Rough Scan



This canticle’s the best ava,
=There’s fechtin’ and there’s thwackin’,
Canons and freirs frae kirk and ha’
=Are peltit and sent packin’;
Pu’pits and beelds are hackit sma’
There's guttin’ kists and hackin’,
And as the finish, to crown a’,
=Down comes the steeple crackin’

The sun was cockin’ now upon
The vera pin o’ Mid-day’s cone,
And frae his beryl-bernin’ throne,
=That loftily did low,
Scatter’t his great spring-flude o’ beams,
That whiten’d a’ th’ Eastnook wi’ gleams,
And made the Firth’s clear glassy streams
=In siller dance and row;
Nae cloud owr-head the lift did dim,
But i’ the wastern weddir-glim
A black up-castin’, with ane rim
=O’ darkness, lace’d the yerth,
Betakenin’ by the vapour’s form,
That in th’ Atlantic flude a storm
=Was lab’rin’ for a birth.

The hour o’ denner now was come,
And men grew hungry all and some,
=And cravin’ in their crap;
Frae five o’clock that they had risen
Sorry a flow had cross’t their gizen
=O’ solid or o’ sap;
In Lothian, and in ither pairts,
They denner’d well, wi’ cheirfu’ hearts,
=On tailyies fat and fine;
But in Sanct Androis town that day,
Man, wife, nor bairn, as I’ve heard say,
=Had na’ a heart to dine;
They were sae bent on cloister-guttin’,
And hackin’ images and cuttin’,
Ae thocht on beef or yet on mutton
=Nae man could safely spare;
He that was yesterday a glutton,
This day he didna care a button
=For belly or for fare:
Hunger and Anger are near-kin,
Whilk made them that bauld wark begin
Wi’ greater dirdom, wraith, and din,
Than they wud dune wi’ panget skin
=Plumpet wi’ vivers rare.

Sae in within the yetts they ran
Ramstam, rampagin’, wife and man,
Thousands, wi’ bitter winze and ban,
=Cast at the rotten bang,
That now, confoundit wi’ the steir,
Took to their heels in deidly fear,
To shelter them in kirk or queir
=Frae that in-pourin’ thrang;
Canon, the greasy monk, and prior,
Arch-dean, and ilka-colour’d freir,
The Pape’s hail fam’ly, fat and fere,
=Did in a mass forgather
Within their sacrify’d abodes,
Scougin’ themsel’s frae stanes and clods,
Aside their shrines and velvet-cods,
Their Lares and their household-gods,
=Frae siccan stalwart weather;
As Trojan wives, upon the nicht
Whan Priam’s palace bleezit bricht,
Huggit and kiss’t (a doolfu’ sicht!)
Altars and posts in ghastlie fricht,
=Makin’ loud scriechs and manes;
Saewise that cowl’d and girdlet fither,
Astoundit wi’ dumfounderin’ drither,
Ran throu’ the Hey-kirk hither-thither,
=Huggin’ their beilds and banes:
The doors were steek’d and boltit hard;
Wickets and windocks firmly barr’d;
But throu’ the doors and wa’s they heard,
=Ascendin’ from without,
The terrible stramash o’ tongues,
And winzes flung fram angry lungs,
And shouts o’ men wi’ picks and rungs,
=That huddlit round about;
Ilk man encouragin’ his feer,
Cryin’ aloud, To weir! to weir!
Down wi’ the Harlot and her geir!
=Assailzie! Strike! Destroy!
Whilst throu’ the windocks they did spy
Weir’s wild wud wappens wavin’ by;
Cuds, swerds, and halberts, heavit high,
Whase shadows ‘tween them and the sky
=Forebodit noucht but noy;
And surly faces, warst ava,
Horribly glumschin’ ane and a’,
=Or girnin’ into joy,
As they look’t up ilk lofty wa’,
Takin’ their meiths for its downfa’,
=That they may strike and stroy.

