Allan Ramsay

SCENE I.

PROLOGUE.

Nou turn yer een beyond yon spreidin lime,
An tent a man whase beard seems bleached wi time,
An elwand fills his hand, his habit mean;
Nae dout ye'll think he haes a pedlar been,-
But whisht! it is the knicht in mascurad,
That comes, hid in his cloud, to see his lad.
Observe how pleased the loyal sufferer moves
Throu his auld avenues, ance delytefu groves.

SIR WILLIAM, ALANE.

The gentleman, thus hid in low disguise,
I'll for a space, unkent, delyte mine een
Wi a full view o every fertile plain,
Which ance I lost--which nou are mine again.
Yet 'midst my joy, some prospects pain renew,
Whilst I my ance fair sate in ruins view.
Yonder, ah me! it desolately stands,-
Ithoot a ruif, the gates fa'en frae their bands;
The casements a' brak doun--nae chimney left--
The naked wa's o tapestry a' bereft;
My stables an pavilions, broken wa's,
That, wi each rainy blast, decayin fa's;
My gairdens, ance adorned the maist complete,
Wi a' that natur, a' that are, maks sweet;
Where, roond the figured green an pebble walks,
The dewy flouers hung noddin on their stalks:
But owergrown wi nettles, docks, an brier
No jaccacinths or eglantines appear.
How do thae ample wa's to ruin yield,
Where peach an nectarine brainches found a bield,
An basked in rays, which early did produce
Fruit fair to view, delytefu in the uise:
A' roond in gaps the wa's in rubbish lie,
An frae what stands the withered brainches flee.
These suin shall be repaired; an nou my joy
Forbids a' grief, when I'm to see my boy,-
My only prop, an object o my care,
Since Heeven too suin ca'd hame his mither fair:
Him, or the rays o reason cleared his thocht,
I secretly to faithfu Symon brocht,
An chairged him strictly to conceal his birth,
Till we should see what changin times brocht forth.
Hid frae himsel, he starts up by the dawn,
An ranges careless ower the hicht an lawn,
Efter his fleecy chairge, serenely gay,
Wi ither shepherds whistlin ower the day.
Thrice happy life! that's frae ambition free;
Removed frae crouns an coorts, how cheerfully
A calm contented mortal spends his time,
In herty health, his saul unstained wi crime!

SANG XII.

TUNE - "Happy Clown."

Hid frae himsel, nou by the dawn
He starts as fresh as roses blawn;
An ranges ower the hichts an lawn,
Efter his bleatin flocks.
Healthfu an innocently gay,
He chants an whistles oot the day;
Untocht to smile, an then betray
Like coortly weather cocks.
Life happy, frae ambition free,
Envy, an vile hypocrisy,
Where truith an love wi joys agree,
Unsullied wi a crime.
Unmoved wi what disturbs the great.
In proppin o their pride an state,
He lives, an, unafraid o fate,
Contented spends his time.
Nou towards guid Symon's hoose I'll bend my wey,
An see what maks yon gambolin to-day;
A' on the green, in a fair wanton ring,
My youthfu tenants gaily dance an sing. [Exit.

SCENE II.

PROLOGUE.

It's Symon's hoose, please to step in,
An vissy't roond an roond;
There's nocht superfluous to gie pain,
Or costly to be found.
Yet a' is clean-a clear peat-ingle
Glances amidst the fluir;
The green-horn spuins, beech luggies mingle
On skelfs foregainst the door.
While the young brood sport on the green,
The auld anes think it best,
Wi the brawn cou to clear their een,
Snuff, crack, an tak their rest.

SYMON, GLAUD, AN ELSPA.

GLAUD.

We ance were young oorsels - I like to see
The bairns bob roond wi ither merrylie.
Troth, Symon, Patie's grown a strappin lad,
An better leuks than his I never bade;
Amang oor lads he bears the gree awa,
An tells his tale the cleverest o them a'.

ELSPA.

Puir man! he's a great comfort to us baith;
God mak him guid, an hide him aye frae skaith.
He is a bairn, I'll say't, weel worth oor care,
That gae us ne'er vexation late or air.

