David Rorie


For this book of collected verse I have chosen as title--"The Lum Hat Wantin' the Croon."

Why? Well, I wrote the song one fine summer night nearly forty-five years ago in an English manufacturing town, where the mere thought of a Highland burn in spate was as an ice-cold draught in a parched land. For the singing of it a tune had to be composed--if the word can be rightly used by a man who does not know a note of music--and the finished product was duly "tried out" on some of my fellow-countrymen. Later, it was published. It was sung in Ladysmith during the siege, and amongst Scots troops in the Great War; I have heard of it in convivial journalistic "howffs" in Fleet Street; in our own Highlands, and on the Indian frontier; in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S.A., and the South Sea Islands. From all these places, and many more, I have had letters to tell me the writers had either sung it or heard it sung. It can he got on gramophone records; it is included in The British Students' Song Book; and it turns up on BBC programmes. So perhaps, after all this public service, it is worthy of promotion to a book title.

As a previous volume, "The Auld Doctor," has now been some time been out of print and is still asked for, it has been given a section to itself.*

Some of the new poems have appeared in The Scots Magazine, The Aberdeen University Review, Alma Mater, and elsewhere, and for permission to reprint these I make due acknowledgment of the courtesy shown by the editors concerned.

And now, as I am finally leaving a gangrel's stance on the lower slopes of Helicon, I would say to many good Friends--Ave atque Vale!


* Owing to the existing need of economising space the sectional arrangement has had to be abandoned.


O, SILLER'S guid an siller's braw
An puirtith ill to thole,
But dear's the price o gaithert gear
Gin the price should be your saul.
Sae be ye laird or be ye caird
Or yerl o hiech degree,
Lay by the wark ye hae in haun
An herken weel to me,
While I shall tell o Jock Macneil,
A smith o byous skeel-
O duil an wae, it a' cam frae
His dealin's wi the Deil!
For Jock haed made an awesome pack,
An by't he maun abide,
That gin he was the foremaist smith
In a' the kintra-side,
Ten guid lang year to hammer on
An blaw his smiddy coal,
Ten guid lang year to gaither gear-
The Deil should hae his saul.
Ae winter's nicht when flecks o snaw
Cam spitterin' doon the lum,
As stiddy rang nae blythe voice sang,
Jock wrocht 's gin he was dumb.
Nae blythe voice sings as stiddy rings
When the he'rt is fou o wae-
Nine year an mair haed past, an noo
But seeven short months to gae.
O, the smiddy door flang open wide
Wi a blast o the gurly win',
An leadin' his mear a bairdit man
An auld cam stoiterin' in.
"Noo whaur gang ye, ye silly auld man,
O, whaur gang ye sae late?
The track to the foord is smoort wi snaw,
An the burn's a roarin spate."
"An wad ye mell wi my affairs?
Far, far, am I frae hame!
It's miles ayont I buid to be
Haed the white mear no gane lame."
"I amna thrang, it taksna lang
To shae an auld white mear,
See, pit that feed aneth her heid
An set ye on that chair.
"Noo what be ye, ye silly auld man,
Noo what be ye to trade,
An what can ye lay in my haun to pey
For this shae that I hae made?"
"A saunt am I frae Heeven on hiech,
I hinna gowd nor gear,
But I can grant your he'rt's desire-
Three wishes ye mey speir,
An wi the wishes I'll pey ye, smith,
For the shoein' o my white mear."
"There's a pear-tree oot i' the gairden there,
Ye canna see't for snaw,
I wish whae'er mey sklim intil't
Bides till I say 'Awa!'"
"A grant, a grant! O feckless wish!
Wi fear my he'rt's opprest!
Twa wishes yet ye hae to speir,
An dinna forget the best!"
"D'ye see that chair ye're sittin on,
Wi the lang an gizzent back?
Whae'er sits on't e'en lat him sit
Till I bid him rise an walk."
Up rase the saunt afore he said,
"O fuil, ye stan' confest!
Aince mair a grant! But ae wish left
Noo, dinna forget the best!"
"See, here's a purse het frae my pooch,
A purse o linkit chain,
Mey a' livin' things that creep intil't
At my biddin' there remain!"
"O, I maun rise, an I maun rin,
An I maun saidle an ride,
An I maun reach the yetts o Heeven
This nicht whate'er betide,
For ye've tint the best that man can wish
At the ca' o earthly pride!"
'twas a braw, braw nicht, weel on in hairst,
Wi niver a braith o win',
When Jock was switin' ower his darg
An the Deil cam dannerin' in.
"It's a fine nicht, Jock," says the muckle black Deil,
"An it's a' that, Deil," says Jock,
"What kin o weather has't been doon-bye,
An hoo is a' your folk?"
Auld Hornie girnt, "I hinna come
For a lang twa-haunit crack:
Lay by that wark ye're warkin' on
For I maun hist me back."
"E'en lat me finish this guid horse shae,
Syne I'm at your comman',
An ye can try thae pears ootbye
That's hingin to your haun!"
"I'll lat ye finish that guid horse shae
As ye hae it in haun,
An I'll slocken my mou wi the bonny wee pears
Till ye're at my comman'."
As throw the winnock he keekit oot
Jock saw wi unco glee
The Deil eat a' that he could rax
Syne sklim intil the tree.
"I hae ye noo, freen' Nickie Ben!
I hae ye by the horn,
An the auld pear-tree shall be your bed
Till the cock craws in the morn!"
O, sair the Dell he tried to flit,
He banned wi a' his poo'er,
He warselt weel, but ne'er a fit
Frae the pear-tree wan attour.
"Anither ten year, a bargain fair,
Or I sit wi ye in hell,
Shak haun's on't ower this yird-fast stane
That's stannin' by the well!"
Anither ten year o gaitherin' gear,
Anither ten year o pride,
Jock leukit roon' ae braw hairst e'en
An the Deil was at his side.
"Ay, aince again your tack's rin oot,
An this time nae denial,
For a full ten year I've grantit clear
By the shadow on the dial!"
"E'en lat me finish this braw horse shae
An that's a' my deman',
While ye can try thae pears ootbye
That's hingin to your haun."
"O, I winna fash wi pears the nicht,
I'm some distraucht inside,
I thank ye kindly-a' the same
It's here I'm gaun to bide."
"The while I finish this braw horse shae,
The wark I hae in haun,
E'en tak the chair ye see ower there,
Ye weel mey sit as stan'."
Doon sat the Deil intil the chair
Wi the lang an gizzent back,
In sudden fear he strave to rise
An niver a mudge could mak.
"I hae ye noo, Auld Nickie Ben,
I hae ye by the tail,
An ye shall sit till the dews o morn
Pits pearlins on the kale!
"Ye needna flyte, ye needna ban,
Ye needna rug an teir,
Or I raise my finger an bid ye walk
Ye're thirlt till the chair!"
"Anither ten year'll I gie ye, Jock,
Gin ye but set me free,
An I'll pey ye back at the en' o the tack
For the chair an the auld pear-tree."
Anither ten year o gaitherin' gear,
Anither ten year o pride,
An Jock stude still wi cockit lug
As the Dell stepped saft ootside,
Syne yokit till his shae again
Wi dirdum an wi din,
But ae ee on the smiddy door
As the Auld Ane sidled in.
"Twice hae I come to tak ye, Jock,
An twice ten year ye've thieved,
Thrice wi the glam'rie o your tongue
I winna be deceived!"
"E'en lat me finish this wee horse shae,
An I'm at your comman',
An ye can try thae pears ootbye
That's hingin to your haun."
"O, fruit's no gangin' wi my he'rt,
Nor yet wi my inside,
I'll no say but ye wish me weel
But here I'm gaun to bide."
"Then while I finish this wee horse shae,
The wark I hae in haun,
What ails ye at the chair ower there?
Ye weel mey sit as stan'."
"My feet is cauld, I winna sit,
It sets me better to stan',
The while ye finish the wee horse shae,
The wark ye hae in haun."
"O, a' folks say ye're clever, Deil,
That unco things ye dae,
Ye can mak yersel' as muckle's ye like-
Noo tell me is that sae?"
He haes swall'd himsel, an better swall'd,
As the wind swalls oot a sail,
He haes swall'd himsel, an better swall'd
Till ye couldna see his tail,
He haes sookit in air, an he's sookit in reek,
He's sookit in soot an stour,
Till his horns gaed cracklin' throw the ruif
An his hurdies throw the door.
"Ye winna beat that," roars the muckle black Deil,
"Lang, lang, altho ye try,
I can best ye there, my gallant smith,
An I'll han'le ye yet forby!"
"Man, for the poo'er to dae siclike
I wadna gie a curse-
Lat's see ye mak yersel' as sma'
As creep intil this purse."
Nae horny-golloch is sae sma'
As the Deil's noo made himsel,
Intil the purse o linkit chain
He's creepit heid an tail.
Jock's snappit the purse o glist'rin' steel,
The purse o linkit chain,
He's leuch to hear Auld Hornie squeal
To be latten oot again.
"I hae ye noo, Auld Nickie Ben!
I hae ye hide an hair!
An I'll ding ye harns an horns an hoofs
Till ye binna sweir to swear
That aye frae here ye'll bide awa,
An herry me nae mair!"
Wi's hammer he's dang him harns an hoofs
An horns an hide an hair,
Till he's passed his wird as Yerl o Hell
He'd herry him nae mair.
Noo, at lang last the smith grew nirlt
An frail, an fou o years,
Till ae cauld nicht he sough'd awa
Like the feck o his forebears.
An when he cam to the yetts o Heeven,
O, wha is stan'in there,
Wi's lang, lang baird, but the silly auld man
That aucht the auld white mear.
"Ye needna fleech nor yet beseech
Nor mak nae prayers to me,
For ye didna wish the ae best wish
When ye was offered three."
Jock heard it a' an turned awa
An hooly gaed his pace,
As be traivelt doon the weel-trod track
That leads till the Ill Place.
An there he saw the yetts set wide,
Set wide against the waa
While Symie's brookit bourachie
Was playin' at the baa.
The Deil glowrt thrice ablow his haun
When Jock he did espy,
Syne stappit twa fingers intil's mou
An whustl't them a' inbye.
He's clashed thegither his iron yetts
Wi dirdum an wi din,
He's chackit the tails aff a dizzen wee deils
That was late o scram'lin' in.
"Na! A' my folk they ken ye, Jock,
Ken ye an a' your gear,
Sae we're seekin' nae pears, an we're seekin' nae chairs,
An we're seekin' nae purses here!
"For ye arena fish, an ye arena flesh,
Nor guid reid herrin are ye,
Wi the Orra Folk at the Auld Cross Roads
Is whaur your stance maun be."
It's no a place ye'd ca' a place
Whaur Jock bides year by year,
In hopes o pittin' anither shae
On Peter's auld grey mear,
An wishin' the ae best wish o a'
Gin three he's glen to speir.
Sae be ye caird or be ye laird,
An be ye seek or weel,
Whate'er your kind, bear aye in mind
The fate o Jock Macneil.
For siller's guid an siller's braw
An puirtith sair to thole,
But dear's the price o gaithert gear
Gin the price should be your saul.