Thairat th’ assailzie did begin
Wi’ gallyies o’ loud-blairin’ din;
A thousand sticks, a thousand stanes,
Are throu’ the windocks dash’t at anes,
The garnish’t glass, the birnish’t lozens,
Are knocket in, and dash’t in dozens;
Great iron-sweys, great timmer-trams,
And meikle smitin’ batterin’—rams,
Swinget about by angry squads,
Gaif ilk hesiegit door sic dads,
They garr’d them crack and flee in blads;
Man, wife, nor bairn, of a’ that host,
Was idle, or was aff his post;
The little bairns threw little stanes,
And play’d upon the paintet panes;
The wives, as rampant in their mettle,
With idle foolitch neifs did ettle,
And wi’ their flytings fir’d the battle:
The men — here sax, there seven or aucht,
A batterin’-ram wi’ a’ their maucht,
Were swappin’ ‘gainst a portal straucht;
Here scores their pinches and their picks
Atween the ayslar stanes did fix,
=And rugg’t and rave them out;
Wi’ batter-ax some brak in sma’
The carvit wark and pillars bra,
Sendin’ the glory of the wa’,
=In fritter’t frush about;
Some to the windocks up did clamber,
And daddit in, wi’ chappin’-hammer,
=The staney-frames and lead;
Some delvit down wi’ spades and shools,
Deep, deep amid the yerth and mools,
Strivin’ wi’ howkin’ and wi’ diggin’
To bring th’ upsettin’ pridefu’ biggin’
=Laigh down amang the dead:
And some gat ladders large and lang,
On whilk they mountit and did spang,
Chasin’ ilk ither in a bang
=Up to the roofs on hie;
Owr whilk frae end to end they spread,
Like flock o’ locusts black and braid,
And rave frae rafter and frae riggin’
The capper that owr-clad the biggin’,
=Glitterand owr land and sea.

But, saftly, Muse! and tak mair time;
Be mair partic’lar in your rhime;
I wish to ken what chiftain first
Intill th’ expugnate kirk did burst?
What man assailzied with ane kick
The water-vat, and garr’d it quick
Gang rowin’ aff its silver styk?
Wha the Hey-altar over-coupit?
The graven idols aff wha soupit
Wha tumbled down the Card’nal’s pupit?
And monie ither famous thing,
Worthy o you to say and sing,
Albeit I be to write inding.

