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The Scots Week-End
Lucky Numbers - Part B


 

BLESSING OF THE KINDLING

Cogaidh mi mo theine an diugh,
An lathair ainghlean naomha neimh,
An lathair Airil is ailde cruth,
An lathair Uiril nan uile ageimh.
Gun ghnu, gun thu, gun fharmad.
Gun ghiomh, gun gheimh roimh neach fo'n ghrein,
Ach Naomh Mhac De da m'thearmad.
Gun, ghnu, gun thu, gun fharmad,
Gun ghiomh, gun gheimh, roimh neach fo'n ghrein,
Ach Naomh Mhac De da m'thearmad.

Dhe fadaidh fein na m'chridhe steach,
Aingheal ghraidh do m'choimhearsnach,
Do 'n t-saoidh, do 'n daoidh, do 'n traille.
A Mhic na Moire min-ghile,
Bho'n ni is isde crannachaire,
Gu ruig an t-Ainm is airde.
A Mhic na Moire min-ghile,
Bho 'n ni is isde crannachaire,
Gu ruig an t-Ainm is airde.

Anglice
I will kindle my fire this morning
in presence of the holy angels of heaven,
in presence of Ariel of the loveliest form,
in presence of Uriel of the myriad charms,
without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
without fear, without terror of any one under the sun,
but the Holy Son of God to shield me.
Without malice, without jealousy, without envy,
Without fear, without terror of any one under the sun
but the Holy Son of God to shield me.

God, kindle Thou in my heart within
a flame of love to my neighbour,
to my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all,
to the brave, to the knave, to the thrall,
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
From the lowliest thing that liveth,
to the Name that is highest of all.
O Son of the loveliest Mary,
from the lowliest thing that liveth,
to the Name that is highest of all.

Carmina Gadelica

THE MERRY WIDOWER

O fare ye weel, my auld wife!
Sing bum, biberry bum.
O fare ye weel, my auld wife!
Sing bum.
O
fare ye weel, my auld wife!
Thou steerer up o' sturt and strife! T
he maut's aboon the meal the nicht
Wi' some.

And fare ye weel, my pike-staff!
Sing bum, biberry bum.
And fare ye weel my pike-staff
Sing bum.
And fare ye weel my pike-staff
Nae mair wi' thee my wife I'll
The maut's aboon the meal the
Wi' some.

Fu' white white was her winding shee
Sing bum, biberry bum.
Fu' white white was her winding shee
Sing bum.
I was ower gladsome far to greet
I danced my lane, and sang to see't.
The maut's aboon the meal the nicht
Wi' some.

GLASGOW KISSES

Kiss'd yestreen, and kiss'd yestreen,
Up the Gallowgate, down the Green:
I've wood wi' lords, and wood wi' laird
I've mool'd wi' carles and mell'd wi' cai
I've kiss'd wi' priests-'twas done i' the dark
Twice in my gown and thrice in my sark
But priest, nor lord, nor loon can gie
Sic kindly kisses as he gave me.

Anon

LASSIE, GIN YE LO'E ME

I hae laid a herring in saut,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now!
I hae brewed a forpit o' maut,
And I canna come ilka day to woo
I hae a calf will soon be a cow
Lass, gin ye lo'e me tell me now!
I hae a pig will soon be a sow,
And I canna come ilka day to woo

I've a house on yonder muir,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now!
There sparrows may dance on the floor,
And I canna come ilka day to woo.
I hae a but and I hae a ben,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now!
I hae three chickens and a fat hen,
And I canna come ilka day to woo.

I've a hen wi' a happity leg,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tell me now!
Which ilka day lays me an egg,
And I canna come ilka day to woo.
I hae a kebbuck upon my shelf,
Lass, gin ye lo'e me, tak me now!
I downa eat it all myself
And I winna come ony mair to woo.