GLAUD.

I trow, guidwife, if I be na mistaen,
He seems to be wi Peggy's beauty taen;
An troth, my niece is a richt denty wean,
As weel ye ken-a bonnier needna be,
Nor better, be't she were nae kin to me.

SYMON.

Ha, Glaud! I dout that ne'er will be a match;
My Patie's wild, an will be ill to catch-
An or he were, for reasons I'll no tell,
I'd raither be mixt wi the muils mysel.

GLAUD.

What reason can ye hae? There's nane, I'm shuir,
Unless ye mey cast up that she's but puir;
But gif the lassie mairy to my mind,
I'll be to her as my ain Jenny kind.
Fowerscore o breedin yowes o my ain birn,
Five kye, that at ae milkin fills a kirn,
I'll gie to Peggy that day she's a bride;
By an attour, gif my guid luck abide,
Ten lambs at spainin-time, as lang's I live,
An twa quey cawfs, I'll yearly to them gie.

ELSPA.

Ye offer fair, kind Glaud, but dinna speer
What mey be is nae fit ye yet shoud hear.

SYMON.

Or this day aucht-days likely he shall learn,
That oor denial disna slicht his bairn.

GLAUD.

Weel, nae mair o't-come gies the ither bend;
We'll drink their healths, whatever wey it end.
[Their healths gae roond.]

SYMON.

But, will ye tell me, Glaud; by some it's said,
Yer niece is but a fundlin, that was laid
Doun at yer hallen-side ae morn in Mey,
Richt clean rowed up, an bedded on dry hey?

GLAUD.

That clatterin Madge, my titty, tells sic flaws,
Whene'er oor Meg her canker'd humour gaws.

ENTER JENNY.

JENNY.

O faither, there's an auld man on the green,
The fellest fortune-teller e'er was seen;
He tents oor luifs, an syne whups oot a beuk,
Turns ower the leaves, an gie's oor brous a leuk;
Syne tells the oddest tales that e'er ye heard-
His heid is gray, an lang an gray his beard.

SYMON.

Gae bring him in; we'll hear what he can say,
Nane shall gae hungry by my hoose the day:
[Exit Jenny.
But for his tellin fortunes, troth, I fear,
He kens nae mair o that than my gray meir.

GLAUD.

Spae-men! the truith o a' their saws I dout;
For greater leears never ran thereoot.

JENNY RETURNS, BRINGING IN SIR WILLIAM; PATIE FOLLOWIN.

SYMON.

Ye're welcome, honest carle; here tak a sate.

SIR WILLIAM.

I gie ye thanks, guidman, I'se no be blate.

GLAUD DRINKS.

Come, t'ye freend - How far cam ye the day?

SIR WILLIAM.

I pledge ye, neibour! e'en but little wey:
Rousted wi eild, a wee piece gate seems lang:
Twa mile or three's the maist that I dow gang.

SYMON.

Ye're welcome here to stey a' nicht wi me,
An tak sic bed an board as we can gie.

SIR WILLIAM.

That's kind unsocht - Weel, gin ye hae a bairn
That ye like weel, an wad his fortune learn,
I shall employ the farthest o my skill
To spae it faithfully, be't guid or ill.

SYMON, POINTIN TO PATIE.

Only that lad-alack! I hae nae mae,
Aither to mak me joyfu nou, or wae.

SIR WILLIAM.

Young man, let's see yer hand; what gars ye sneer?

PATIE.

Because yer skill's but little worth, I fear.

SIR WILLIAM.

Ye cut before the point! but, billy, bide,
I'll Wager there's a moose-mark on yer side.

ELSPA.

Betooch-us-too! - an weel I wat, that's true;
Awa, awa, the deil's ower grit wi ye!
Fower inch aneath his oxter is the mark,
Scarce ever seen since he first wore a sark.

SIR WILLIAM.

I'll tell ye mair; if this young lad be spared
But a short while, he'll be a braw rich laird.

