THE REPLY*

    Tho’ loud the mavis whistles now
    An’ blackbirds pipe fae ilka bough
    An’ laverocks set the heart alowe—
      Mid a’ the plenty
    You’d miss upon the wayside cowe
      The twitt’rin’ lintie.

    An’ think you, when the simmer’s gane,
    When sleet blaws thro’ the leafless plane,
    An’ bieldless birds sit mute an’ lane,
      The woods a’ cheerless,
    The namely robin on the stane
      Sings sweet an’ fearless.

    So tho’ my sangs be as you say
    Nae marrow for the blackbird’s lay,
    They may hae cheered somebody’s way
      Wha wanted better,
    An’ sent him happier up the brae
      My welcome debtor.

    Nae care hae I, nor wish to speel
    Parnassus’ knowe, for mony a chiel
    Has tint his time, his life as weel,
      To claim a bit o’t:
    I only crave a wee bit biel’
      Near han’ the fit o’t.

                         *SCOTLAND OUR MITHER*

    Scotland our Mither—this from your sons abroad,
    Leavin’ tracks on virgin veld that never kent a road,
    Trekkin’ on wi’ weary feet, an’ faces turned fae hame,
    But lovin’ aye the auld wife across the seas the same.

    Scotland our Mither—we left your bieldy bents
    To hunt wi’ hairy Esau, while Jacob kept the tents.
    We’ve pree’d the pangs o’ hunger, mair sorrow seen than mirth,
    But never niffer’d, auld wife, our rightfu’ pride o’ birth.

    Scotland our Mither—we sow, we plant, we till,
    But plagues that passed o’er Egypt light here an’ work their
    They’ve harried barn an’ basket till ruin claims us sure;
    We’d better kept the auld craft an’ herdit on the muir.

    Scotland our Mither—we weary whiles and tire;
    When Bad Luck helps to outspan, Regret biggs up the fire;
    But still the hope uphaulds us, tho’ bitter now the blast,
    That we’ll win to the auld hame across the seas at last.

    Scotland our Mither—we’ve bairns you’ve never seen—
    Wee things that turn them northward when they kneel down at
    They plead in childish whispers the Lord on high will be
    A comfort to the auld wife—their granny o’er the sea.

    Scotland our Mither—since first we left your side,
    From Quilimane to Cape Town we’ve wandered far an’ wide;
    Yet aye from mining camp an’ town, from koppie an’ karoo,
    Your sons richt kindly, auld wife, send hame their love to you.


_Ablach_—insignificant person.
_Ajee_—to one side.
_Arles_—earnest given in striking a bargain.
_Awat_—I wot.

_Baillie_—alderman; _baillie_ (_water_)—bailiff; _baillie_ (_in the
_Banster_—one who binds the sheaves.
_Barkit_—encrusted with dirt.
_Beet to_—had to.
_Bents_—hilly ground on which coarse grass grows.
_Besom shaft_—broom handle.
_Birselt, birslin’_—scorched, scorching.
_Bishop_—to beat down earth or stones.
_Bluffert_—blast of wind.
_Bool_—bowl, marble.
_Bothy_—cottage where farm servants are lodged.
_Braxy_—sheep that has died a natural death.
_Break_—hollow in a hill.
_Brochan_—oatmeal boiled thicker than gruel.
_"Buchan"_—Buchan’s "Domestic Medicine."
_But-an’-ben_—cottage divided into two apartments.
_Byous_—exceedingly, out of the common.

_Caird_—travelling tinker.
_Cairtin’_—playing cards.
_Caller_—cool, refreshing.
_Canny_—safe, prudent, judicious.
_Cantrip_—mischievous trick.
_Carlie_—little old man.
_Cauldrife_—causing the sensation of cold.
_Caup_—turned wooden bowl.
_Cauper_—maker of caups, wood-turner.
_Caw_—to drive.
_Chappit_—struck (the clock "chappit"); _chappit kail_—mashed or bruised
_Clawed the caup_—cleaned the dish.  As a punishment the person last to
get up in the morning had to clean the common bowl.
_Cleekit shalt_—pony suffering from string-halt.
_Clinkin’_—mending by rivetting.
_Clorty_—dirty, sticky.
_Closs_—enclosure, passage.
_Cloutie_—small cloth.
_Clouts_—mends, patches.
_Cogue_—wooden milking pail.
_Connached_—abused, wasted, destroyed.
_Core_—company, corps.
_Coup_—to exchange.
_Couthy_—affable, kindly.
_Covin-tree_—trysting-tree, large tree in front of the mansion house
where visitors were received.
_Cowe_—twig of a shrub or bush.
_Crack_—to chat.
_Craft_—small farm.
_Creepie_—low stool.
_Creesh_—fat, grease.
_Crouse_—brisk, lively, bold.
_Crowdy_—meal and water mixed cold.
_Cruisie_—ancient oil lamp.
_Cuisy_—cast, threw.
_Cushie doo_—wood pigeon.