The Deil and Jock Macneil is a free rendering in verse of a Scots folk-tale which was a favourite recitation of the late Professor Crum Brown. It is a variant of one of the many "cheat-the-Devil" stories current throughout Europe, a good--if elaborated--Flemish example being given by De Coster in Smetse Smee. "The yird-fast stane," A bargain made over an earth-fast stone was of old held to be specially binding.


A MILESTANE'S aside the road,
Like me it's gey an aul',
Ye'll easy mak oot a' it says
For a' it says is "twal";
Ay, twal mile to some toon
Whauriver it mey be,
An be it twal or twenty mile
It's a' ane to me.
O wumman's love I niver kent
An weel it was for her-
An me, for some gey randies
Sticks closer nor a burr.
It's fine to ken I'm by mysel
Wi a lane weird to dree,
An twal mile frae some toon,
It's a' ane to me.
My hame's whaur nicht mey finnd me,
Gin folks lat weel alane,
An tho there's routh o little else
There's routh o ling an stane,
For I was born aside the road
An by the road I'll dee,
Be't twal mile frae some toon
It's a' ane to me.

TIME WAS (1926)

"TIME was"--in the Gaelic he thunnert
Wi the air fou o stour,
Frae the brods that his twa nieves haed duntit
For mair than an hoor-
"When the weemin o this congregation
Could sit on their hair"--
An his een, like a gled's, seekit a' gait
For shingl't heids there
Regairdless o Paul's holy flytin
On earlier flirts -
"But noo they will no finnd it easy
To sit on their skirts."
The kirk skailt, an traivellin' hamewan
At Sabbath-like pace,
While the men said the wirds o the preacher
Was pang-fou o grace,
The weemin o that congregation,
Gey mim-mou'd an grim,
At the back o their minds wisna thinkin
Sae muckle o him.


JOCK TOD was gey sma'-boukit
An Meg a strappin quean,
But when he speirt her mind o things
The answer suin was gien,
"Och, ay! I think I'll tak ye, lad,
I'll tak ye jist because-
Weel, a' that I can see o ye
Is a' there iver was."
No, i' the uptak, Jock, puir sowel,
Was niver unco gleg,
He scartit at his tousy pow
The while he glumphed at Meg;
He turned the maiter ower, an syne
Says he, "I wudna fret,
For a' that there mey be o me
Is a' ye'll iver get."
They went throw life thegither
An shared its smiles an froons,
To finnd the warl' gey like themsels-
A thing o ups an doons.
Sae, at lang last, when Jock gaed aff
Feet foremaist ower the brae,
Meg grat, "Weel, a' I haed o him
Was a' there was to hae."


IS'T me, ye're seekin'? O, ye're on the hike?
An makkin' for Auldadam? Was ye, tho?
An they haed telt ye it was fairly warth the while
To tak a peth, a short cut, like,
That lands ye at the toon an saves a guid three mile?
An that the shepherd-ay, that's me!-
Wad pit ye on it gin ye speirt at him?
Wha telt ye that? O, ay, the merchant,
The mannie at the shoppie doon the road?
(Gin I haed but his craig in thae twa haun's
I'd rax it for him weel!
The hunker-slidin' bleck!
The coorse ill-deedie chiel!
He's ne'er forgi'en me ower that bogie-rowe
I haunit back till him a twalmont syne
Stinkin' o ile, an wi a bittie twine
Fair i' the he'rt o't-the wee clarty swick!
But, fegs, there's ane can conter's ilka trick
An that ane's me!
Weel dis he ken it, sae he tried to lowse
A' thae bare-leggit limmers on the hills
To gar my yowes
Play helty-skelty ; but wi a' his wile
I'll live to see him yet whaur he should be,
An that's the jile!)
The peth, is't, lassie? Dod, it's growin dark
An gey an like a guid ding-on o rain!
O, ye're no feart at rain? Ye aften hike?
Losh, lassies noo hae bigger he'rts than men!
Ye're used wi gaun alane? Heard iver folk the like!
Ye hae guid title, lass, to wier the breeks
E'en a thocht langer than ye dae the nicht.
The peth, ye said? Weel, when ye're at the brig
Haud fair up throw the plantin' on your left
An dinna heed altho ye hear some orra skreeks-
It's jist the ouls: ay, naethin but the ouls.
What's foshen them? To get their suppers, lass!
They've mair adae o nichts than sit an sleep:
That plantin's fairly hotchin fou o mice,
Ye'll fin' the deid leaves sotterin' under fit:
A rale divert it is the wey the craturs cheep!
Hoo big's the plantin'? Weel, noo, lat me see-
Ten meenutes' traivel easy taks ye throw,
Wi'oot ye hae to bide an scoug the rain.
Syne, aince ye clear the trees ye'll see a knowe-
It whiles gies oot a queer uncanny shine:
I've heard my grannie say that lang, lang syne
A man, his wife an bairns a' teuk the pest
An dee'd, for nane wad iver come them near.
Sae a' the neebors happit yird an stanes
Ower the bit hoosie, oot o mortal fear,
An in the knowe, there, lies their puir white banes.
By nicht my collie winna pass it. Na!
His birse gets up an he aye taks the hill,
I winna say but what he fears some ill
An sees some ferlies mibbie best unseen,
For beists hae sicht that bodies arena gien.
O, ay! ye say it mey be nocht but fancy,
Yet fine ye ken the tales the auld folks tells
That gars ye deem a place a thocht unchancy.
But dinna lat that hinder ye, my lass,
Jist keep the Deid Knowe weel on your richt haun,
Syne even forrit till ye see a cairn
Pit up whaur Tam the Tinkler foonert i' the snaw
In fifty-twa.
There's some'll hae't his gaist gangs up an doon,
But that's jist blethers, lassie, tak't frae me,
For them that follows fraits, fraits follows them,
An ony wey, the peth leads to the toun
An saves a guid three mile.
But see ye keep the peth for ony sake!
There's some richt nesty bog-holes whaur ye'd droon
As easy as a kittlin in a pail,
An fegs, ye wadna be the first by twa or three!
But, ach! ye canna miss it wi an ee
As gleg as yours.
Sae aff ye set afore it comes black dark-
Guid nicht to ye, my dawtie: ay, guid nicht!...
Hey, lassie! Hey! I clean forgot the bull!
Noo, wisna that unmensefu' o me, noo?
Gin ye'd chanced suddent on him i' the mirk
I wad hae blamed mysel for't a' my days.
He's whiles a richt ill-trickit kin o wratch
An whiles he's no: ye niver ken his tune;
He cowpit ower a wife twa year come June
An broddit a' her hips; but ach! they say
She skirlt an ran awa frae'm up the brae,
A thing that weemin-folk should niver dae;
For, tak't frae me,
A bull's best faced an leukit i' the ee.
He's mibbie no on this side o the hill,
But still
I'd pooch that big reid gravit, for it's ill
To tell the whauraboots
O sic stravagin' brutes.
But dinna lat him hinder ye, my lass,
That path'll easy save a guid three miles.
Na, na! Nae thanks! Ye're welcome! It wad be
A weary warld gin we tint the chance
O daein' an antrin kindness noos an ance;
I aye like helpin' folk; ye ne'er can tell
When mibbie ye'll be seekin' help yersel'.
Sae tak the peth, my lass, for it'll save
A guid three mile.
Wull she? Nae fears! I ken the cut o'r fine!
Thon airt'll niver gar her werrucks stoun!
Nae mair than has't wi ony o the lave
O shauchlin hauf-cled besoms that's been shewn
The short cut to the toon.
She winna fash the yowes!
Thae jades is a' sic-like;
Gie them a tale o hoolits, hauntit knowes,
Bogles an bulls, an twa-three cheepin' mice,
Syne a' the hale clanjamphry keeps the pike-
An hauds weel i' the middle o't forby!

In The Short Cut a reference is made to the many tales still told of cases where, in the days of the Black Death, the infected house was knocked down upon the unhappy inmates and then covered with earth and stones.


DINNA leuk for muckle
An ye'll no be disappintit,
Dinna think ye're somebody
Because ye're dooble-jintit;
Jouk an lat the jaw gae by,
Tak a'thing as it comes,
An niver wyte the grozer buss
For no bein fou o plums.
A' your gear's aneth your cap?
See ye haud a grup o't!
Gin your cogie's cowpit
Ye yet mey save a sup o't;
Jouk an lat the jaw gae by,
Tak a'thing as it comes,
An dintia wyte the grozer buss
For niver bearin' plums.


"LEUKIN roon' on the warl',"
Said the craw on the riggin,
"There's ae thing I dinna haud wi
An that's sornin an thiggin'.
Thiggin' an sornin,
Reapin' wi'oot sawin',
Comin oot ilka mornin
Beckin', booin' an blawin.
Thanks be, I'm no like some folk!
I wark for my livin',
An niver haud nae troke
Wi ocht fleein under heeven-
Ay, I'm speakin' o you,"
Said the craw til the doo,
"Sittin there on the waa
Wi nae heed o the snaw,
Preenin' an prinkin'
Wi your 'Ruckity-coo,'
Aetin an drinkin
Till your kyte's pang-fou.
Thinkin ye're o the gentry,
Sae jimp an little-boukit,
Pridefu' o the entry
At nicht intil a dookit.
Weel could I pike your een oot,
Ye wee figure o fun!
For a' the guid I've seen o't-
Beak an claw an feather-
Mey the fermer an his gun
Dae awa wi ye a'thegither.
I'm scunnert to sit aside ye-
Ye're for aff? An Deil guide ye!"
"What's that lyin on its back?"
Speirt the doo at the snaw,
"It leuks unco black-
Dinna say it's the craw!
Beak an claw an feather,
Fair awa wi't a'thegither.
Ye auld figure o fun
Wi your jokes aboot a gun!"


SCATTER the muils ower him,
An stramp them weel in;
It's oor chance noo to lay his heid low
As he did to mony in his day,
The sleekit nabal.
We're no seekin' him up again-
Bonniest, aye, was the back view o 'm,
Tho whiles no that easy to get.
But we'll pit up a heid-stane till 'im-
It'll mibbie be safer,
Wi a buttery bittie or twa on't,
For he aye likit fleechin'.
Syne, if his gaist taks to daikerin' aboot
The sicht o't 'll haud him again,
An he'll turn on his heel, weel-pleased like.
Ay, it'll cost a bonny puckle siller
An he's no warth it.
Still, it's mibbie safer i' the hin'er en'.
For he was a sleekit nabal,
An nane o's is seekin' a sicht o 'm again.

The Precaution. The original underlying idea of the laudatory tombstone was to placate the deceased, and so keep his spirit quiet.