ELSPA.

A laird! Hear ye, guidman-what think ye nou?

SYMON.

I dinna ken! Strange auld man, what are thoo?
Fair fa' yer hert, it's guid to bode o wealth;
Come, turn the timmer to laird Patie's health.
[Patie's health gaes roond.]

PATIE.

A laird o twa guid whistles an a kent,-
Twa curs, my trusty tenants on the bent,-
Is a' my great estate, an like to be:
Sae, cunnin earle, ne'er brak yer jokes on me.

SYMON.

Whisht, Patie! - let the man leuk ower yer hand,
Aft-times as broken a ship haes come to land.

[SIR WILLIAM looks a little at PATIE's hand, then counterfeits falling into a trance, while they endeavour to lay him richt].

ELSPA.

Preserve's! - the man's a warlock, or possessed
Wi some nae guid, or saicont-sicht at least:
Where is he nou?-----

GLAUD.

-----He's seeing a' that's duin
In ilka place, beneath or yont the muin.

ELSPA.

These saicont-sichted fouk (his peace be here!)
See things far aff, an things to come, as clear
As I can see my thoum! - Wow! can he tell
(Speer at him, suin as he comes to himsel)
How suin we'll see Sir William? Whisht! he heaves,
An speaks oot broken wirds like ane that raves.

SYMON.

He'll suin growe better-Elspa, haste ye, gae
An fill him up a tass o usquebae.

(SIR WILLIAM starts up an speaks).

A knicht that for a lion focht,
Against a herd o bears,
Was to lang toil an trouble brocht,
In which some thoosands shares.
But nou again the lion rares.
An joy spreids ower the plain:
The lion haes defeat the bears,
The knicht returns again.
That knicht, in a few days, shall bring
A shepherd frae the fauld,
An shall present him to his king,
A subject true an bauld.
He Mr. Paitrick shall be ca'd:-
A' ye that hear me nou,
Mey well believe what I have tauld,
For it shall happen true.

SYMON.

Freend, mey yer spaein happen suin an weel;
But, faith, I'm redd ye've bargained wi the deil,
To tell some tales that fouks wad secret keep;
Or do ye get them tauld ye in yer sleep?

SIR WILLIAM.

Howeer I get them, never fash yer beard,
Nor come I to read fortunes for reward;
But I'll lay ten to ane wi ony here,
That a' I prophesy shall suin appear.

SYMON.

Ye prophesyin fouks are odd kind men!-
They're here that ken, an here that disna ken,
The whimpled meanin o yer unco tale,
Whilk suin will mak a noise ower muir an dale.

GLAUD.

It's nae sma' sport to hear how Sym believes,
An taks't for gospel what the spaeman gies,
O flawin fortunes, whilk he evens to Pate:
But what we wish, we trow at ony rate.

SIR WILLIAM.

Whisht! doutfu carle; for or the sun
Haes driven twice doun to the sea,
What I have said, ye shall see duin
In pairt, or nae mair credit me.

GLAUD.

Weel, be't sae, freend! I shall say naething mair;
But I've twa sonsy lasses, young an fair,
Plump ripe for men: I wish ye coud foresee
Sic fortunes for them, micht prove joy to me.

SIR WILLIAM.

Nae mair throu secrets can I sift,
Till darkness black the bent;
I hae but ance a-day that gift;
Sae rest a while content.

SYMON.

Elspa, cast on the claith, fetch butt some meat,
An o yer best gar this auld stranger eat.

SIR WILLIAM.

Delay a while yer hospitable care;
I'd raither enjoy this evenin calm an fair,
Aroond yon ruined touer, to fetch a walk
Wi ye, kind freend, to have some private talk.

SYMON.

Suin as ye please I'll answer yer desire:-
An, Glaud, ye'll tak yer pipe beside the fire;-
We'll but gae roond the place, an suin be back,
Syne sup thegither, an tak oor pint an crack.

GLAUD.

I'll oot a while, an see the young anes play:
My hert's still licht, albeit my locks be gray.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

PROLOGUE.