The batterin’-ram wi’ jowin’ jerk
Nae sooner brak the door o’ the kirk,
Whan Caryl’s bauld through-gain’ clerk
=Burst in wi’ sudden spang,
His left hand holdin’ up on-heicht
The borough-colours wavin’ bricht;
A halbert in his stalwart richt
=Up-stannin’ clean and lang;
He paus’d a wee on the dure-stane
Crying, "Hurra! my merry men!
Ha!  Satan’s toy-shop now is taen!
=Look up and see your spulzie!
March, birkies, ben, and follow me!"
Sae sayin’, wi triumphant glee,
He wav’t his pennon up on hie,
=The sign o’ march and tulzie;
Whilk whan the Papish folk beheld,
A gallyie o’ fierce wraith was yell’d
=Frae a’ within the kirk,
Mixt wi’ shrill skellochs o’ despair
As they espy’d gambadin’ there
=That lion-lookin’ clerk:
Yet, nat the less for his bauld look,
Great shoals o’ freirs, frae ilk kirk-neuk,
Men o’ weil-biggit frame and buik,
=Cam down upon him ruschin’,
Ettlin’, wi’ fuffin’ and wi’ pain,
To ding th’ assaulter back again,
And hurlin’ at his head a rain
=O’ creepie, stool, and cushion:
He lower’d down his braid-cheek’t wappen,
And round and round he held it swappin’,
To catch the fallows that mith happen
=To come within his cleik;
Will Cranstoun, that deil’s-buckie chap,
(A tap-thrawn monk wi’ roundit cap,)
Was the first man that caught a wap;
=He gal in on his cheek;
Wi’ its strang swing, the girdlet brither
Flew frae ae pillar to the tither,
=Syn in a stound did drap:
Tam Guillaum in his heavy gown
(A bummill kent throu’ a’ the town)
Was the neist man whase shaven crown
=Was hansel’d wi’ a swap;
The bummil felt the swap sae sair,
Backlins he stagger’t wi’ a rair
To Gamyl’s tomb, and hid him thair
=Fram onie mair wanhap;
And twenty mair sic rotten whelps
Gat on the haffets famous skelps,
That made them utter yells and yelps
=And tummle into trances;
Sae that the not’ry throu’ the wrack
O’ strewit shavelings in a crack
March’t wi’ his legion at his back
=With iron-gads and lances;
By this time, too, wi’ dreidfu’ din,
The windocks a’ were driven in,
=And heaps o’ ragin’ bodies
Cam streamin’ in throu’ ilk fenester,
Loupin’ ilk man than tither faster,
Red-wud for mischief and disaster,
=And brandishin’ their cuddies;
Sae that the kirk’s ilk batter’d side
Fram a’ her raggit loop-holes wide,
Lat in ane over-flowin’ tide
=O ragin’-wud assaulters;
That forcit into sma’er space
The Paip’s canallyie scant o’ grace
Garrin’ them fecht i’ th’ middle place
=For heartstanes now and altars:
And now the hail kirk east and wast
Was but ane hurlie-burlie vast
O’ fechters and defenders fast
=A’ toylin’ at the tulyie;
The Cross-kirk too was just as thrang
O’ bangsters that did ither ‘mang
=In hideous tulyie-mulyie;
Terrible thumps were glen and taken,
Whairby ten thousand ribs were shaken;
Nae man did spare his faeman’s bacon;
=Nae man cry’d, Hoolyie! Hoolyie!
Braid showther-blades now gat their paikin’,
Back-banes wi’ bastinads were shaken
=Down, down to their foundation:
Ilk wappen that cam frae the coast,
Was now in action by the host,
Swung round their huddlin’ heads and tost
=In windy agitation;
Battens and a’ kinkind o’ sticks,
Clodmells and barrow-trams and picks,
And handspakes that gave lounderin’ licks,
=Flicker’d in fierce vibration;
The vera wind o’ siccan werk
Blew down the mouse-webs black and mirk,
That had, up on the tap o’ th’ kirk,
=Twa hunder year been stickin’;
What wi’ the mouse-webs fram on hie,
And stour that frae their feet did flue,
Around their heads a canopie
=O’ mistie motes did thicken;
Sae that, half-hidden in the dark,
They labour’d at the fechtin’-wark,
But ilka man took weil his mark,
And, as he lounder’t strang and stark,
=Kent weil wham he was lickin’.

Around the bonnie siller-platter,
That did contein the Heilie water,
Twal canons bare the brunt and blatter
=By William Lauder backit,
Whase face wi’ crabbitness did grin,
And his flyte-poke aneath his chin
Priev’d he was in an angry pin
=To be thus-gate attacket;
The laird o’ Barns discern’t ere lang
That canker’d carl amid the gang,
Wha wi’ his accusation dang
=Gude Wishart to the dede,
The mem’rie o’ that wicket thing,
And cruel martyrdom inding
Was to his mind a ready sting,
=To prick him up to fede:
_Ah, cruel wratch!_ he thus began,
_Yet dost thou live, thou wicket man?_
_Whan he wham thy black tongue did ban_
=_Lies domn amang the dead!_
_Ah! happy me, if I can pay_
_Sma’ vengeance for that michtie wae:_
He drew his swerd out, saying sae,
=And wi’ a sturdy straik,
First his richt ear he clean aff-cleft,
And then he sneddit aff his left,
Leavin’ o’ baith his lugs bereft
=The head of that vile rake:
The wratch ran quiverin’ aff and quakin’,
Leavin’ his lugs to save his bacon;
=Happy it sae had endit,
For had he gat his just desert,
His tongue, the rogue’s maist peccant pain,
=Had frae his mou’ been rendit:
But whan Kilbrachmont by that taken
The water-ewer saw forsaken,
=Nor langer weil defendit,
He rush’d upon it with a spang,
And wi’ a monstrous kick down-dang
The styk o’ silver rich and lang
=That did up-hald the platter;
The vat flew mair than twenty paces,
Strenkellin’, a’ round, the fechtar’s faces,
=Wi’ its out-waffin’ water;
The stick, extirpate wi’ the blaw,
Clean owr the flure frae wa’ to wa’
=Gaed rowin’ wi’ a clatter.