YE ken the Seelie Knowe, upbye, as ye gae throw the glen?
I niver pass the placie but my hair stan's fair on en',
An I hae to haud my bannet on frae loupin' i' the air,
For ony airt's unchancy when the Guid Folk's there.
I've seen me pass it singin as a curn o's gaed hame,
But when ye're a' your lee-lane ye dinna feel the same,
Ye mayna haud wi bogles when the can'les burn bricht-
It's anither kin o story i' the wan mune's licht.
I mind ae nicht a twalmont syne, an nae wird o a dram,
Gaun skippin like a mawkin frae a muckle blackfaced ram,
I'd hae sworn 'twas Auld Geordie as his horns show'd ower the Knowe
An my he'rt was near ca'ed aff its stalk or I wan throw.
There's mibbie no a wird o truith in a' the auld wifes say,
Still I'se warrant it's no chancy, e'en in the licht o day,
For what's the richts o onything it's byous hard to ken-
But when I pass the Seelie Knowe my hair aye stan's on en'.


AYE, a' her life, afore she beddit
This was her prayer, as Elspet said it,
"Pouers o the air! Be guid to me!
Keep me livin'-lat ither folks dee!"
It cairrit her on till eichty-fower,
An the wolf ne'er girnt at Elspet's door.
A'body trimmelt that catched her ee,
There niver was muckle she didna see.
The lasses a' held her in deidly fear,
There niver was muckle she didna hear.
What een an lugs couldna bring till'r hoose,
Elspet niver wad fail to jalouse.
Ilk ane gae her a ceevil guid-day-
When they fand they couldna get oot o her wey.
Ilk ane gae her a cheery guid-e'en-
When sooth rinnin watter rowed canny atween.
When the miller's mear haed her fore-leg brak,
A'body kent the beast forespoke,
A'body kent it was Elspet's spells
An a'body keepit the fack til theirsel's.
Elspet niver gaed near the kirk,
Naebody likit to meet her at mirk,
An the nicht the ase-puckle set fire till her chair,
A hare slippit bye wi its hurdies bare.
Twa herds saw it an heard it squeal
As it hirpled awa for the aid o the Deil.
But dee'd she in grace or dee'd she in sin,
Her gear a' went to her next-o-kin,
An shewn fast in till a lurk in her coats
Was an auld leather bag fou o gowd an notes.
But the far-awa freen that was served her heir
Was slain in a tuilzie at Lowrin Fair.
Aye, a' her life, afore she beddit
That was her prayer as Elspet said it,
"Pouers o the air! Be guid to me!
Keep me livin' - lat ither folks dee!"

Elspet. Couplet 8. A witch cannot pass the middle of the first running stream: south-running water is specially efficacious. Couplet 9. "To forespeak" is to give undue praise to "beast or body," and is associated with the idea of "The Evil Eye." Couplet 13. The witch could change into the form of a hare, and injury done to it was done to her. Couplet 16. "Ill-gotten gear carries nae blessin'."


HAUD up the gait, haud doon the gait
An see an ye can finnd
Amang them a' a winsome mey
Mair suitit to your mind;
Ay, doon the gait or up the gait,
Or ony gait ava,
Ae buin alane hae I to crave-
Frae my sicht haud awa!


I'M sittin smokin' at the door
In shadow o the gean,
An he'rknin' till oor youngest ane
Bein hushabyed by Jean.
It's a rale bonny peacefu' spot
An dear it is to me,
Yet my thochts rin back at antrin times
To days in Picardy.
Ay, French folk is frem folk?
Well, frem e'en lat them be!
But I kent a lass or twa oot there
Was nane sae frem to me.
There was Léonie an Jacqueline
An Marguerite an Claire,
Ay, faith, gin I tak time to think
There's mibbie twa three mair.
O, fairly! What o Rosalie
An, best o a', Pauline?
She teuk my fancy easy
For she mindit me o Jean,
An cairrit me a bit ower faur-
It a' comes in a crack!
A simmer's day, the auld barn wi
The orchard at the back;
The sunlicht tricklin' throw the leaves
Fell flickerin' on the waa,
An the flourish o the aipple-trees
Cam floatin' doon like snaw,
While ilka man o oor platoon
Sat strippit till the waist,
An seekin' ower his flypit sark
To see wha'd catch the maist.
I'd duin gey weel, an slippit on,
My sark was quater noo;
I teuk the fag doon frae my lug
An stuck it in my mou,
Lit it, an startit for the lade
To gie mysel a dip-
An by the gate there stude Pauline
Wi ae haun on her hip.
The tither held a stalk o girse
An's by 'r I socht to win,
She raxed it oot an kittled me
Jist fair aneth the chin.
Weel, what wud ye hae duin yersel'?
I kissed her on the mou-
An syne I haed a veesion o
A muckle French poilu!
Wha ca's the French a shilpit race
Ne'er spak a bigger lee,
For in his stockin's that same lad
Stude weel on sax-fit-three.
Tho he was ong-permissy-ong
He'd nae permit to gie
To Pauline for to cairry on
Wi chaps like you or me.
An sic-like names he ca'ed the lass!
Ye'd thocht the man was daft;
Syne roon' he swang an landit me
A lasher on the chaft.
He loupit here, he loupit there
An aye anither wap,
While's ae fit catched ye square ahint
The tither ca'ed aff your cap.
An noo it kin o cam to me
'twas mibbie some unchancy
To lat a muckle Frenchy see
Ye kissin his financy;
For aye as I lat oot at him
I seemed to get his fit,
An a' the boys was cryin' him on
An lauchin' like to split.
Syne, like a bull, he chairged reid-wud-
I didna like 't ava,
An joukit while his heid gaed thud
Richt throw the auld cley waa.
Swack was the lad: like win'mill sails
His legs wrocht throw the air,
For he was smoort wi stour, an, fegs,
He'd plenty o't in there.
We tuggit at his tunic
An we ruggit at his breeks
Till oot he cam neeze-neezin'
As gin he'd rive his cheeks.
But Pauline teuk him weel in haun-
She fair pit on the branks,
An makkin' 't up wi him that nicht
Cost me near twenty francs.
For doon till the estaminy
The pair o's buid to gang
To please the lass, an ile her chap's
Intimmers wi vang blang.
Ach, weel, I hope he's to the fore
An mairit on Pauline-
Supper? I'm mair than ready for't;
A' richt, I'm comin, Jean!

Pauline's Poilu. Stanza 16. The reference is to la savate, demonstrations of which, more or less successful, used to amuse our troops in France.


FOR ilka ill there is a cure,
Be it in ruit or leaf or floo'r,
An aft-times roon' aboot the door.
Tho it growes free for a' mankind
Lang mey ye seek afore ye finnd.
But for stark deid
There is nae remeid-

The Healin' Herb deals with an old folk-belief.


"There's nae sin in a merry mind,"
Qo the wifie cheerily,
As she gaed whustlin' ben the kirk,
An rale jocoe was she,
"There's nae sin in a merry mind,
Na, nane ava that I can finnd,
There's nae sin in a merry mind,"
Qo the wifie cheerily.
"O, lippen til't, aye lippen til't,"
Qo the wifie cheerily,
The time she loupit ower the burn
As hamewan traivelt she,
"O, lippen til't, aye lippen til't,
To lowp, your coaties ye maun kilt,
An lippen til't, aye lippen til't,"
Qo the wifie cheerily.
"Guid nicht an grace an muckle o't,"
Qo the wifie cheerily,
As she gaed toddlin' aff to bed
Wi sleepy twinklin' ee,
"Guid nicht an grace an muckle o't,
The warst o's hae a puckle o't,
Guid nicht an grace an muckle o't,"
Qo the wifie cheerily.


As I gaed doon by the Watter o Annan,
Readin a buikie by Geordie Buchanan,
Little I gaithert o what I was scannin',
Lang years syne.
Sodger was I, but the sword an the cannon
Was oot o my heid by the Watter o Annan,
Couthier things I was plottin' an plannin',
Lang years syne.
Weel kent I that her faither was bannin'
Her an me an a' we was plannin',
Dannerin' doon by the Watter o Annan,
Lang years syne.
Nirlt wi eild an my back rowed in flannen,
My een canna deal noo wi Geordie Buchanan,
Yet aye can I mind o the Watter o Annan,
Lang years syne.


EH, mercy, noo, folk! Hae ye gotten the news
O a' that's been happenin' up at The Hoose?
Keep me! If I iver heard sic a doon-fa'!
Weel, dinna lat dab an I'll tell ye a'!
"She didna!" - "Ay did she!" - "It canna be, Jean!"
"Says he" - "An says she, than" - "Nae mair'n yestreen?" -
"O, niver!" - "Ay, was it!" - "An sae she's awa?"
Noo, dinna lat dab that I tel't ye a'!
There's a hantle o things ye maun keep i' your luif,
Nae ilka affair can be cried frae the ruif,
If they kent whaur ye got it they'd gar me leuk sma',
Sae dinna lat dab that I tel't ye a'!


THERE was a Carse o Gowrie wife
Wha'd reacht the winter o her life
Wi muckle toil an gey sma' gain
Yet ne'er haed haed her likeness taen.
Ae nicht some kimmers, twa or three,
Crackin like pen-guns ower their tea,
Gart sype intil the cratur's heid
The time was ripe to dae the deed.
'twas lang, lang syne afore the days
When sic-like ploys is duin wi ease,
An, suin as i' the place ye stap,
A's ower an feenished in a clap.
Na, na! there's some o's, grey or beld,
'Ull mind the hardier days o eld,
An a' the routh o artistry
The subjeck haed to pit up wi.
The mannie led her up a stair
An set her in an elba-chair,
Syne posed her heid wi yarks an rugs
An fixed a crook ahint her lugs,
Held up his haun, cried "Noo, that's it!"
An "Dinna move oot o the bit!"
Syne joukit 'neth a velvet cloot
An pou'd a funnel in an oot.
First, as the wifie sat in state,
He fand he'd clean forgot the plate.
Neist shot he haed at puir auld Meg,
The cratur crampit i' the leg,
An, while he's cursin' throw his cloot,
She buid to rise an stramp aboot.
Sae at lang last when a' was duin
His face was like a nor'-wast muin,
An, sorry that she'd e'er begun wi't,
She'd switit aff gey near twa pun' weight,
Syne, feelin she'd played weel her pairt,
She dirlt hamewan in a cairt.
'twas some guid whilie efterhan'
She keepit tryst there wi the man.
At hame, her keekin-gless was dim,
Wi cracks that ran frae rim to rim,
The sun tried ilka day in vain
To warsel throw her winda-pane,
For aye his beams, despite their poo'er,
Was held wi moose-wabs, soot an stour,
An sae, for years, like throw a haar
She'd viewed her veesage frae afaur.
But noo she's han'lin' here her likeness,
Excitement gars her shak wi weakness,
For, faith, it nearly ower did ca' her
To see hersel as ithers saw her.
Speechless, at first, an in amaze
On it she fixes a' her gaze,
Syne cries, while haudin' 't till the licht,
"That's me? Weel, that's a hum'lin sicht!"