Jenny pretends an errand hame;
Young Roger draps the rest,
To whisper oot his meltin flame,
An thow his lassie's briest.
Behind a bush, weel hid frae sicht, they meet
See, Jenny's laughin, Roger's like to greet.
Puir shepherd!

ROGER AN JENNY.

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ROGER.

Dear Jenny, I wad speak t'ye, wad ye let;
An yet I fear, ye're aye sae scornfu set.

JENNY.

An what wad Roger say, gif he coud speak?
Am I obliged to guess what ye're to seek?

ROGER.

Yes, ye mey guess richt eith for what I grein,
Baith by my service, sichs, an langin een.
An I maun oot wi't, tho I risk yer scorn-
Ye're never frae my thochts, baith e'en an morn.
Ah! coud I loe ye less, I'd happy be;
But happier far, coud ye but fancy me!

JENNY.

An wha kens, honest lad, but that I mey?
Ye canna say that e'er I said ye nay.

ROGER.

Alake! my frichted hert begins to fail,
Whene'er I mint to tell ye oot my tale,
For fear some tichter lad, mair rich than I,
Haes win yer love, an near yer hert mey lie.

JENNY.

I loe my faither, cousin Meg I love;
But, to this day, nae man my hert coud move:
Except my kin, ilk lad's alike to me;
An frae ye a' I best haed keep me free.

ROGER.

How lang, dear Jenny? - sayna that again;
What pleasure can ye tak in giein pain?
I'm gled, houever, that ye yet stand free;
Wha kens but ye mey rue, an peety me?

JENNY.

Ye hae my peety else, to see ye set
On that whilk maks oor sweetness suin forget.
Wow! but we're bonny, guid, an every thing;
How sweet we breathe whene'er we kiss or sing!
But we're nae suiner fuils to gie consent,
Than we oor daffin an tint pouer repent!
When prisoned in fower wa's, a wife richt tame,
Altho the first, the greatest drudge at hame.

ROGER.

That only happens, when, for sake o gear,
Ane wales a wife as he wad buy a meir:
Or when dull parents bairns thegither bind,
O different tempers, that can ne'er prove kind,
But love, true dounricht love, engages me
(Tho thoo shoud scorn) still to delyte in thee.

JENNY.

What sugared wirds frae wooers' lips can fa'!
But girnin mairiage comes an ends them a'.
I've seen, wi shinin fair, the mornin rise,
An suin the sleety clouds mirk a' the skies.
I've seen the siller spring a while rin clear,
An suin in mossy puddles disappear!
The bridegroom mey rejoice, the bride mey smile;
But suin contentions a' their joys beguile.

ROGER.

I've seen the mornin rise wi fairest licht;
The day, unclouded, sink in calmest nicht.
I've seen the spring rin wimplin throu the plain,
Increase, an join the ocean ithoot stain:
The bridegroom mibbie blythe, the bride mey smile;
Rejoice throu life, an a' yer fears beguile.

JENNY.

Were I but shuir ye lang wad love maintain,
The fewest wirds my easy hert coud gain:
For I maun ain-since nou at last yer free-
Altho I joked, I loed yer company;
An ever haed a warmness in my briest,
That made ye dearer to me than the rest.

ROGER.

I'm happy nou! ower happy! haud my heid!-
This gust o pleasure's like to be my deid.
Come to my airms! or strike me! I'm a' fired
Wi wonderin love! let's kiss till we be tired.
Kiss, kiss! we'll kiss the sun an starns awa,
An ferly at the quick return o day
O Jenny! let my airms aboot thee twine,
An brizz thy bonny breists an lips to mine!
[They embrace.

SANG XIII.

TUNE - "Leith Wynd."

JENNY.

Were I ashuired ye'd constant prove,
Ye should nae mair complain;
The easy maid beset wi love,
Few wirds will quickly gain:
For I must ain, nou since ye're free,
This too fond hert o mine
Haes lang, a black-sole true to thee,
Wished to be paired wi thine.