_Dambrod_—draught board.
_Dibble_—to plant in a small hole.
_Dicht_—to clean, to wipe up.
_Ding_—to overcome, to excel.
_Displenish_—to disfurnish, sale of furniture of any sort.
_Doddit_—without horns.
_Doit_—a small copper coin.
_Dozin_—in a benumbed state.
_Dreep_—drip, empty to the last drop.
_Dregie_—refreshment given at a funeral.
_Drift_—driving or driven snow.
_Drooth_—drought, thirst.
_Dryster_—man who dries the grain before grinding.
_Dubs, dubby_—mud, muddy.
_Dunt_—bang, sound caused by the fall of a hard body.

_Eild_—old age.
_Elshin_—shoemaker’s awl.
_Excamb_—to exchange one piece of ground for another.

_Fa’_—fall, fate (black be his fa’).
_Faugh_—fallow land, "Farmers faugh gars lairds lauch"—old Scottish
_Feal dyke_—wall built of sods.
_Fell_—kill, deadly.
_Ferlie_—oddity, wonder.
_Fiars_—prices of grain legally fixed for the year.
_Fient, fient haet_—not a bit, the Devil a bit.
_Firehoose_—dwelling house.
_Flan_—gust of wind.
_Fleems_—fleam, lancet.
_Fleerish, flint and_—flint and steel.
_Forenicht_—interval between twilight and bedtime.
_Fou_—stone crop, saxifrage.
_Fremt_—strange, foreign.

_Gey, gey often_—considerably, pretty often.
_Girnal_—meal chest.
_Glammoch_—eager grasp.
_Gled, gleed_—kite.
_Graith_—accoutrements, harness.
_Grat, greetin’_—cried, crying.
_Grease_—disease affecting horses’ legs.
_Greybeard_—earthenware bottle.
_Grieve_—farm overseer.
_"Gweed words"_—prayers.

_Hacks_—chaps, the effect of severe cold.
_Hag_—lesser branches of trees.
_Hained_—saved, not wasted.
_Halflin_—half-grown man.
_Hame-drauchted_—selfish, greedy.
_Harlin’_—rough casting.
_Harp_ (_a mason’s_)—wire screen for cleaning sand or gravel.
_Hauddin’_—holding, house.
_Haugh_—alluvial ground beside a river.
_Hine awa’_—far away.
_Hint o’ Hairst_—end of harvest.
_Hodden grey_—cloth the natural colour of the wool.
_Horn-en’_—best room in a two-roomed cottage.
_Hoven_—swollen, blown out.
_Howe_—hollow, valley.
_Hummel_—without horns.
_Hunker_—to squat down.

_Income_—ailment the cause of which is unknown.

_Jot_—job, occasional work.
_Jow_—toll of a bell.

_Keel_—ruddle, chalk.
_Kist_—box, coffin.

_Lade_—mill race.
_Lair_—burying plot, bed.
_Lampin’_—taking long steps.
_Lane_—alone; _his lane_, by himself.
_Lapstane_—stone on which a shoe-maker beats his leather.
_Lave_—the rest, the remainder.
_Lay_ (_turning_)—lathe.
_Leefu’ lane_—all alone.
_Lettergae_—one who gives out the line, the precentor.
_Lettrin_—precentor’s desk.
_Limmer_—worthless woman.
_Lint-pot_—pool where lint is washed.
_Loan, loanin’_—piece of uncultivated land about a homestead.
_Lowse_—make loose.
_Lozen_—pane of glass.
_Lythe_—-shelter, lea side.

_Marrow_—match, equal.
_Mart_—ox killed at Martinmas for winter use.
_Mint_—aim, intention.
_Muggins_—boot hose.
_Monyfaulds_—entrails, the part which consists of many folds.
_Moss_—moor where peats are dug.
_Mouter_—multure, miller’s fee.
_Mull, snuff mull_—box, snuff box.
_Mutch_—head-dress for a woman.
_Mutchkin_—liquid measure.

_Nickum_—mischievous boy.
_Niffer_—to barter.
_Nott_—needed, required.
_Nowt_—nolt, neat cattle.

_Ooks, ouks_—weeks.

_Partan_—common sea crab.
_Pech_—to pant, to labour in breathing.
_Peer_—match, equal.
_Peerman_—holder for fir candle.
_Plisky_—mischievous trick.
_Pooch_—to pocket.
_Pow_—poll, head.
_Prob_—to pierce.
_Puckle_—small quantity.