Whilst styk and vat was dingin’ down,
A troop, saul-thirsty for renown,
The scholars of Sanct Androis town,
Ilk ane in dud o’ scarlet gown,
=Gaed ‘tween the wa’s and pillars,
Ravagin’ on, a furious squade,
The Regent Douglas at their head,
Seekin’ for beelds to ding them dead,
That they mith spread their name abread
=As famous image-killers:
Ilk tirlie-wirlie mawment bra,
That had, for cent’ries ane or twa,
Brankit on pillar or on wa’,
=Cam tumblin’ tap-owr-tail;
The gifts o’ Cardinals and Paips,
Owr-fret wi’ spanglet gowden-caps,
=And siller vest or veil,
Aneath the straik o’ learnit gown,
Cam divin’ on the pavement down,
Ilk ane upon its marble crown
=Smashin’ itsel’ to splinders;
A saint or image in a niche,
That wont to glitter there sae rich,
Enflamin’ folk to sic a pitch —
The sorrow ane was left o’ such;
=The haill were frush’d to finders:
Much glory frae that plunder-bout
Ilk learnit gown, withouten doubt,
=May challenge and may claim;
Exceptin’ Crail’s bautd wabster-band,
For idol-breakin’ strength o’ hand,
Nane may the guerdon sae demand,
=Or share sae weil the fame.

Meantime a fier o’ lairds, close groupit,
Besiegit weil the mickle pu’pit;
It was the Cardinal’s ain kirk-loom;
He brocht it in a ship frae Rome;
‘Twas a’ owr-carv’d wi’ saints and fairies,
And tirlie-wirlies and fleegaries,
And cardinals’-hats and Virgin Maries;
Fram it he us’d, on gala-days,
Busk’t in his bravitie o’ claes,
To pitter-patter and to phrase:
The vera sicht o’ that vain loom
Recallit Beaton up and Rome;
The lairds wox wudder aye and wudder;
They drew their swerds, and, in a pudder,
Attack’t it fierce as fire or fudder;
They hack’t it sae wi’ swerd and dirk,
Splenders and bits at ilka yerk
Gaed fleein’ round throu’ a’ the kirk;
Never was sakeless dask o’ timmer
Sae persecute and put to cummer;
What wi’ their gulligaws and gashes,
The pu’pit had been driv’n to smashes,
And not ae scrap had ‘scap’d that stour
To busk the bein’ ha’ o’ Balfour,
Hae mercy ilk man wi’ his gullie!
Leave but a crumb o’ this kirk-loom,
Memorial o’ the power o’ Rome,
And my Lord Card’nal’s bottom-room!"
This said, they a’ their showthers stoopit,
And whummel’d up the muckle pu’pit.