Ay, laddie, as the years increase
An frailties ower us creep an creep
We hoast an hirple till the ca'
To jine oor faithers in their sleep.
Thae knottit j'ints a' shot wi pains,
That fobbin' as we breest the brae,
A' help to lat ye test the truith
That ilka dug haes but his day.
Lang syne we warselt like the lave
Wi routh o hope an scanty gear,
Gin ye made little o't ower-sea
I didna chance to best ye here;
An noo we en' whaur we began
There aye is ae thing we can say,
For beast an body it hauds guid
That ilka dug haes but his day.
The gemme was warth the caunle, tho?
Ye think it? Whiles I hae my doots
When a' the veteran haes to tell
Maks lauchter for the new recruits.
Grey hair haes lost its market noo,
Youth claims the richt to wier the bay,
But time tries a' ; ower suin they'll ken
That ilka dug haes but his day.
An aye the queer auld gemme gangs on,
Man canna reist Time's turnin wheel,
But see what helps ye ca' your gird
Is no the black haun o the Deil;
He'll le'n' ye spunk to gar it birl,
His road is plain-stanes a' the wey,
But at lang last he'll learn ye weel
That ilka dug haes but his day.
Na, naethin's new aneth the sun
Excep' whativer's clean forgot,
An a' the battlefields ye win
Are ower the gr'und oor faithers focht;
Sae tak 't frae me, an weel I ken,
Lie ye on feathers or on strae,
Ye'll fin' oot i' the hin'er en'
That ilka dug haes but his day.


Stop the fecht, for ony sake?
Na! no me!
An mibbie get the reddin-straik?
Na! no me!
I ken a trick warth twa o that,
Gae tryt yersel - I'se haud your hat,
But I'm no sic a muckle flet-
Na! no me!
Weel, rin an fesh the bobbie, than?
Na! no me!
I'm nane sae chief wi a' that clan,
Na! no me!
Fause witness, fegs, I widna bear,
But a' that I am keen to swear
Is jist, lad, that I wisna there-
Na! no me!


THEY sat by the side
O the tum'lin' watter,
Tinkler Pate
Wi his wife an dochter.
Pate sings oot
Wi's back till a tree,
"Hurry, ye limmers,
An bile some tea!"
Weel they kent
They'd hae cause to rue
Gin they conter'd him,
An him hauf-fou,
Sae the wifie lootit
To fill the tin,
Slippit her fit
An cowpit in.
The dochter, gruppin her,
Slippit an a',
An that was the feenish
O baith the twa.
Heels ower gowdie
The pair o them gaed,
Naebody cared,
An naethin was said,
But what Pate roared
As they made for the linn,
"Canny, ye jades!
Ye're awa wi the tin!"


MAN, I was sayin las' nicht to Jock
-A canny billy, that!-
There's heaps o queer things happens noo
To gar ye won'er at;
O godly thochts an kindly deeds
The Lord gie us increase,
For the Deil's a busy bishop
In his ain diocese.
While a' the warld's sotterin'
Like tatties in a pot,
An man's chief en' is naethin
But to cut his brither's throat,
O godly thochts an kindly deeds
The Lord gie us increase,
For the Deil's a busy bishop
In his ain diocese.
Gin ye canna loe your neebor
Try an lat the cratur be,
An dinna yoke to whustlin'
When ye hear he's gaun to dee,
O godly thochts an kindly deeds
The Lord gie us increase,
For the Deil's a busy bishop
In his ain diocese.


O, I hae been oot in a' weathers
An I hae been oot at a' oors,
But spite o auld wifes an their blethers
O spunkies that murders an smoors,
O bogles an warlocks an witches
To blast ye wi curse an wi spell,
An hunt ye ower dykes an ower ditches-
I ne'er saw aucht waur nor mysel.


A REEKIN' lum's ill, but a wife wi a raird
Is fit to gar ony man bite on his baird,
An ban the bleck day he was iver taen in
By a yatterin' lump o original sin.
Ay, wit is warth mair nor a well-turned leg
An in walin' a wife ye hae need to be gleg,
What's duin in your haste ye've her lifetime to rue,
For she canna be unctioned alang wi the coo.
When she's trampin the blankets e'en gie her a scan,
Sin a mizzle-shinned maid is sma' uise till a man,
Aye kiltin' her coats i' the face o the lowe
Wi the bakin an washin an a' to ca' throw.
The auld carl said it, an faith he's nae leear,
"Better the tocher that's in her than wi her,"
A leal-he'rtit lass wi a guid pair o hands
Is mair o a bargain than siller an lands.

Tak' Tent. "A mizzle-shinn'd maid" is one whose legs have become pigmented by overmuch sitting in front of the fire. As a sign of laziness it has to be kept from the ken of suitors. The present fashion of short skirts and thin stockings is an aid to the mate-seeking male. "Owre mony werrucks (bunions) to get a man" describes proverbially a second female handicap.


O, YE will saidle the gallant black
As I shall saidle the bonny broun,
Frae aff oor shuin we'll shak the stour
O this grey elritch toon.
For ye hae walked wi chains o gowd
To deck the doublet's cramoisie,
A smilin face, an air o grace
To mask black miserie.
Hame an fame an a' forgot
At the glance o the Queen o Faerie,
An ye've slept wi your face to the muin, o nichts,
Till scarce a styme ye see.
But a' unkent I've busked your bed
Wi dill an vervain, thyme an rue,
An I'll lead ye back to your lady's bower
Wi he'rt aye leal an true.
Aince mair ye'll breathe the caller air,
Aince mair ye'll hear her clear voice sing,
As the hoof-beats soond her hert will bound
To the rispin' o the ring.
Pou ticht the girths o the gallant black
As eke will I o the bonny broun-
O, maister dear, lat's clear the yetts
O this grey elritch toon!

Elfan. Stanza 3. Moon-blindness. Stanza 4. Anti-witchcraft herbs. Stanza 5. "Rispin' the ring" or "tirlin' at the pin": running the ring up and down over the roughened staple of iron on which it was attached to the door, and thus announcing arrival.


COME awa, Bletherwin',
Come awa ben,
An sae ye are back
To your calf-grun' again?
An tellin's the story
Ye preach i' the parks
O a land o free a'thing
Whaur naebody warks.
An what's your ain pickin's, lad,
What wad ye gain?
Fower hunner a year
Wi free hurls i' the train!
Jist fancy a' that
For the gift o the gab,
When ye connach'd guid leather
For 'ears as a snab.
Ye was foshen up here
In this placie o oors
An wha'd hae jalouzed ye
A man o sic pouers?
Cursin' the pollis
An bannin' the Kirk,
Whaur nane o's wud lippen ye
Herdin' a stirk.
Come awa, Bletherwin',
Come awa ben,
A' your freens thocht
Ye'd the wits o a hen;
Yet ye'll ding doon Tantallon,
Ae fine day ye pass,
An big a braw brig o 't
Richt ower to the Bass.


"BIDE, lippen, thole,
Lippen, thole, bide" -
Whiles laich, whiles lood,
As the wilfu blast blew,
Cam the bell as it jow'd
"A' I say is true-aye true
Frae the hippen to the shroud.
Throw a' ye hae o life,
Bairnheid till eild
Or ye gang oot wi the tide,
Throw its sturt an strife
Haud fast an dinna yield,
But bide, lippen, thole,
Lippen, thole, bide,
Lippen, thole,


A' THE knots o a sailor's craft
Weel could he tie in a trice,
An nae thocht ava o a day to daw
When the Deil wad han'le his dice;
Yet I stude yestreen at the back o the kirk
In oor ain hame port o Leith,
An heard him tie ae knot wi his tongue
That he winna wark lowse wi his teeth.
A wacht o wine for a leman's lips,
A guerdon at skreich o day,
Syne a galliard's tale 'neath the bellyin' sail
Aince beards were saut wi spray;
An him the blythest blade o them a'-
But he's bye wi't, shuir as Daith!
For Mess John's gart him tie wi his tongue
The knot that 'ull better his teeth.
Ay, spunk lowes wan at a foul fire-en'
When your rudas rovin's bye,
An a limmer's glamourie dims an dees
As ye're hushin' her wirral's cry;
Fareweel, shipmate! That I thocht was mine
Sae lang as we baith drew braith,
An a malison fa' on the tongue that tied
What ye'll never win throw wi your teeth!


SHE'D a tongue like the clapper o the Auld Kirk bell,
Ach! ye couldna blame her,
For she aye haed some new story she was yooky for to tell,
Sae ye couldna blame her.
She could redd up a' the pairish or ye finished wi your tea
An faither a' the bairnies isn't 'at cam a thocht aglee
Or tell hoo mony crans the herrin boats wad get at sea,
An ye couldna blame her.
She'd a tongue like the clapper o the Auld Kirk bell,
An ye couldna blame her,
For she kent a heap a' orra things the papers daurna tell,
Sae ye couldna blame her.
There wisna ony reistin' her aince she was in her stride,
For naebody she haltit, but ran on like time or tide,
An wha was gaun to baud her when ye kent her man was fley'd?
Ach! ye couldna blame her.
She'd a tongue like the clapper o the Auld Kirk bell,
An ye couldna blame her,
Her 'at telt her neebors' denners jist by sniffin' at the smell,
Ach! ye couldna blame her.
For news o a' the happening's she'd aye a chronic thirst,
An if ony was afore her an she haedna telt it first,
I'se wad ye hauf a mutchkin 'at the cratur wad hae burst.
Sae ye couldna blame her.


THE wee trachelt cratur gaed shauchlin throw the rain
An the deuks an the hens cam skelpin',
While auld bawsent Bawtie loupit rattlin at his chain
An deavin' a' the lift wi his yelpin'.
"Heeshty! Heeshty! Oot amang my feet!
I'm jamphlin' i' my bauchies an it's dingin on o weet,
Od, life's a dish that's sizzont mair wi bitter nor wi sweet,
An it's me's haed a byous orra helpin'!"
The wee trachelt cratur's peelin' tatties by the fire
Wi her skirly-nackits fechtin' an greetin,
Syne up an aff to milk the coo that's rowtin' i' the byre,
An see till her beddin' an her meatin'.
"Hist ye! Hist ye! Dinna be sae slow!
The trokes that's feenished up the stair leaves plenty mair below,
For wumman's wark is niver duin an naethin for't to show,
It's a job, lass, that taks a lot o beatin'."
The wee trachelt cratur's deid an happit i' the yird,
An the shools are duin wi their fykin',
An on a branch abuin her there's a bonny-singin bird
Whaur the sun on her bed-heid's strikin'.
"Wheeshty! Wheeshty! Bairnies, no a cheep!
She's only new fa'n ower yet, ye maunna brak her sleep,
For she lippent till a promise that the Makar o't 'll keep
O a darg fully mair till her likin'."