James Tytler

"MAIR SPIER NA, NOR FEAR NA"

It's hardly in a body's power,
To keep at times frae being sour,
To see how things are shared,
How best o' chiels are whiles in want,
While coofs on countless thousands rant,
And ken na how to wair 't,
But, Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head,
Though we hae little gear,
We're fit to win our daily bread,
As lang's we're hale and fier:
"Mair spier na, nor fear na",
Auld age ne'er mind a feg,
The last o't, the warst o't,
Is only but to beg.

Burns

THE SUMMING-UP

I hae been blithe wi' comrades dear;
I hae been merry drinkin' !
I hae been joyfu' gathr'in' gear;
I hae been happy thinkin':
But a' the pleasures e'er I saw,
Though three times doubled fairly,
That happy night was worth them a'
Amang the rigs o' barley.

Idem

SECRET LOVE

O May, thy morn was ne'er sae sweet
As the mirk night o' December!
For sparkling was the rosy wine,
And private was the chamber,
And dear was she I darena name,
But I will ay remember.

And here's to them that, like oursel',
Can push about the jorum!
And here's to them that wish us weel:
May a' that's guid watch o'er 'em!
And here's to them we darena tell,
The dearest o' the quorum!

Idem

A MAUCHLINE WEDDING
(FRAGMENT)

When Eighty-five was seven months auld
And wearing through the aught,
When rolling rains and Boreas bauld
Gied farmer folks a faught,
Ae morning quondam Mason W-
Now Merchant Master Miller,
Gaed down to meet wi' Nansie B-
And her Jamaica siller
To wed that day.

The rising sun o'er Blacksideen
Was just appearing fairly
When Nell and Bess got up to dress
Seven lang half-hours o'er early!
Now presses clink and drawers jink,
For linens and for laces
But modest Muses only think
What ladies' underdress is
On sic a day!

But we'll suppose the stays are lac'd
And bonie bosoms steekit,
Tho' thro' the lawn-but guess the rest!
An angel scarce durst keek it.
Then stockin's fine o' silken twine
Wi' cannie care are drawn up,
An' gartered tight whare mortal wight

[As I never wrote it down, my recollection does not entirely serve me.]

But now the gown wi' rustling sound
Its silken pomp displays;
Sure there's nae sin in being vain
O' siccan bonie claes!
Sae jimp the waist, the tail sae vast
Trouth, they were bonie birdies!
O Mither Eve, ye wad been grieve
To see their ample hurdies
Sae large that day!

Then Sandy, wi's red jacket braw,
Comes whip jee-woa! about,
And in he gets the bonie twa
Lord, send them safely out!
And auld John Trot wi' sober phiz,
As braid and braw's a Bailie,
His shouthers and his Sunday's jiz
Wi' powther and wi' ulzie
Weel smear'd that day.

Idem

THE FRUGAL WISH

May I enjoy a state of health,
Free from both poverty and wealth;
And may I ever have a friend,
In whom I safely may depend;
To crack a joke, or tell a tale,
Or share a pint of nappy ale:
And also a good sneeshin mill;
And of the best rappee her fill;
With good tobacco, pipe and box,
And some to spare a friend who smokes.
And, in the morning when I rise,
A single glass to clear my eyes:
With some choice books to read at leisure,
To edify and some for pleasure.
Likewise a kind industrious wife,
Who nothing hates so much as strife;
A snug thack'd house, a canty fire;
A new-cal' cow to fill my byre.
A bonnie burnie trotting by,
Wherein to fish at hake and manger;
An orrow bed, to lodge a stranger.
Thus may I spin the thread of life,
Remote from bustle, din and strife:
And when at last death takes me aff,
May I deserve this epitaph-
"Interr'd below this silent sod,
Lies one who always feared God:
And, when he liv'd, by God's assistance,
Held cold and craving at a distance."

Anon. (late 18th or early 19th cent.)

FARMER'S BOY

"Saw ye Johnnie comin'?" quo' she,
"Saw ye Johnnie comin';
Wi' his blue bonnet on his head
And his doggie runnin'?
Yestreen, about the gloamin' time
I chanced to see him comin',
Whistlin' merrily the tune
That I am a' day hummin'," quo' she;
"I am a' day hummin'."