Thus they; but battle’s fiercest beir
Was ragin’ the Hey-altar near;
_That_ was the crater o’ the steir,
The vera navel o’ the weir;
Lord Prior James had stood there lang,
Rallyin’ and gen’rallin’ his gang;
But seein’ Papists’ side gae wrang,
Out at the Chanc’llor’s-door he flang:
A howdle o’ hog-showtherin’ freirs,
Augustines, Carm’leits, Cordeliers,
=He bauldly left ahent,
To be that altar’s body-guard,
And bide the buff o’ loul and laird,
=As he flew owr the bent:
Than skippers, tailzeours, lairds, and hinds,
Fludes o’ mad burghers a’ kinkinds,
Dissim’lar men, but sim’lar minds,
=In formidable sailyie,
Cam’ whurrin’ in like cats on rattens,
Swappin’ their handspakes and their battens,
=And ither mad artailyie;
Then mells cam’ down on gowden pyx;
Cud quarrell’d it wi’ crucifix;
And crosiers and candlesticks
In th’ air excambied furious licks
Wi’ aiken-rungs and chappin’-sticks:
=Was never sic a squabble!
Hood, cord and round-cap, cowl and clout,
In tatter-wallops flew about;
Trodden were wafers under-foot;
And than sic skellochin’ and shout,
Frae conquerin’ and conquer’d rout!
=Was never sic a yabble!
If e’er there was sic strife and clatter,
Fracas o’ tongues and bellerin’ blatter,
=‘Twas at the towr o’ Babel!
The Cross-kirk rang wi’ scolds and flytes;
The Main-kirk rang wi’ slaps and smites;
=Pell-mell, thwack! hiddie-giddie!
There were sic gouffs, and youffs, and swaks,
On heads and bellies, sides and backs,
If onie whair are heard sic cracks,
=‘Tis in a blacksmith’s smiddie!
Not frae the blacksmith’s study rush
Sae thick the sparks and hammer-flush,
As then did devel, dunt, and dusch,
=Makin’ the ee-sicht giddie;
Aiblins they’d focht till candle-licht,
Had not a stieve braid-showther’d wicht,
My great-great-grandsher, in his micht,
=Ran on them wi’ a spang;
Meal-melvied as he was, I wot,
The meal cam fleein’ aff his coat,
=As up the kirk he sprang;
He caucht John Caldcleugh by the thrapple,
And made him tirvie down and tapple
=Head-foremest wi’ a bang:
He clench’t Tam Tottis (Johnie’s brither),
And garr’d him waigle hither-thither,
=Syn on the flure him flang:
Arch-dean John Wynram he did sip;
He caucht Prior Guthrie on the hip;
He garr’d fat hoastin’ Forman skip;
Principal Cranston he did trip;
He wi’ his fingers’ furious nip
=Half-strangled Canon Strang:
Great Ajax, whan he waxit daft,
Bang’d na the puir sheep owr the taft,
As my great-grandsher bang’d and baf't
=That rotten Papist gang
Sic doings were owr het to last;
The Papists could na bide that blast;
Astonay’d, gumple-fac’d, aghast,
Out at the Dortour-door, fu’ fast,
Hurry-scurry, they birr’d and brast,
=Wi’ blastin’ and wi’ puffin’;
The Chanc’llor’s dure was pang’d alsae;
Ilk man, brain-mad to get away,
Kickin’ the neist to garr him gae,
On’s mooly-heel rapt horny tae;
=And out-ran, fisslin’, fuffin’
Meantime my grandsher and some others,
The Laird o’ Grange, and John Carruthers,
In chevalrie twin-bairns and brothers,
=The altar fierce attacket;
Missal and mawment, pyx and tass,
The haill machinery o’ the mass
=Were soupit down and swacket;
The marble slabs, the gowden-gilt,
And frettit-wark was stroy’d and split;
That great show-shop of idol-ware,
Gather’t for near four hundred year,
Graham’s, Gamyl’s, Pai’s, and Arnold’s gear,
Rome’s michtie mummery heapit there —
=Was in a mament wracket!
The kirk, meantime, was turnin’ thinner
O’ vile mass-worshipper and sinner;
They saw their Capitol now shaken,
Their great Palladium tash’d and taken,
Sae, out at ilk door, quiverin’, quakin’,
=They birringly did bicker;
Men never, wi’ sic whoslin’ breath,
Fram th’ instantaneous grip o’ death
=Flew funiouser or quicker:
Doors wadna serve to let them gang;
Furth at the windocks too they sprang;
Terrible stends they took and lang,
=To ‘scape frae that kirk-bicker;
In kirkyard or in abbey-ground