EH! Sic langwidge!
Onybody hearin' ye 'ull hae a bonny tale to tell
An you a jined member o the Kirk!
Think black burnin' shame o yersel!
Wi your mou fou o sangwidge,
I won'er it disna choke ye,
Ye ill-tongued stirk!
An a' this tirravee
Ower a drappie o bilin' watter on your taes!
Keep me!
Dinna provoke ye?
Did onybody ever hear the like o't a' their livin' days!
Ye hae a guid neck!
Wi twa mile o sand to pit your muckle feet on
What gart ye stick ane o them
In aneth the stroup o the kettle?
An what sorra else did ye expeck?
You an your fit!
They're a perfeck scunner-
Baith the twa o them,
Ay, an haes been ever sin I kent ye.
A daecent wumman canna get moved at her ain chimblay-cheek,
An sma' won'er!
Hoo aften hae I telt ye I couldna get anent ye
An you aye lollopin' thae dagont feet o yours on the fender?
I whiles wish ye haed widden legs,
They wadna be sae tender
An they wad match your heid better-
Ay, wad they, fegs,
An hae saved ye happin' aboot the noo
Like a craw wi a sair inside.
Sit doon, man! See,
A' the fowk 'ull think ye're fou-
Here's your cuppie o tea!
Oho! Ye're no gaun to bide?
Ye've haed a' the tea ye're wantin'?
An ye're no seekin' ony mair o my clatter?
Weel, awa an tak a bit paidle til yersel,
Gin ye maun be gallivantin'
Try the watter.
The sea 'ull mibbie cool your temper
An your taes as weel.
But mind ye this o't!
I've taen your meesure,
My bonny man, aince an for a',
An this is the hin'most time
I'm oot for a day's plaesur
Wi you - ay is it!
For I'll stan' nae mair o your jaw!
Ach! You an your fit!


AIBERDEEN an twal mile roon',
Fife an a' the lands aboot it,
Taen frae Scotland's runkled map
Little's left, an wha will dout it?
Few at least 'at maiters ony,
Orra folk, it's easy seen,
Folk 'at dinna come frae bonny
Fife or canny Aiberdeen.


O A' the jobs that sweat the sark
Gie me a kintra doctor's wark,
Ye ca' awa frae dawn till dark,
Whate'er the weather be, O!
Some tinkler wife is in the strae,
Your buits is ower the taps wi cley
Throu wadin' bog an sklimmin' brae
The besom for to see, O!
Ye ken auld Jock o Windybarns?
The bull haed near ca'ed oot his harns,
His een was blinkin fou o starns,
An doon they ran for me, O!
There's ae guid wife, we're weel acquant,
Nae trouble's kent but what she's taent,
Yet aye she finds some new complaint,
O which I hae the key, O!
She's haed some unco queer mishaps,
Wi nervish wind an clean collapse,
An naethin dis her guid but draps-
Guid draps o barley-bree, O!
I wadna care a docken blade,
Gin her accoont she ever peyed,
But while she gies me a' her trade,
There's ne'er a wird o fee, O!
Then Deil hae a' thae girnin' wifes,
There's ne'er a bairn they hae that thrives,
It's aye the kink-hoast or the hives
That's gaun to gar them dee, O!
Tak ony job ye like ava!
Tak trade, the poopit or the law,
But gin ye're wice ye'll haud awa
Frae medical degree, O!


ILKA auld wife was aye a guid maiden,
Brawly I ken it for aft am I tauld,
But awa to Auld Nick wi their girnin' an chidin',
It's eith to be sauntly aince bluid's rinnin cauld.
They've a' haed their fling wi the lads o their fancy-
Why suld they daunton a lassie like me?
An say a' I dae is misleart an unchancy;
Weel mey they blaw aince their eildins a' dee,
Wi nane left to gab o the days o their daftness
Or ever they crined wi the cranreuch o eild;
But bide till they're beddit! Awa wi sic saftness,
I'm aff to keep tryst at a weel-happit bield.


AFORE there was law to fleg us a',
An schedule richt frae wrang,
The man o the cave haed got the crave
For the lichtsome lilt o sang.
Wife an strife an the pride o life,
Wumman an war an drink;
He sang o them a' at e'enin's fa'
By aid o the crambo-clink.
When the sharpest flint made the deepest dint,
An the strongest worked his will,
He drew his tune frae the burnie's croon
An the whistlin' win' o the hill.
At the mou o's cave to plaesur the lave,
He was singin afore he could think,
An the wife in-bye hush'd the bairnie's cry
Wi a swatch'o' the crambo-clink.
Nae creetic was there wi superior air
For the singer wha daur decry
When they saw the sheen o the makar's een,
An his haun on his axe forby?
But the nicht grew auld an he never devaul'd
While ane by ane they wad slink,
Awa at a rin to their beds o skin
Frae the soon' o the crambo-clink.


THE burn was big wi spate,
An there cam tum'lin' doon
Tapsalteerie the hauf o a gate,
Wi an auld fish-hake an a great muckle skate,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon.
The auld wife stude on the bank
As they gaed swirlin' roon',
She teuk a guid leuk an syne says she:
"There's food an there's firin' gaun to the sea,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon."
Sae she gruppit the branch o a sauch,
An she kickit aff ane o her shuin,
An she stuck oot her fit-but it caught in the gate,
An awa she went wi the great muckle skate,
An the lum hat wantin' the croon.
She floatit fou mony a mile,
Past cottage an village an toon,
She'd an awfu time astride o the gate,
Tho it seemed to gree fine wi the great muckle skate,
An the lum hat wantin' the croon.
A fisher was walkin the deck,
By the licht o his pipe an the muin,
When he sees an auld body astride o a gate,
Come bobbin alang in the waves wi a skate,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon.
"There's a man overboord!" cries he,
"Ye leear!" says she, "I'll droon!
A man on a boord? It's a wife on a gate,
It's auld Mistress Mackintosh here wi a skate,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon."
Was she nippit to daith at the Pole?
Haes India bakit her broun?
I canna tell that, but whatever her fate,
I'll wager ye'll finnd it was shared by a skate,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon.
There's a moral attached to my sang,
On greed ye should aye gie a froun,
When ye think o the wife that was lost for a gate,
An auld fish-hake an a great muckle skate,
An a lum hat wantin' the croon.


AY, that's you, is't, doctor?
I thocht I saw ye comin oot o her hoose ower thonder.
An is a'thing by?
Eh, but that's fine, noo; ye've haed a sair hing-on!
Is't a laddie or a lassie?
Twins? Keep's a'!
But I'm no nane surprised-no me:
She was aye a twa-faced besom.
I'm jalousin' baith the twa o them'll favour her?
It winna be him, ony wey;
The mither'll be their nearest freen' in thon hoose;
A'body kens that.
What's that ye say? "Keep my tongue atween my teeth"?
There's nae ca' for ye to be unceevil doctor,
An to a sufferer like me, tae!
I was jist speirin for the wumman-
As ony neebor wad.


It is hoped that all Scottish characteristics known to the Southron are here: pawkiness and pride of race; love of the dram; redness of hair; eldership of, and objection to instrumental music in, the Kirk; hatred of the Sassenach; inability to see a joke, etc., etc. An undying portrait is thus put on record of the typical Scot of the day.

THERE aince was a very pawky duke,
Far kent for his joukery-pawkery,
Wha awned a hoose wi a gran' outlook,
A gairden an a rockery.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
Hoot ay! An a rockery!
For a bunnet laird wi a sma' kailyaird
Is naethin but a mockery.
He dwalt far up a Heelant glen
Where the foamin flude an the crag is,
He dines each day on the esquebae
An he washed it doon wi haggis.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
Hoot ay! An a haggis!
For that's the wey that the Heelanters dae
Whaur the foamin flude an the crag is.
He wore a sporran an a dirk,
An a beard like besom bristles,
He was an elder o the kirk
An he hated kists o whistles.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
An doon on kists o whistles!
They're a' reid-heidit fowk up North
Wi beards like besom bristles.
His hair was reid as ony rose,
His legs was lang an bony,
He keepit a hoast an a rubbin'-post
An a buskit cockernony.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
An a buskit cockemony!
Ye ne'er will ken true Heelantmen
Wha'll ain they haedna ony.
Syne ilka fower boors throu the day
He teuk a muckle jorum,
An when the gloamin gaither'd grey
Got fou wi great decorum.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
Blin' fou wi great decorum!
There ne'er were males amang the Gaels
But loe'd a muckle jorum.
An if he met a Sassenach,
Attour in Caledonia,
He gart him lilt in a cotton kilt
Till he teuk an acute pneumonia.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
An a Sassenach wi pneumonia!
He lat him feel that the Land o the Leal
'S nae far frae Caledonia.
Then aye afore he socht his bed
He danced the Gillie Callum,
An wi's Kilmarnock ower his neb
What evil could befa' him?
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
What evil could befa' him?
When he cast his buits an soopled his cuits
Wi a guid-gaun Gillie Callum.
But they brocht a joke, they did indeed,
Ae day for his eedification,
An they needed to trephine his heid,
Sae he deed o the operation.
Hech mon! The pawky duke!
Wae's me for the operation!
For weel I wot this typical Scot
Was a michty loss to the nation.

The Pawky Duke. "Kilmarnock" (stanza 7), the old type of nightcap, woollen, and frequently red, which was much in vogue in bygone days.


DOD! An sae he's awa, is he?
Some folks is awfu for deein!
That'll mak fower o the Session, noo,
Slippit awa in sax 'ear.
Weel, weel, he was a gey lad in his day:
I could tell ye twa three bars aboot him,
Ay, could I,
An richt guid anes, tae!
Ach! what o 't?
Royt lads maks sober men,
An young saunts, auld sinners.
Sae they a' haud, an he was nae waur nor the lave.
Ony wey, the cratur's awa
An here's a lang bittie aboot 'im i' the papers.
"Much respeckit member o the community."
"For mony years an elder, an a J.P."
Jist to think o a' that, noo!
Ay, ay, an sae he's awa!
Dod, he was a gey lad in his day-
Some folks is awfu for deein!


[This ballad is o great interest, an, as far as we ken, haes not hitherto appeared in print. It is certainly not in Child's Collection. It was taen doun frae the singin o an aged man o ane hunder an five years, in Glen Kennaquhair. Internal evidence wad tend to show that the incidents recorded in the ballad occurred in the seventeenth century, an that Sir Walter Scott haed heard at least ane verse o it. The aged singer - nou, alace! no mair - sang it to the air o Barbara Allen.]
IT was an aboot the Lammas time,
In sixteen forty-three, sirs,
That there fell oot the awfu fecht
'twixt Macfadden an Macfee, sirs.
Macfadden, wha was gaun to kirk
Upon the morn's morn,
Haed washed his kilt an cleaned his dirk
An combed his Sabbath sporran.
An bein for the time o year
Remarkably fine weather,
These articles o dress were laid
To air upon the heather.
Waes me! Macfee, while dandrin' ower
The bonnie braes o Lorne,
Maun gang an pit his muckle fit
Upon Macfadden's sporran.
A piece o carelessness like this
The brichtest hert wad sadden,
An when he saw the caitiff deed
It fair gaed ower Macfadden.
For he was shavin' at the time,
An when the sicht he saw, sir,
Wi rage he sheuk an nearly teuk
His neb aff wi his raazor.
A while he swore an staunched the gore
An or Macfee got ae lick,
Macfadden cursed him heid an heels
In comprehensive Gaelic.
Syne when his braith was a' but gane,
An when he couldna say mair,
He lat a muckle Heelant yell
An at him wi his cleymore.
What sweeter soond could warrior hear
Unless it was the daddin'
That echoed oot when'er Macfee
Got hame upon Macfadden?
Nae sweeter soond I weel could ween,
Exceppin' it micht be, sirs,
The soond that hurtled oot when'er
Macfadden hit Macfee, sirs.
An awfu fecht it was to see,
A fecht baith fell an dour, sirs,
For or the tuilzie weel began
The glen was fou o stour, sirs.
An awfu fecht, again I say't,
An on each auld cley biggin,
The freends o baith, like hoodie craws,
Was roostin' on the riggin.
An aye they buckled till't wi birr;
In combat sair an grievous,
They glanced like lightnin' up Strathyre
An thundered doon Ben Nevis.
Wha won the fecht, or whilk ane lost,
Was hid frae mortal ee, sirs,
Nane saw the fearsome end o baith
Macfadden an Macfee, sirs.
But still they say, at brak o day,
Upon the braes o Lorne,
Ye'll hear the ghaistly rustlin' o
Macfadden's Sabbath sporran.



