Read by Marilyn Wright
here to listen to this in RealAudio
in Perth, Soutar served in the Navy during the First World War, before
taking a degree in English at Edinburgh University in 1923.
He suffered from a progressive spinal disease which kept him at
home thereafter, and from 1930 he was confined to bed.
He kept diaries, journals and dream books throughout his long
illness, selections from which have been published as ‘Diaries of a
Dying Man’. He was a
socialist, a pacifist and a Scottish Nationalist.
Convinced that cultural revival could only come by making the
Scots language accessible to children, he wrote ‘Bairnrhymes’,
riddles and ‘Whigmaleeries’ with that audience in mind, as well as
songs and poems much influenced by the ballad tradition.
A close friend of Hugh MacDairmid, Soutar played an important
part in the Scottish Literary Revival.
luely, luely cam she in
luely she lay doun:
kent her be her caller lips
her breists sae sma’ and roun’.
thru the nicht we spak nae word
sinder’d bane frae bane:
thru the nicht I heard her hert
soundin’ wi’ my ain.
was about the waukrife hour
cocks begin to craw
she smool’d saftly thru the mirk
the day wud daw.
luely, luely, cam she in
luely was she gaen
wi’ her a’ my simmer days
they had never been.