"Fee him, faither, fee him", quo' she,
"Fee him, faither, fee him;
A' the wark about the house
Gaes wi' me when I see him;
A' the wark about the house,
I gang lightly through it:
And though ye pay some merks o' gear,
Hoot! ye winna rue it," quo' she;
"No, ye winna rue it."

"What wad I do wi' him, hizzy?
What wad I do wi' him?
He's ne'er a Sark upon his back,
And I hae nane to gie him."
"I hae two sarks into my kist,
And ane o' them I'll gie him;
And for merk o' mair fee,
O dinna stand wi' him," quo' she.
"Dinna stand wi him."

"Weel do I lo'e him," quo' she,
"Weel do I lo'e him;
The bravest lads about the place
Are a' but hav'rels to him.
O fee him, faither; lang, I trow,
We've dull and dowie been;
He'll haud the plough, thrash i' the barn,
And crack wi' me at e'en," quo' she,
"Crack wi' me at e'en."

Joanna Baillie

MORNING

But who the melodies of morn can tell?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain side;
The lowing herd; the sheepfold's simple bell;
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide
The clamorous horn along the cliffs above;
The hollow murmur of the ocean-tide,
The hum of bees, the linnet's lay of love,
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove.

The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark;
Crown'd with her pail the tripping milkmaid sings;
The whistling ploughman stalks afield; and, hark!
Down the rough slope his ponderous waggon rings;
Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs;
Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour;
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings;
Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower,
And shrill lark carols clear from her aerial tour.

James Hay Beattie

WINTER DISCONTENT

Gane were but the winter cauld,
And gane were but the snaw,
I could sleep in the wild woods
Where the primroses blaw.

Allan Cunningham

EXCERPTS FROM THE LIFE OF
MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

1. Her Birth and Education

Poor Mary Queen of Scots was born
With all the graces which adorn
Her birthday is so very late
That I do now forget the date
Her education was in France
There she did learn to sing and dance
There she was married to the dauphin
But soon he was laid in a coffin
Then she at once from France retired
Where she had been so much admired
Fare well dear France she cried at last
While a despairing look she cast.

2. The Tragedy of Rizzio and its Sequel

Mary was charmed with a player
Of whom she took a great great care
He fed upon the finest fair
He was her greatest favourite
Him she caressed with all her might
She gave him food and she gave him wine
When he was gone she would repine
The King heard this with anger sore
This is not all there is much more
For he did murder the poor player
Of whom she took so great a care
In agony she heaved a sigh
For on the King she did relie
Bad hatered at length found a way
It was a little more than play An awful day at last arrived
Which was the last that he survived
For she went to a masquerade
But for that thing he dearly paid
For in her absence what was done
The thing would not I'm sure give fun
The house in which the King did lie
I cannot think without a sigh
Was blowen up at too next day
The King was killed I'm sorry to say.

3. Mary and Elizabeth compared

Elisbeth was a cross old maid
Now when her youth began to fade
Her temper was worse than before
And people did not her adore
But Mary was much loved by all
Both by the great and by the small
But hark her soul to heaven did rise
And I do think she gained a prise
For I do think she would not go
Into that awfull place below
There is a thing that I must tell
Elisbeth went to fire and hell
Him who will teach her to be cevel
It must be her great friend the divil.

Marjory Fleming

FARM CAT

I had a Cat, o' cats the wale,
A bonnie brute frae snout to tail,
Soft as the silk his massy paw,
His skin as white as mountain snaw,
Save where the gowden spraings confest
Shone glancin' on his wally chest;
His smell like ony sluth-hund's keen,
An' quick his rowin hazel e'en;
Firm, portly on his legs he stood,
An' luik't a cat o' princely bluid.
Yet tho' he seem'd o' guid descent,
His pedigree I never kent.