FAITH, there's a hantle queer complaints
To cheenge puir sinners into saints,
An mony divers weys o deein
That doctors hae a chance o seein'.
The Babylonian scartit bricks
To tell his doots o Daith's dark tricks,
The Greek he kentna hoo 'twas farin'
Across the ferry rowed by Charon,
An readin doonwards throu the ages
The tale's the same in a' their pages,
Eternal grum'lin' at the load
We hae to bear alang Life's road,
Yet, when we're fairly at the bit,
Awfu, maist awfu sweer to flit,
Praisin' the name o ony drug
The doctor whispers in oor lug
As guaranteed to cure the evil,
To haud us here an cheat the Deevil.
For gangrels, croochin' in the strae,
To leave this warld are aft as wae
As the prood laird o mony an acre,
O temporal things a keen partaker.


Noo a' this leads up to my tale
O what befell puir Tam MacPhail,
A dacent miner chiel in Fife
Wha led a maist exemplar' life,
An ne'er abused himsel wi liqor,
But teuk it canny-like an siccar.
Aye when he cast his wet pit-breeks,
Tam haed a gless that warm'd his cheeks;
For, as it trickled ower his craigie,
He held it wardit aff lumbaigy.
It wisna that he liked the dram,
'twas pure needcessity wi Tam!
But twa years syne-or was it three?-
Tam thocht that he was gaun to dee,
An Faith! they've aften garred me grew
By tellin' what I'll tell to you.


The early tatties haed come in
When Tammas's besettin' sin,
A love o a' this warld's guid things
An a' the pleesures aetin brings,
Garred him hae sic a bad mischeef
It fleggit him ayont belief!
Pey-Saturday it was, I mind,
An Jean, intendin' to be kind,
Haed biled the firstlins o her yaird
(For naethin else Tam wud hae sair'd),
Sae when they cam frae Jean's clean pat,
Altho they seemed a trifle wat,
Tam in his hunger ett a meal
That wud hae staw'd the big black Deil,
Syne at his cutty haed a draw,
Syne gantit wi wide-open jaw,
An aince his heid was on the cod
He suin was in the land o Nod.


But when the knock haed chappit fower
Tam haed to rise an get attour,
For in his bed he couldna bide
He'd sic a steer in his inside!
The granes o'm waukent faithfu Jean.
An then began a bonny scene!
A parritch poultice first she tries,
Het plates on plates she multiplies,
But ilka time his puddens rum'les
A' ower the place Tam rowes an tum'les,
For men in sic-like situations,
Guid kens hae gey sma' stock o patience!
Yet fast the pain growes diabolic,
A reg'lar, riving, ragin' colic,
A loupin', gowpin,' stoondin' pain
That gars the sweat hail doon like rain.
Whiles Tam gangs dancin ower the fluir,
Whiles cheeky-on intil a chair,
Whiles some sma' comfort he achieves
By brizzin' hard wi baith his nieves;
In a' his toilsome tack o life
Ne'er haed he kent sic inward strife,
For while he couldna sit, forby
Like Washington he couldna lie!


Noo, at lang last his guts was rackit
Till Tam was bullerin' fair distrackit,
An suin wi roar succeedin' roar
He fosh in a' the fowk neist door,
An ane o them - auld Girsie Broun -
She ran an brocht the doctor doon,
Wha hurried in a' oot o braith,
For Girsie said 'twas life or daith!
The doctor oxter'd Tam till's bed,
Fingert his wame an sheuk his heid;
"We wha pursue the healing are,
See youth commence an age depairt,
Peels we prescribe an pulses feel,
Your systems ken frae scalp to heel!
An here? Potato indigestion,
O that there's not the slightest question,
While, what my great experience teaches
Is maist relief is got frae leeches." -
"Awa," yells Tam, "fesh hauf-a-dizzen!
O haste ye, or I loss my rizzon!"
Sae aff gangs wullin' Girsie Broun,
To wauk the druggist wast the toon.


Noo, Droggie haed an awfu stock,
Tobacco, wreetin' paper, rock,
A' kin o wersh tongue-twistin' drinks,
A' kin o Oriental stinks,
The best cod liver ile emulsions,
Wee poothers that could cure convulsions,
Famed Peter Puffer's soothin' syrup,
An stuff to gar canaries chirrup.
He's toothache tinctur's, cures for corns,
Pomades to gar hair growe on horns,
He'd stuff for healin' beelin' lugs,
He'd stuff for suffocatin' bugs,
He'd stuff for feshin' up your denners,
Against your wull an a' guid menners,
A' kin o queer cahoochy goods
To suit the system's varyin' moods,
Wi navvies' operatin' peels,
Sookers for bairns an fishin reels,
In fack-but losh! I'd better stop,
The mannie kep' a druggist's shop!
An in his bauchles an his breeches
Cam grum'lin' doon to get the leeches
While, nearly scunnert wi their squirmin',
Aff hirples Girsie wi the vermin.


An noo, my billies, draw a veil,
Till mornin's licht, ower Tam Macphail,
Till aince again the doctor cam
To see what cheenge was wrocht in Tam.
'twas nine o'clock he stapt in-bye
Relieved to hear nae waesome cry.
"Well, well, Macphail!" the doctor says,
"My treatment's worthy o a' praise!
I left you-why 'twas like a riot!
I see you nou, contented, quiet.
Far, very far, oor knowledge reaches!
How did you get on wi the leeches?"
Tam ne'er replied, but turned his back,
Wi tearfu' een 'twas Jean wha spak,
"Eh, Doctor! - Sic an awfu cure
I ne'er saw gien to rich or puir,
For when we saw the ugsome beists
It gart the herts rise in oor breests!
But Tam, wha tak's your wird for law,
Juist swalla'd doon the first pair raw!
Yet try's he micht, an sair he tried,
He haed to hae the last fower fried!"
The doctor turned him on his heel,
An tho puir Tam leuked rale no-weel,
He couldna trust himsel to speak,
The tears were rinnin doon his cheek,
An a' that day was sair forfaughen
Wi tryin' to haud himsel frae lauchin'!


Whate'er wi Tam ye chance to crack on,
There's ae thing ye maun ne'er gang back on.
Freely he'll talk on politics,
The weather an its dirty tricks,
On wages an the price o coal
Or things conneckit wi the saul,
On hoo the meenister's a leear
An medical advice ower dear,
But if the crack warks roond to leeches,
Puir Tam pits doon his pipe an retches!

Tam and the Leeches. The main incident in this tale was told to me over forty years ago by an old practitioner as having occurred in his practice.


'TWAS in a wee bit but-an-ben
She bade when first I kent her,
Doon the side roadie by the kirk
Whaur Andra was precentor.
An a' the week he keepit thrang
At's wark as village thatcher,
Whiles sairly fashed by weemen folk,
Wi "Hurry up an catch her!"
Nae beuks e'er ravel't Tibbie's harns,
Nae college lear haed reached her,
An a' she kent aboot her job
Her ain experience teached her.
To this cauld warld in fifty year
She'd fosh near auchteen hunner.
Losh keep's! When a' thing's said an duin,
The cratur' was a won'er!
A' gate she'd traivelled day an nicht,
A' kin o orra weather
Haed seen her trampin on the road,
Or trailin' throu the heather.
But Time haed set her pechin sair,
As on his wey he birled;
The body startit failin' fast
An gettin' auld an nirled.
An syne, to weet the bairnie's heid
Ower muckle, whiles, they'd gie her;
But noo she's deid-ay, mony a year-
An Andra's sleepin wi her.

The Howdie. The custom of "weetin' the bairn's heid" consisted of drinking a glass of raw whisky in honour of the child's safe arrival. Anyone not so doing was held "to tak' awa the bairn's luck."


O! CAUNLE-LICHT'S baith braw an bricht
At e'en when bars are drawn,
But caunle-licht's a dowie sicht
When dwinin' i' the dawn.
Yet dawn can bring nae wearier day
Than I hae dree'd yestre'en,
An comin day mey licht my wey-
Daylicht haes mony een.
Noo, daylicht's fairly creepin' in,
I hear the auld cock craw;
Fou aft I've banned him for his din,
An wauk'nin' o us a'!
But welcome noo's his lichtsome cry
Sin bedfast I hae' been,
It tells anither nicht's gane by-
Daylicht haes mony een.
O! bedfast men are weary men,
Laid by frae a' their wark;
Hoo thocht can kill ye ne' er will ken
Till tholin' 't in the dark.
But or nicht fa's I'll mibbie see
What yet I hinna seen,
A land whaur mirk can never be-
Daylicht haes mony een.