ROGER

I'm happy nou, ah! let my heid
Upon thy briest recline;
The pleasure strikes me near-hand deid!-
Is Jenny then sae kind!-
O let me brizz thee to my hert!
An roond my airms entwine:
Delytefu thocht, we'll never pairt
Come, press thy lips to mine.

JENNY.

Wi equal joy my easy hert gies wey,
To ain thy weel-tried love haes won the day.
Nou, by thae warmest kisses thoo hast tane,
Swear thus to be me, when by vows made ane.

ROGER.

I swear by fifty thoosand yet to come-
Or mey the first ane strike me deif an dumb-
There sanna be a kindlier dawted wife,
If ye agree wi me to lead yer life.

JENNY.

Weel, I agree-neist to my parent gae,
Get his consent-he'll hardly say ye nae;
Ye hae what will commend ye to him weel,
Auld fouks like them that want na milk an meal.

SANG XIV.

TUNE - "Ower Bogie."

Weel, I agree, ye're shuir o me;
Neist to my faither gae;
Mak him content to gie consent-
He'll hardly say ye nae.
For ye hae what he wad be at,
An will commend ye weel,
Since parents auld think love growes cauld,
Where bairns want milk an meal.
Shoud he deny, I carena-by,
He'd contradict in vain;
Tho a' my kin haed said an sworn
But thee I will hae nane.
Then never range, nor learn to change
Like thae in hiech degree:
An if ye prove faithfu in love,
Ye'll finnd nae faut in me.

ROGER.

My faulds contain twice fifteen furrow nowt,
As mony newcalfed in my byres rout;
Five packs o woo I can at Lammas sell,
Shorn frae my bob-tailed bleeters on the fell:
Guid twenty pair o blankets for oor bed,
Wi meikle care my thrifty mither made.
Ilk thing that maks a hertsome hoose an ticht
Was still her care, my faither's great delyte.
They left me a', whilk nou gies joy to me,
Because I can gie a', my dear, to thee:
An haed I fifty times as meikle mair,
Nane but my Jenny shoud the samen skair.
My love an a' is yours; nou haud them fast,
An guide them as ye like, to gar them last.

JENNY.

I'll do my best - But see wha comes this wey,
Patie an Meg - besides, I maunna stey:
Let's steal frae ither nou, an meet the morn;
If we be seen, we'll dree a deal o scorn.

ROGER.

To where the sauch-tree shades the mennin-puil,
I'll frae the hill come doun when day growes cool:
Keep tryst, an meet me there-there let us meet,
To kiss, an tell oor loves; there's nocht sae sweet.
[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.

PROLOGUE.

THIS scene presents the knicht an Sym,
Within a gallery o the place,
Where a' leuks ruinous an grim;
Nor haes the baron shawn his face,
But jokin wi his shepherd leal,
Aft speers the gate he kens fou weel.

SIR WILLIAM AN SYMON.

SIR WILLIAM.

To wham belangs this hoose sae much decayed?

SYMON.

To ane that lost it, lendin generous aid
To bear the heid up, when rebellious tail
Against the laws o natur did prevail.
Sir William Worthy is oor maister's name,
Whilk fills us a' wi joy, nou he's come hame.
[Sir William draps his maskin-beard;
Symon, transported, sees
The welcome knicht, wi fond regaird,
An grasps him roond the knees.]
My maister! my dear maister! - do I breathe
To see him healthy, strang, an free frae skaith?
Returned to cheer his wishin tenants' sicht-
To bless his son, my chairge, the warld's delyte?

SIR WILLIAM.

Rise, faithfu Symon, in my airms enjoy
A place thy due, kind guardian o my boy:
I cam to view thy care in this disguise,
An am confirmed thy conduct haes been wice;
Since still the secret thou's securely sealed
An ne'er to him his real birth revealed.

SYMON.

The due obedience to yer strict command
Was the first lock-neist, my ain judgment fand
Oot reasons plenty-since, ithoot estate,
A youth, tho sprung frae king, leuks bauch an blate.

SIR WILLIAM.