I never sneckt an amrie door,
Tam never steal'd tho' he was poor;
My confidence he ne'er abus'd,
An' aft the proffer'd bite refus'd,
Wi modest face withdrew his e'en,
As if the gift he hadna seen;
Nor, tho' it savoury stood beside him,
Wad steal the bit I had denied him.

At e'en he prowl'd baith house an' barn,
Ilk ee red glancin' like a starn,
Wad every corner keen explore
Whar he could find a hole or bore;
Wi snout erect snuff up the ait,
As if he smelt his object there;
Down ilka paw sae saftly set,
As wadna scaith'd a spider's net;
Syne whan the mice began to stir,
Squat on the floor he ceas'd to purr,
An' caum as he had been asleep,
Saw them frae out their hidins peep;
Then neither age nor sex he spar'd,
But springing, like the furious pard,
Snap gaed his jaw, an' in a breath
Crush'd some poor hapless wretch to death.

Tho' a full tide o' noble bluid
Pour'd thro' his veins its crimson fluid:
Tho' he a tyger's fury knew
Whane'er his game he had in view,
Yet, quait, aside the fire himlane,
Was harmless as the soukin' wean;
Wi' all the bairns he was a pet,
An sad and sair they mourn him yet.
He ne'er wad wi' his neighbour squabble,
Nor herdit wi' the common rabble;
Till ance arriv'd at hoary age
He hirsl'd quaitly off the stage.

Ebenezer Picken (fl. 1813)

ROVING LOVE

"A weary lot is thine, fair maid,
A weary lot is thine!
To pull the thorn thy brow to braid,
And press the rue for wine!
A lightsome eye, a soldier's mien,
A feather of the blue,
A doublet of the Lincoln green,
No more of me you knew,
My love!
No more of me you knew.

This morn is merry June, I trow,
The rose is budding fain;
But she shall bloom in winter snow,
Ere we two meet again."
He turn'd his charger as he spake,
Upon the river shore,
He gave his bridle-reins a shake,
Said, "Adieu for evermore,
My love! And adieu for evermore".

Scott

THE LONELY HEART

Why should I sit and sigh
When the greenwood blooms sae bonnie?
Laverocks sing, flow'rets spring,
A' but me are cheery.
Ochon, O ri! There's something wanting,
Ochon, O ri! I'm weary;
Nae young, blithe and bonnie lad,
Comes o'er the knowe to cheer me.

When the day wears away
Sair I look down the valley.
Ilka sound wi' a stound
Sets my heart a-thrilling.
When I see the plover rising
Or the curlew wheeling,
Then I trow some bonnie lad
Is coming to my shieling.

Come away, come away,
Herd or hind or boatman laddie;
I hae cow, kid and ewe,
Gowd and gear to gain thee!
My wee cot is blessed and happy,
Oh, 'tis neat and cleanly!
Sweet the briar that blooms beside it,
Kind the heart that's lanely!
Ochon, O ri! there's something wanting
Ochon, O ri! I'm weary
Nae young, blithe and bonnie lad
Comes o'er the knowe to cheer me.

James Hogg

A BOY'S SONG

Where the pools are bright and deep
Where the grey trout lies asleep,
Up the river and o'er the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the blackbird sings the latest,
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest,
Where the nestlings chirp and flee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the mowers mow the cleanest,
Where the hay lies thick and greenest,
There to trace the homeward bee,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the hazel bank is steepest,
Where the shadow falls the deepest,
Where the clustering nuts fall free,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Why the boys should drive away
Little sweet maidens from the play,
Or love to banter and fight so well,
That's the thing I never could tell.

But this I know, I love to play,
Through the meadows, among the hay,
Up the water and o'er the lea,
That's the way for Billy and me.