OOR Jock's guid-mither's saicont man
At banes was unco skilly;
It cam by heirskep frae an aunt,
Leeb Tod o Nether Tillie.
An when he thocht to souch awa,
He sent for Jock, ay did he,
An wulled him the bane-doctorin',
Wi a' the lave o's smiddy.
A braw doon-settin' 'twas for Jock,
An for a while it peyed him,
For wi's great muckle nieves like mells
He pit in banes wi smeddum.
Ay! mony a bane he snappit in
At elbuck, thee, an shouther;
Gin ony wadna gang his gait,
Jock dang them a' to poother.
Noo, smiddy wark's a droothy job,
Sae whiles Jock wat his whustle,
When wi a horseshoe or a bane
He'd held some unco tussle.
But even tho miracklous whiles,
It mattered nane whativer,
For whaur's the body disna ken
A drucken doctor's clever?
Ae nicht when Jock was gey weel on,
An warslin' wi some shoein',
They brocht a bane case intil him
That pruived puir Jock's undoin',
A cadger wi an auld cork leg,
An fou as Jock or fouer,
Wha swore that o his lower limb
He'd fairly lost the poo'er.
Jock fin's the leg, an shaks his heid,
Syne tells the man richt solemn,
"Your knee-pan's slippit up your thee
Aside your spinal column;
But gin ye'll tak a sate ower here,
An lat them haud ye ticht, man,
I'se warrant for a quart o beer
I'll quickly hae ye richt, man."
Jock yokit noo wi rale guid wull
To better the condeetion,
While Corkie swore he haed his leg
Ca'd a' to crockaneetion.
Jock banned the lamp - "'twas in his een" -
An deaved wi Corkie's granin',
Qo he, "Gin ye'll pit oot the licht
I'll gey suin put the bane in!"
Oot went the licht, Jock got his grup,
He yarkit an he ruggit,
He doobled up puir Corkie's leg,
Syne strauchtened it an tuggit.
An while that baith the twa o them
Was sayin some orra wordies,
Auld Corkie's leg, wi hauf o's breeks,
Cam clean aff at the hurdies.
Jock swat wi fear, an in the dark
He crep' attour the smiddy,
For, weel-a-wat, he thocht his wark
Wad land him on the widdy.
An wi the leg he ran till's hoose,
Juist hauf-wey doon the clachan,
His cronies oxterin' Corkie oot,
An nearly deein o lauchin'.
But at Jock's door they stude an oor,
An vainly kicked an knockit,
Sin Jock, in a' the fear o daith,
Haed got it barred an lockit.
An 'twasna till the neist forenuin
They fand the leg, weel hidden,
For Jock was oot afore daylicht
An stuck it in the midden.
This feenished Jock, an efter haun
He buckled til his ain wark,
For suin a' ower the kintra-side
They kent aboot his bane wark,
An hoo a law-wer fleggit Jock
At Corkie's instigation,
An gart him pey a five-pun' note
By wey o compensation.
Ne sutor ultra crepidam
Is guid eneuch for maist o's,
For aye there's wark that's buid to get
The better o the best o's.
An juist as doctors canna shae
Or haud a hin' leg stiddy,
Ye needna seek for surgery
Inside a country smiddy.


'TWAS up at the tree near the heid o the glen
I keppit a tinkler chiel,
The cauld wind whistled his auld duds throu,
He was waesomely doon at the heel;
But he made me free o his company,
For he kent that I wished him weel.
He leukit me fairly 'tween the een,
He cam o an auncient clan;
He gae me guid-day in a freendly wey,
While he spak me man to man,
Tho my gibbles was a' for the human frame
An his for kettle an pan.
"Ye're oot i' the warst that the weather can dae,
Ye're free o the road, like me,
I palmer aboot for kettles to cloot,
Wi an orra-like weird to dree;
An oor job's to men' whativer'll men',
Wi luck to fix oor fee!
"Brithers baith o the auld hiech road-
Yet the Deil hae General Wade
For lairnin's the shauchle insteed o the step
Wi the weary wark o his spade,
Till the Jew an the Sassenach lord it noo
Ower the hills whaur the heroes gaed!"
"O, gang ye East," qo I, "or Wast,
Or, whither awa gang ye?
Will ye come to a hoose whaur a guid man bides,
For a tastin' o barley bree?
Ye can howk i' the kebbuck an howk again
As lang as there's kebbuck to pree.
"Or seek ye a saxpence to slocken your drooth?
Ye needna be langer in dout;
Ye can hae a bit hurl to help ye on,
An I'll get ye a pan to cloot.
I'se warrant I'll freely lat ye in,
An as freely lat ye oot."
A tuft o the broom was knotted wi tow,
An a rag on't fluttered free,
While he sheuk his heid ower some ferlies there,
That I'm bathered if I could see,
Tho I kent my saul was sib to his
In a queer freemasonry.
"The wife's a mile on the road afore's,
An the bairnies farther still;
I canna keep tryst wi doctor folk,
But I'll borrow the price o a gill,
An I'll pey ye back when we've finished oor tack
O a' that's guid an ill."
He spat on the siller an pooched it syne,
An quately winked an ee;
"The road's a bond that we canna deny,
An it's linkit you an me
In the kindly yoke o the gaun-aboot folk,
Whauriver they chance to be!"
On the bowle o's cutty he scartit a spunk,
An he leggit it doon the wind;
Gin his claes wad hae fleggit a bubbly-jock,
Guid Lord! he'd an easy mind!
An oor forebears mibbie were near-hand freen's
For a' that I can finnd.

Brithers. Stanza 7. The reference here is to the signs left by tinkers and "gangrels" on bushes, etc., to indicate to the others what route they had taken.


CAULD blew the blast frae East to Wast,
A blast wi a smirr o snaw,
An it teuk the doctor's guid lum hat
Richt ower the kirk-yaird waa.
When he sichtit it he dichtit it,
An he glowred wi an angry ee-
For says auld Jock Smairt, wha was passin' wi his cairt:
"Ye've a gey guid crap," says he.
Cauld blew the blast frae East to Wast,
A blast baith snell an keen,
An the washin o the clarty wife
Sailed aff the washin green,
An it landit on the midden-heid,
Whaur nae washin ocht to be-
An says auld Jock Smairt, wha was passin' wi his cairt:
"Weel, hame's aye hame," says he.
Cauld blew the blast frae East to Wast,
An it gart the deid leaves lowp,
An it set the shoothers heicher yet
O the gaithrin' at the roup;
An stour filled the een o the unctioneer,
Till the cratur' couldna see;
An says auld Jock Smairt, wha was passin' wi his cairt:
"Turn aboot's fair play," says he.
Cauld blew the blast frae East to Wast,
An the rein catched the grey mear's tail,
An her heels to save her hin'er en'
Gaed lashin' like a flail.
An the hale apotheck lay in spails,
As the grey mear warsled free;
An when auld Jock Smairt saw the fashion o his cairt:
"Wha's seekin' ony spunks?" says he.


I WAS gaun to my supper richt hungert an tired,
A' day I'd been hard at the pleuch;
The snaw wi the dark'nin' was fast dingin on,
An the win' haed a coorse kin o souch.
'twas a cheery-like sicht as the bonny fire-licht
Gart the winnock play flicker wi flame;
But my supper was "Aff for the doctor at aince!"
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame.
Noo, I kent there was somethin' o that sort to be,
An I'd haed my ain thochts, tae, aboot it;
Sae when my guid-mither haed tel't me to flee,
Fegs, it wisna my pairt for to dout it.
Wi a new pair o buits that was pinchin' like sin,
In a mile I was hirplin deid lame;
'twas the warst nicht o a' that I ever pit in,
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame.
I'd a guid seeven mile o a fecht wi the snaw,
An the road was near smoort oot wi drift;
While the maister at market haed got on the baa,
Sae I'd tint my ae chance o a lift.
When I passed the auld inn as I cam ower the hill,
Altho I was mebbe to blame,
I buid to gang in-bye an swallow a gill,
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame.
"Guid be thankit!" says I, at the doctor's front door,
As I pou'd like mischeef at the bell;
But my he'rt gae a dunt at the story that runt
O a hoose-keeper body'd to tell.
The man wisna in? He was at the big hoose?
A seek dwam cam richt ower my wame.
Hoo the deevil was I to get haud o him noo,
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame?
The doctor was spendin' the nicht at the laird's,
For the leddy, ye see, was expeckin';
A feckless bit cratur, weel-meanin' an a,
Tho she ne'er got ayont the doo's cleckin'.
It's them that should hae them that hinna eneuch,
Fegs, lads, it's a damnable shame!
Here's me wi a dizzen, an aye at the pleuch
Sin that nicht that the bairnie cam hame!
What was I to dae? I was at my wits' en',
For Tibbie the howdie was fou,
An e'en haed I got her to traivel the road
What uise was she mair than the sou?
I was switin' wi fear tho my fingers was cauld,
An my taes they was muckle the same;
Man, my feet was that sair I was creepin' twa-fauld
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame.
Three hoors an a hauf sin I startit awa,
An Deil faurer forrit was I!
Govy-ding! It's nae mows for the heid o the hoose
When the mistress haes yokit to cry!
A set o mischanters like what I'd come throu
The strongest o spirits wad tame,
I was ettlin' to greet as I stude in the street
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame!
But a voice that I kent soondit richt in my lug,
Frae my he'rt it fair lifted a load
As I tells him my story, for wha should he be
But the factor's son hame frae abroad.
"It's a bruit o a nicht, but to doctor's my trade,
If ye'll have me, my laddie, I'm gemme!"
An he druve his ain trap seeven mile throu the snaw
That nicht that the bairnie cam hame.
Ay! an cracked like a pen-gun the hail o the road
An tho I was prooder than ask,
When he fand I was grewsin' awa at his side
He filled me near fou frae his flask.
Syne when a' thing was ower an I gruppit his haun
Says the wife, "We maun gie him the name!"
An there's aye been a guid wird for him i' the hoose
Sin the nicht that the bairnie cam hame.

The Nicht that the Bairnie cam' Hame. Last Stanza. "To gie him the name"--i.e., call the child after him--was, properly, considered a compliment.


As I gang roon' the kintra-side
Amang the young an auld,
I marvel at the things I see
An a' the lees I'm tauld.
There's Mistress-weel, I winna say:
I wadna hurt her pride,-
But speerits hae a guff, guid-wife,
Nae peppermints can hide.
Then there's the carle I said maun bide
In bed or I cam back,
An frae the road I saw him fine
Gang dodgin' roond a stack;
I heard him pechin up the stair
As I cam in the door-
But Faith! My lad was in his bed
An ettlin' for to snore.
An here's a chap that needs a peel,
He chaws it roon' an roon',
He's narra' i' the swalla', an
He canna get it doon.
Yet whiles his swalla's wide eneuch,
The muckle ne'er-dae-weel,
Gin it haed aye been narra'er
He haedna nott the peel.
Ye tend them a', baith great an sma',
Frae cradle to the grave,
An add to sorrows o your ain
The tribbles o the lave,
An yet ye finnd they're a' the same,
When human natur's watched,
It's no ill deeds they haud as wrang-
The sin o't's when they're catched.


O HAE ye heard the latest news
O Mistress Mucklewame?
Her doctor haedna pickit up
Her trouble here at hame,
Sae they teuk her tae a speeshalist
To fin' oot what was wrang,
An it seems noo a' the bother
Haes been ang-bang-pang.
Faith, in the mairiage market then
Her man's haed little luck,
She's juist a muckle creishy lump
That waddles like a juck;
But the nerves gaun throu her body's
Been the trouble a' alang,
An it's complicated noo, ye see,
By ang-bang-pang.
I've aye held oot oor doctor
Was a skeely man afore,
But I'll never lat the cratur noo
A stap inside the door!
A' up an doon the pairish
It haes made a bonny sang,
That he didna ken his neebor's wife
Haed ang-bang-pang.
They've pit her in hot-watter baths
To lat the body steep,
They're feedin her on taiblets
Frae the puddens o a sheep,
They're talkin o a foreign spaw
Upon the continang,
They think they'll mibbie cure her there
O ang-bang-pang.
There's mony weys o deein that
Oor faithers didna ken,
For ae wey foond in "Buchan," noo
The doctors gie us ten;
But I hope to a' the Pouers abuin
Auld Daith mey be ower thrang
To come an smoor my vital spark
Wi ang-bang-pang.