_Quaich_—drinking cup with two handles.
_Queel_—to cool.
_Quern_—stone hand-mill.
_Queyn_—quean, young woman.

_Rant_—quick lively tune.
_Rantree_—rowan tree, mountain ash.
_Rape_—rope, especially one made of straw.
_Rax_—to stretch.
_Redd up_—to clear up.
_Reed_—rood by measurement,
_Reemish_—weighty stroke or blow.
_Reist_—to bank up a fire.
_Riggin’_—ridge, roof.
_Rockins_—evening gatherings for work and gossip.
_Roup_—sale by auction.
_Rotund_—rolled, wrapped,
_Ruck_—rick, stack.
_Rung_—heavy staff.
_Runt_—withered hag.

_St. Sairs_—market in Aberdeenshire.
_Sappy_—moist, full of juice.
_Scob_—to put in splints.
_Scouk_—evil look.
_Scrunt_—stunted in growth.
_Scunner_—loathing, to disgust.
_Seggit_—sagged, sunk down.
_Seggs_—yellow flower-de-luce or iris.
_Seyed_—put through a sieve.
_Shank_—to knit, knitting.
_Shortsome_—amusing, causing the time to seem short.
_Sids_—corn husks.
_Skaith_—hurt, injury.
_Skelp_—stroke, blow.
_Skep_—bee hive.
_Skirtit_—ran quickly.
_Skreek of day_—dawn.
_Slap_—opening, piece broken out.
_Slips the timmers_—(metaphor for) dies.
_Slock_—to quench thirst.
_Snaw-bree_—melted snow.
_Sned_—to cut, to prune.
_Snell_—keen, sharp, severe.
_Sornin’_—obtruding on another for bed and board.
_Souff_—to whistle or con over a tune in a low tone.
_Soughin’_—sighing, making a low whistling noise.
_Spae_—to tell fortunes.
_Spairge_—to bespatter by dashing a liquid.
_Speel_—to climb.
_Speer_—to enquire.
_Stance_—place, station.
_Stang_—long pole; (of a trump), tongue of a Jew’s harp.
_Starkly_—strongly, bravely.
_Steer_—stir, disturb.
_Stent_—extent of task.
_Stirk_—young bullock.
_Stobbit_—thatched by means of a stob or stake.
_Stoitered_—staggered, tottered.
_Stookit_—put into shocks.
_Store the kin_—live, keep up the stock.
_Stot_—bullock older than a stirk.
_Stounds_—aches, acute pains.
_Strype_—small rill.
_Swatch_—sample piece.
_Sweel_—swill, to wash away.
_Syne_—then, since.

_Tablin’_—top stones on a gable,
_Ted_—toad, applied to children or young women as a term of endearment.
_Teem, toom_—empty.
_Tenty_—careful, attentive.
_Thiggin’_—to go about receiving supply not in the way of common
mendicants, but rather giving others an opportunity of showing their
_Thirled_—bound or enthralled.
_Thoom_—thumb, to massage with the thumbs.
_Thrave_—two stocks or sheaves.
_Thraw_—twist, sprain.
_Thrawcruik_—implement for twisting straw ropes.
_Thrums_—ends of yarn; _span her thrums_—purred.
_Tirl_—act of vibrating.
_Tirl the sneck_—twirl the handle of the latch.
_Tirr_—to strip forcibly.
_Tittit the tow_—pulled the bell-rope.
_Trail the rape_—Hallowe’en spell which consisted in dragging a straw
rope of peculiar make round the house.
_Trams_—shafts, as of a cart.
_Travise_—division between stalls.
_Trump_—Jew’s harp.
_Tweezlock_—another name for thrawcruik.
_Tyauve_ (_wi’ a_)—with great difficulty.

_Unco_—strange, uncommon.

_Virr_—force, impetuosity.

_Wadset_—to mortgage.
_Waller_—weller, frequenter of St. Ronan’s well.
_Waucht_—large draught
_Weird_—fate, destiny.
_Wheeple_—shrill intermitting note with little variation of tone.
_Whip-the-cat_—tailor with no fixed place of business, who goes from
house to house.
_Whorl_—flywheel of a spindle made of wood or stone.
_Whylock_—little while.
_Wicks o’ mou’s_—corners of the mouth.
_Winceys_—petticoats made of wincey.

_Yokin’_—working period during which horses are in harness.

                      PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY
                    RICHARD CLAY AND SONS, LIMITED,
                          AND BUNGAY, SUFFOLK.

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