Rough Scan
SHOULD you ask me, whence these havers?
(Which, I know, is most unlikely),
Whence these stories and traditions,
With the Edinburgh accent,
With the flavour of Auld Reekie,
With the tinkle of the tea-cups,
With the lapper of the water-
Of the water "down the water"-
With their somewhat doubtful grammar,
And their more than doubtful spelling?
I should answer, I should tell you,
"From the fairest of all cities-
From the royal town of Edwin,
Swept with winds from every quarter,
Where the sea-gulls swoop and waver.
From the lone hills of Argyllshire,
Scented with the blooming heather,
Musical with many waters,
Where the tender gloaming lingers
Till the night has kissed the morning.
They are printed as she wrote them,
She the writer-Powsio-Wowsie."
Should you ask where Powsie-Wowsie
Found these tales, these perfect havers?
(With a rare desire for knowledge),
I should answer, I should tell you,
"In the haunts of men and women.
In the cosy, fire-lit kitchen,
In the way, of little children,
In the common talk of Nature.
All the pussies sang them to her,
Sang them purring on the hearth-rug;
Tatty fat, that ancient mother,
And the beauteous one-Delilah;
Granville Barker told his story,
Granville, better known as Samson;
Sparrows chirped their little legends
Pecking at the kitchen-window,
And she heard them, and she told them,
The Narrator, Powsie-Wowsie."
If still further you should ask me,
Saying, "Who was Powsie-Wowsie?
Tell urn of this Powsie-Wowsie,"
I should answer your inquiries,
In well-chosen words, as follows: -
"Look her up in handy Who's Who ?
Under 'P' perhaps you'll find her;
Is the date of birth withholden?
Then be sure she's somewhat olden.
Nothing said of noble forbears?
Then noblesse does not oblige her;
And her favourite amusements-
Could they just be talk and laughter?
If she is not there in Who's Who?
Then unknown is Powsie-Wowsie."
Ye who love the Scottish accent,
Love the proverbs of the people,
And the olden-time expressions,
Half-forgot for want of using,
Which recall the days of childhood
And the sweet familiar faces,
Listen to these simple legends,
To these tales of Powsie-Wowsie.
Ye whose minds are clear and powerful.
Who believe that, in all ages,
Every Scottish heart is Scottish;
That, in even English bosoms,
There are longings unsuspected
For the homely Northern language,
For the words they comprehend not-
Listen to this humble story,
To this tale of simple people.
Ye, who sometimes, in your journeys
To and from the crowded city,
Passing through a noisy station,
Pause by some attractive book-stall
For a while to muse and ponder
On the titles of the volumes-
Of the volumes price one shilling-
Writ with little skill of book-craft,
Homely stories, but each chapter
Full of hope that, some one reading,
Might be moved to healthful laughter;
Full of heartbreak, when the reader
Yawns with weariness unfeignèd;
Full of all the unseen pathos
Of the real and the ideal-
Stay and read this final chapter
Of the life of Powsie-Wowsie.