NOO, ye'll no tak it ill o me, Mistress Macqueen,
For ye ken ye are juist a young kimmer,
An I am a mither that's beerit fourteen,
An forty year mairit come simmer
When ye see your bit bairnie there drawin' up her knees,
Wi grups in her little interior,
Juist gie her a nip o a guid yalla cheese,
An ye'll finnd that there's naethin superior!
The doctor haed said that ye shouldna row'r ticht,
Ye should aye gie the wee cratur's belly scope?
Awa wi the lang-leggit lum-hattit fricht
Wi his specks an his wee widden tellyscope!
What kens he o littlens? He's nane o his ain,
If she greets it juist keeps the hoose cheerier,
See! THAT was the wey I did a' my fourteen,
An ye'll finnd that there's naethin superior!
I tell ye, noo, warkin' fowk canna draw braith,
What wi sanitries, cruelties, an bobbies,
An the doctors wad pit ye in fair fear o daith
Wi their blethers o German macrobbies!
I've been at their lecturs on health an Hiech Jean,
Guid kens that I niver was wearier!
Uise your ain commonsense when ye're treatin' your wean,
An ye'll finnd that there's naethin superior!


She's awa? Weel, ma wumman, I thocht that mysel,
When I saw your blinnd doon frae oor corner,
An, says I, "I'll juist tak a step up-bye an tell
Twa or three things it's better to warn her."
'twas the doctor's negleck o'r, the auld nosey-wax!
There's naethin to dae noo, but beery her,
Tammy Chips mak's a kist here at seeven-an-sax,
An ye'll finnd that there's naethin superior!


THE wife she was ailin, the doctor was ca'ed,
She was makkin' eneuch din for twa,
While Peter was suppin' his brose at the fire,
No heedin' the cratur' ava.
"Eh, doctor! My back's fair awa wi it noo,
It was rackit the day spreedin dung;
Hae, Peter! Come ower wi the lamp, like a man,
Till the doctor can leuk at my tongue!"
But Peter haed bade wi her near forty year,
Fine acquant wi her weel-soopled jaw,
Sae he lowsed his tap button for ease till his wame,
Wi a gant at the wag-at-the-waa.
"Weel, Isie," says he, "an it's me that should ken,
That's the ae place ye niver hae cramp,
The lamp's bidin here: if he's seekin' a sicht
O yer tongue he can trail't to the lamp!"


I DINNA ken what is the maiter wi Jeams,
He canna get sleepit at nicht for his dreams,
An aye when he waukens he granes an he screams
Till he fair pits the shakers on me!
Can ye no mak up somethin' to gie him a sleep?
I'm tellin' ye, doctor, he gars my flesh creep,
Till I'm that fou o nerves that the vera least cheep
Noo juist fair pits the shakers on me!
Wi his meat he was aince a man easy to please,
But last Sabbath he flang the fried ingans an cheese
That I haed for his supper richt into the bleeze,
An he fair pit the shakers on me!
Then he sat in the ingle an chowed bogie-rowe,
An read "Jowler's Sermons" an talked o his saul,
Faith ! conduck o that sort's no easy to thole,
For it fair pits the shakers on me!
He's plenty o siller, ye're shuir o your fee,
Juist gie him a soondin', an gin he's to dee,
Come oot wi the truith-dinna fash for a lee,
It'll no pit the shakers on me!
What! "Juist heepocondry? Nocht wrang wi his chest?
The Deil flee awa wi the man for a pest!
To think o me lossin' sae mony nichts' rest
An him pittin' the shakers on me!
Ay, tho he mey rout like the bull in the park,
I'se warrant the morn he's on wi his sark,
An aff wi the rest o the men till his wark,
For he'll no pit the shakers on me!


THE auld man haed a girnin' wife,
An she was aye compleenin',
For a' kin o orra things
The body aye was greenin'.
It's "I'll try this," an "I'll try that,"
At ilka adverteesement,
She flang his siller richt an left
An niver got nae easement.
The carle he led sic a life
The hale thing was a scunner,
Sae ae braw day his birse was up
He fairly roondit on her.
"Ye're aye gaun to dee, guid-wife-
Fower nichts I hinna sleepit,
Gin it's to be, I wush to peace
Ye'd set a day an keep it!"
Wow! noo there was a tirravee!
An angry wife was she, than!
"An is it no my ain affair
The day I'm gaun to dee, than?
Aha! ye think ye'll tryst the wricht
An rid him o his timmer?
Syne haud anither waddin wi
Some feckless, thowless limmer!"
Awyte, but noo she's fou o life,
She's taen anither tack o't!
An aye that she flees oot on him
His wirds is at the back o't!
Sae keep your tongue atween your teeth
When ettlin' to be clever,
Ense ye'll be like the auld carle
An en' waur aff than iver!


IN the hicht o the foray
Sir Raif got a dour,
Sir Raif the regairdless
In battle sae dour.
O cleanly the saidle
They ca'ed him attour!
Then aid for his wounds
He did sairly beseech,
An aff to the greenwud
In shade o a beech
They hurried auld Simon
The kintra-side's leech.
Wi a tow roon' his neck
Simon knelt on his knee,
An he saw as he glow'red
Wi the tail o his ee
That airmed men held it
Ower bough o the tree.
"Noo, Simon, to heal
Is your trade, no to kill,"
Qo Sir Raif, "An tho, mark ye,
We dootna your skill,
Grup the tow, knaves! If need be
Pull up wi a will!"
"But what o my fee,
Noo I ask ye, Sir Raif?"
"Gin I live, Maister Simon,
I'll wager it's safe!
There! Lauch not, ye villains,
His neck ye mey chafe!"
O stanched was the blue bluid
That ran on the gress,
Sae eident was Simon
His skill to surpass,
Sir Raif was in fair wey
His faes to harass.
An the fee they gae Simon-
The tale is aye rife-
For fittin Sir Raif
To wield sword i' the strife?
'twas the greatest e'er gien-
For they gae him his life!


DOON in the placie I hae my hame
We're an ill-daein' pack o deils,
For ilk ane gangs a gait o his ain
An the lave play yap at his heels.
It's argy-bargy - awfu wark!
An whiles we come to blows
Till a man's ill-natur' lappers his sark
As it sypes awa frae his nose.
The rizzon o't's no far to seek,
I'll tell ye plump an plain,
We ken oor neebours' business best-
The Deil mey hae oor ain!
The wricht's a billy for settin' banes,
The meenister deals in peels,
The doctor thinks his gift's to preach
An the pollisman mak's oor wills!
There's whiles I think we're waur than maist,
There's whiles I dinna ken,
A raw o neeps is no a' like
An why leuk for't in men?
Sae gin ye get your birse set up
By some dour cankert carle,
Content yersel'! For min it tak's
A' kins to mak a warl'!


YERSEL' is't? Imphm! Man, that's bad!
A kin o thinness o the bluid?
Gaed aff las' nicht intil a dwam?
Keep's a'! But that's rale nesty, Tam!
An lossin' taste noo for the dram?
(An mey it dae ye muckle guid!)
Noo! See the libel! "Thrice a day
A tablespunefu' efter food."
Drogues is nae better than they're ca'ed?
Some drumlie-like? Losh! ye're a lad!
The taste'll be byordnar' bad?
(An mey it dae ye muckle guid!)
Weel, here's your mixtur'-auchteen-pence,
I'd mak it cheaper gin I could.
For beast or body maist fowk ken
Best's cheapest at the hin'er en',
An on my drogues ye mey depen'.
(An mey they dae ye muckle guid!)
Forgot your siller? Hae ye tho?
Ye're in a richt forgetfu' mood!
Gie't ye on tick? I ken ye fine?
An whustle on my fingers, syne!
Lat's see that bottle! Here's your line!
(An mey i' dae ye muckle guid!)


HE'S a muckle man, Sandy, he's mair nor sax fit,
A size that's no handy for wark i' the pit,
But frae a' bad mischanters he'd aye keepit free
Excep'in' that nicht he'd a fire in his ee.
He was lyin an holin' at wark at the face,
For the gaffer haed gien him a gey dirty place,
Sae while i' the gloamin I sat ower my tea
He lowsed an cam hame wi a fire in his ee.
Ae wife says "Saut butter," ane "Sugar o leed,"
An anither says "Poultice the back o your heid"!
He first tried them singly an syne tried a' three,
But sairer an sairer got Sandy's sair ee.
Wi's heid in blue flannen (he couldna stan' licht)
I'se warrant he leukit a bonny-like sicht,
Till dang near deleerit, as hard's he could flee,
Eck ran to the smiddy for ease till his ee.
The smith was a billy wha cam frae the sooth,
An was awfu sair fashed wi a sutten-doon drooth.
He claimed hauf-a-mutchkin as fore-haunit fee,
An syne yokit howkin' in Sandy's sair ee.
The p'int o his gully an sleeve o his sark
Was a' the smith's gibbles for surgical wark.
For ae fire extrackit the smith pit in three,
Till Eck was fair rackit wi pain in his ee.
At last to the doctor he gangs daft wi pain,
An gets a guid sweerin' an syne some cocaine.
The fire was taen oot then, to Sandy's great glee,
An he spent the neist week wi a drap in his ee.

The Wee Drap. Stanza 6. The rough-and-ready method of removing a foreign body from the eye was to loosen it with the point of a knife, and then draw the sleeve of the operator's flannel shirt across the eyeball.


'TWAS the turn o the nicht when a' was quate
An niver a licht to see,
That Daith cam stappin the clachan throu
As the kirk knock chappit three.
An even forrit he keepit the road,
Nor leukin to aither side,
But heidin' straucht for the eastmost hoose
Whaur an auld wife used to bide.
Wi ae lang stride he passed her door,
Nor sign he niver gae nane,
Save pouin a sprig o the rowan-tree
To flick on her windae-pane.
"An is this to be a' my warnin, Daith?-
I'm fowerscore year an fower,
Yet niver a drogue haes crossed my lips
Nor a doctor crossed my door."
"I dinna seek to be forcy, wife,
But I hinna a meenute to tyne,
An ye see ye're due for a transfer noo
To the Session beuks frae mine."
"At ilka cryin' I'm handy wife,
Wi yirbs I hae trokit awa,
An weel ye mey dae's a guid turnie, lad,
That's duin ye ane or twa!"
"At the hin'er en' Fair Hornie then!
Fair Hornie lat it be!
An Govy-dick! ye can tak your pick
O the weys fowk chance to dee!"
He rattled them ower till weel on fower
An the cock gae signs o life,
On ilka ill he spak' his fill-
But nane o them pleased the wife.
"Wi siccan a ch'ice ye're unco nice!
Hoots! come awa, wumman!" says Daith,
"Gin ye canna wale ane o the fancy kin's,
What think ye o 'Want o breath'?"
Noo, Faith! the auld jaud was a humoursome taed,
As an auld wife weel can be,
An she leuch sae sair at his fleechin' air-
It fairly gart her dee!
Wi a gey teuch sinon in your neck
Ye'll lang keep clear o skaith,
But the craftiest carle in a' the warl',
An the kin'liest whiles, is Daith.