They tarry’d not ae single stound;
They couldna think their heads their ain
Ere they were fairly fled and gane:
Sae out at ilka abbey-yett
Baith south, and east, and wast, they sett
=Out-owr the kintra fast;
Strathtyrum’s bonnie banks were black
Wi’ freirs, all-fleein’ in a pack,
Wi’ tatterwallops at their back,
=And faces clean down-cast;
Some took the road to Cupar-town.
Some to the Anster coast ran down;
Some bicker’d to Balmer’nie; some
To Falkland, ere they stap’d, did come;
Some landit up at Tullilum
=Wi’ stammachs clung and clappit;
For therty miles a’ round about,
The land was cover’t wi’ that rout,
=That ran and never stappit;
The roads and fields, as if wi’ buds,
Were strawn wi’ rags and bits o’ duds,
=That frae their showthers drappit;
Sic wrack, and ruin, and deray,
Was never in Scotland syn that day
When scatter’t Southrons in dismay
Frae Bannockburn’s eventfu’ day
=Ran on and never stappit.
As they were fleein’ thus abread,
Kirk-spulyie, herriement, and raid,
=Gaed on mair fast then ever;
In the Main-kirk three thousand folk
Carv’t wark and arch and pillar broke;
Through the Cross-kirk twa thousand ran
Batterin’ awa’, ilk angry man,
=Wi’ hammer, axe, and lever;
A thousand bodies on the riggin’
Tirr’d and unroof’t the pridefu’ biggin’;
Great faulds o’ capper aff were flypit;
Great sheets o’ braid lead aff were rippit;
The folk aboon in joy down-lookit
Throu’ holes that their ane hands had howkit,
=Hallooin’ them below;
The folk below cast up their een,
Gazin’ on sky and heevin’s sheen,
Throu’ sky-lichts whair late nocht was seen
But ceiling dark and rafter-treen, —
=And shoutit back, Hurro!
Sae ilka man provok’t his brither,
And the hail tot gaed on thegither,
Vyin’ in strife wi’ ane anither
=At ravagin’ and ruggin’;
Nae thing was prosperin’ there and thrivin’,
But tirlin’ roofs and rafter-rivin’,
And pullin’ down and puggin’;
Weil as they thriv’d aboon in plunder,
I think, they prosper’t better under;
For now the vestry was attacket;
Presses and kists were hew’d and hackit,
Wi’ huge rapacitie and racket;
Out-flew unwillin’ to the licht,
The gard-rob’s bravities sae bricht,
For Haly-days stor’d up aricht;
Hands of unhallow’t men out-dragget
Pai’s velvet-cods wi’ silver taggit,
And wi’ their swerds them hash’t and hagget
Makin’ them shabby cods and ragget.
The bawdekyns and cloth o’ gold,
Stoles, towals, vestments manifold,
The snaw-white albs wi’ their parures,
Fannouns and ither garnitures,
The chesybyls wi’ spangles thick,
And Beaton’s ain dear dalmatick,
The hail o’ them, by lawit fists,
Were haurl’d and howkit frae their kists:
For Paip’s anathema or ban
Car’d not a bodle onie man;
And monie ane that day did herrie
Braw spulyie frae the vestiary;
The piper o’ the brogh o’ Crail
Ran aff wi’ ae priest’s-vestment hail;
The town’s-drummer o’ Cellardyke
Stole Beaton’s ain dear dalmatyke;
(He wore it lang on king’s birth-days,
Like a cur-sackie owr his claes,
Whan drummin’ throu’ the public ways;)
Twa Regents o’ Sanct Androis town,
(Their names I sanna here set down,)
Stole ane a stole, and ane a gown;
But David Barclay had mair sense;
In spulyiein’ he shaw’d craft and mense,
For albs or priestly vestiments
=He didna care a plack;
He saw the styk o’ th’ water-ewer
Glittenin’ temptation on the flure;
He cleek’t it up, and to the dure
=He bangit in a crack;
And hame as fast as feet could carry
He hurry’d frae that fierie-farie;
That siller styk, for monie a year,
Dan David, ‘mang his ither gear,
=Fu’ carefullie did keep;
His bairn’s-bairns lang stor’d it well;
But now it’s gane — as I hear tell;
Tairge them about it now — they’ll say,
_O’ sic ane styk untill this day_
=_We never heard a cheep!_
Time, thus, wi’ meikle greedy mou’,
Swallows up auncient things and true,
And leaveth nocht to modern hashes
But idle tales and empty clashes.