An aften vain an idly spend their time,
Till grown unfit for action, past their prime,
Hang on their freends-which gies their sauls a cast,
That turns them dounricht beggars at the last.

SYMON.

Nou, weel I wat, Sir, ye hae spoken true;
For there's laird Kytie's son that's loed by few:
His faither stecht his fortune in his wame,
An left his heir nocht but a gentle name.
He gangs aboot, sornin frae place to place,
As scrimpt o mainers as o sense an grace,
Oppressin a', as punishment o their sin,
That are within his tenth degree o kin:
Rins in ilk trader's debt, wha's sae unjust
To his ain faimly as to gie him trust.

SIR WILLIAM.

Sic uiseless brainches o a commonwealth,
Should be lopped aff, to gie a state mair health,
Unworthy bare reflection! - Symon, run
Ower a' yer observations on my son:
A parent's fondness easily finds excuise,
But dinna, wi indulgence, truith abuise.

SYMON.

To speak his praise, the langest summer day
Wad be ower short, coud I them richt display.
In wird an deed he can sae weel behave,
That oot o sicht he rins afore the lave;
An when there's ony quarrel or contest,
Paitrick's made judge to tell wha's cause is best;
An his decreet stands guid-he'll gar it stand-
Wha daurs to grumble, finds his correctin hand;
Wi a firm leuk, an a commandin wey,
He gars the proodest o oor herds obey.

SIR WILLIAM.

Yer tale much pleases - My guid freend, proceed:
What learnin haes he? Can he write an read?

SYMON.

Baith wonder weel; for, troth, I didna spare
To gie him at the schuil eneuch o lair;
An he delytes in beuks-he reads an speaks,
Wi fouks that ken them, Latin wirds an Greeks.

SIR WILLIAM.

Where gets he beuks to read? an o what kind?
Tho some gie licht, some blinndly lead the blinnd

SYMON.

Whene'er he drives oor sheep to Edinburgh port,
He buys some beuks o history, sangs, or sport:
Nor dis he want o them a routh at will,
An cairies aye a pootchfu to the hill.
Aboot ane Shakspeare an a famous Ben,
He aften speaks, an ca's them best o men.
How sweetly Hawthornden an Stirlin sing,
An ane ca'd Cowley, loyal to his king,
He kens fou weel, an gars their verses ring.
I sometimes thocht he made ower great a fraise
Aboot fine poems, histories, an plays.
When I reproved him ance, a beuk he brings,
"Wi this," qo he, "on braes, I crack wi kings!"

SIR WILLIAM.

He answered well; an much ye gled my ear,
When sic accoonts I o my shepherd hear.
Readin sic beuks can raise a peasant's mind
Above a Lord's that isna thus inclined.

SYMON.

What ken we better, that sae sindle leuk,
Except on rainy Sundays, on a beuk;
When we a leaf or twa hauf read, hauf spell,
Till a' the rest sleep roond as weel's oorsel.

SIR WILLIAM.

Well jested, Symon. But ane question mair
I'll only ask ye nou, an then gie ower.
The youth's arrived the age when little loves
Flichter aroond young herts like cooin dous:
Haes no young lassie, wi invilin mien,
An rosy cheeks, the wonder o the green,
Engaged his leuk, an caught his youthfu hert?

SYMON.

I feared the warst, but kend the sma'est pairt,
Till late, I saw him twa three times mair sweet
Wi Glaud's fair niece, than I thocht richt or meet:
I haed my fears; but nou hae nocht to fear,
Since like yersel yer son will suin appear.
A gentleman enriched wi a' these chairms,
Mey bless the fairest, best-born, lady's airms.

SIR WILLIAM.

This nicht must end his unambitious fire,
When hiecher views shall greater thochts inspire.
Gae, Symon, bring him quickly here to me;
Nane but yersel shall oor first meetin see.
Yonder's my horse an servants nigh at hand;
They come juist at the time I gae command;
Straucht in my ain apparel I'll gae dress:
Nou, ye the secret mey to a' confess.

SYMON.