Whilst Barclay wi’ the silver styk
Was owr the King’s-muir runnin’ quick,
=The kirk was a’ displenish’t,
Of idols there remain’t not ane;
Priest’s-claes and busking-clouts were gane;
Capper and thack-lead aff were tane;
=Kirk-guttin’ clean was finish’t;
Except bare wa’s and lime and stane,
O’ that kirk’s brav’ries left was nane;
=Her glorie was diminish’t;
Neth’less the meikle middle tow’r,
Wi’ her lang spindly sisters four,
Stood glowrin’ a’ the kintra owr,
Up-struttin’ in their pride o’ pow’r
=As gawcy as afore;
As lang as they stood brankin’ sae
Nae man could safelie brag and say
That down unto the grund that day
=Was brocht the Papal glore;
The gildit crucifix that shone
The great mid-steeple’s tap upon,
Sae lang as it near heevin should stand,
‘Twas but a sign to sea and land,
That, shelter’t underneath that taken,
Rome’s power, though shatterit and shaken,
=Yet in our land micht live;
And aiblins on some after-time,

Blude-nurs’d by Guise micht yet sublime
=Ereck her head and thrive;
Thairfor, out frae the huddlin’ crowd
Ane College-regent bangin’, stood
Heigh on a graff-stane up, and loud
=Bespak the listnin’ people;
Gae, get Deaf Meg and Crookit Mou’;
Stech their how hungry stammachs fou;
And wi’ them batter till it bow
=The meikle middle steeple;
Gif ance yon cross were yerdlins come,
Than, than, I’ll think the pride o’ Rome
To be doun-cast, and seal’d her doom
=Within our land for ever;
And our twa friends, I’ll whisper you,
Dinnelin’ Deaf Meg and Crookit Mou’
Allenarlie that feat can do;
=There’s nane can crack sae clever:
Nae sooner was the hint thrawn out,
Than sax-score fallows swank and stout,
=Down till the Castill flew;
And wi’ great poust o’ arm and leg
The dinnelin’ and dure Deaf Meg,
And her sour sister lang and big,
=Out frae their port-holes drew;
In twenty minutes a’ the men
Return’t mair hearty back agen,
Wi’ cords and cables, micht and main,
Haulin’ the iron sisters twain,
=Wi’ whoopin’ and halloo;
In thirteen minutes they were plantit
Wi’ mickle mou’s that gap’t and gauntit,
Threatnin’ wi’ their first puff o’ breath
To blaw the bottoms out aneath
=The steeple’s buirdly length;
They needit but ae single spark
To kendle them for that dure wark,
=And try their spit-fire strength;
Out frae their throats wi’ frichtsom gowl,
As if a’ Scylla’s dogs did howl,
Baith fire and soot and shot did rowl;
Meg never frae her chokit thrapple
Garr’d sae the bullets roar and rapple;
Crook-Mou’ did never in sic ire
Vomit, wi’ hurly-burly dire,
Hen stammach-fu’ o’ airn and fire:
The pond’rous steeple wi’ the brattle
Did vibrate back and fore, and rattle;
Frae her four stuttin’ pillars stout
Lumps of out-batter’t stane fell out
=Enwrappit wi’ their lime;
And meikle pieces mair and mair
Down tumblin’ laid the inside bare,
As the re-loadit sister-pair
Aye guller’t out wi’ awfu’ rair
=Their charges ilka time.

As thir twa bombards on the ground
Were thunderin’ wi’ an awesome sound,
Up i’ the sky, wi’ michtier clutter,
The clouds begoud their voice to utter,
And correspondinglie to mutter;
For now the vapours dark and dim,
That a’ day in the welkin’s rim
Had nurs’d themsels owr ocean’s brim
=Wi’ waters frae her wave,
Now up the sky had spread and run,
And wi’ ane horrid tempest dun
Had worry’d up the splendid sun,
Narrowin’ the ether’s bricht expanse
Into a black-hung uglie trance
=As gloomie as the grave;
Great, gourlie, goustrous-lookin’ clouds
Seem’d jundyin’ i’ the air wi’ thuds,
And on the towns, and fields, and woods,
Out frae their fissures pour’d the floods
=They’d borrow’t frae the sea;
Whilst thunder-vollies, peal on peal,
And fudder-flashes mixt wi’ hail,
Garr’d bodies tremmle and turn pale,
=And kye on mountains flee;
And little fishes, in the deep,
Down to their laighest bottoms creep,
And there their tangly coverts keep,
That they mith not behauld the sweep
=O’ fire-slaucht from on hie;
Own auld Sanct Androis city maist
The fury o’ that storm did rest;
Own her Hie-kirk, maist dark and dour
The thunder-vapour seem’t to lowr,
As if upon the mid-most tow’r
The cloud concentratit its power;
Men lookit up wi’ fear and dreid
On the pit-mirkness own their heid,
Expeckin’ some fell thing indeed;
And as they lookit, in a stound,
There cam a crack, that wi’ its sound,
Gann’d dinnel a’ the houses round,
=And the haill hill to shake;
At that sam mament rent asunder
Fnae cross aloft to bottoms under,
By the tremendous pith o’ thunder,
The cannon-batter’t steeple fell,
Spire, arches, bantizan, and bell,
Wi’ roarin’ ruin tennibell,
=Maist like to ane earthquake;
Masses o’ stane, enormous blads,
Down on the kirk, wi’ dunderin’ dads,
=Tremendouslie cam tumblin’;
That wa’s, roofs, pillars did confound
In ae destruction round and round,
Makin’ the haill kirk-yard rebound
=Wi’ rattlin’ and wi’ rumblin’
A cloud o’ limy stouff and stour,
In spite o’ the thick-gushin’ shower
=Flew whirlin’ up to heevin,
As fain the thunder-cloud to meet
And gratulate on hie, and greet
=The fiery-winget levin’;
Wi’ rubbish and wi’ frush that flew
Dinnelin Deaf Meg and Crookit Mou’
Were maistlins bury’d up, I trow,
And whelmit clean frae bodies’ view,
=But it was wonder-luck,
That wi’ the smashery o’ stane,
Man, wife, nor bairnie, there was nane
Murder’t, on maimit, or owr-tane,
Wi’ breakin’ on o’ skull or bane;
=Nae wicht was scaith’d or struck;
Sic tent they’d taken ane and a’
To stand a gudly space awa
Frae that descendin’ steeple’s fa’,
And keep themsets scant-free and hail
Frae banes-breakin’ on ither bale.

Whan they beheld that steeple’s ruin
The yird wi’ smokin’ shivers strewin’,
They kent richt weil their endit wark,
The consummation o’ their dark;
And hamewarts bairn, and wife, and man,
Helter-skelter they skelp’t and ran,
The faster for the hail and rain
That peltit on their pows wi’ pain;
As they intill their chambers gat,
Down to their suppers then they sat:
They’d need o’ cheese and bread, I wat,
After the lang darg they’d been at.

But whan the Pape in Vatican
Heard o’ the puir freirs how they ran,
And how, despisin’ bull on ban,
Fife’s fechtin’ bodies, wife and man,
=His kirk had spulyied sae,
Three days he in his mournin’-chalmer,
Sat greetin’ wi’ ane eerie yamer
Makin’ the Tiber ring wi’ clamour
=And echoes o’ his wae;
The College, too, o’ Cardinalls,
They cast aside their fal-de-ralls,
And spacier’d weepin’ throu’ their halls
=In doolfu’ claes o’ black;
And ilka monk wi’ grane and gaunt
Made a heart-rendin’ mulligrant,
=And pat on claith o’ sack;
As throughout Scotland there was joy,
And gladness at that spulyie-ploy,
Sae throughout a’ the Papal lands,
Was noucht but grief and wringin’ hands,
And sichan’ ‘mang the monkish bands,
=Allace me! and Allack!