Idem

LAMENT FOR CAPTAIN PATON

Touch once more a sober measure,
And let punch and tears be shed,
For a prince of good old fellows,
That, alack-a-day! is dead;
For a prince of worthy fellows,
And a pretty man also,
That has left the Saltmarket
In sorrow, grief, and wo.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

His waistcoat, coat, and breeches,
Were all cut off the same web,
Of a beautiful snuff colour,
Or a modest genty drab;
The blue stripe in his stocking
Round his neat slim leg did go,
And his ruffles of the cambric fine
They were whiter than the snow.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

His hair was curled in order,
At the rising of the sun,
In comely rows and buckles smart
That about his ears did run,
And before there was a toupee
That some inches up did go,
And behind there was a long queue
That did o'er his shoulders flow.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton mo'.

And whenever we foregathered,
He took off his wee three-cockit,
And he proffered you his snuff box,
Which he drew from his side-pocket;
And on Burdett or Bonaparte,
He would make a remark or so,
And then along the plainstones
Like a provost he would go.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

In dirty days he picked well
His footsteps with his rattan;
Oh! you ne'er could see the least speck
On the shoes of Captain Paton;
And on entering the coffee-room
About two, all men did know,
They would see him with his Courier
In the middle of the row.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

Now and then upon a Sunday
He invited me to dine,
On a herring and a mutton chop
Which his maid dressed very fine;
There was also a little Malmsey,
And a bottle of Bordeaux,
Which between me and the Captain
Passed nimbly to and fro.
Oh! I ne'er shall take pot-luck with Captain Paton no mo'.

Or if a bowl was mentioned,
The Captain he would ring,
And bid Nelly to the West-port,
And a stoup of water bring;
Then would he mix the genuine stuff,
As they made it long ago,
With limes that on his property
In Trinidad did grow.
Oh! we ne'er shall taste the like of Captain Paton's punch no mo'. (1)

(1) See page 383 for the genuine stuff, as well as it can be composed in these degenerate days.

And then all the time he would discourse,
So sensible and courteous;
Perhaps talking of the last sermon
He had heard from Dr. Porteous,
Or some little bit of scandal
About Mrs So-and-So,
Which he scarce could credit, having heard
The con but not the pro.
Oh! we ne'er shall hear the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

Or when the candles were brought forth,
And the night was fairly setting in,
He would tell some fine old stories
About Minden-field or Dettingen
How he fought with a French major,
And despatched him at a blow,
While his blood ran out like water
On the soft grass below.
Oh! we ne'er shall hear the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

But at last the Captain sickened,
And grew worse from day to day,
And all missed him in the coffee-room,
From which now he stayed away;
On Sabbaths, too, the Wee Kirk
Made a melancholy show,
All for wanting of the presence
Of our venerable beau.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

And in spite of all that Cleghorn
And Corkindale could do,
It was plain from twenty symptoms,
That death was in his view;
So the Captain made his Test'ment,
And submitted to his foe,
And we laid him by the Rams-horn Kirk
'Tis the way we all must go.
Oh! we ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

Join all in chorus, jolly boys,
And let punch and tears be shed,
For this prince of good old fellows,
That, alack-a-day! is dead;
For this prince of worthy fellows,
And a pretty man also,
That has left the Saltmarket,
In sorrow, grief, and wo!
For it ne'er shall see the like of Captain Paton no mo'.

John Gibson Lockhart

DRINKIN' DRAMS

He ante was holy An' melancholy,
Till he found the folly
O' singin' psalms:
He's now as red's a rose,
And there's pimples on his nose,
And in size it daily grows
By drinkin' drams.

He ante was weak,
An' couldnae eat a steak
Without gettin' sick
An' takin' qualms;
But now he can eat
O' ony kind o' meat,
For he's got an appeteet
By drinkin' drams.

He ante was thin,
Wi' a nose like a pen,
An' haunds like a hen,
An' nae hams;
But now he's round and tight,
An' a deevil o' a wight,
For he's got himsel' put right
By drinkin' drams.

He ance was saft as dirt,
An' as pale as ony shirt,
An' as useless as a cart
Without the trams;
But now he'd race the deil,
Or swallow Jonah's whale
He's as gleg's a puddock's tail
Wi' drinkin' drams.

Oh! pale, pale, was his hue,
An' cauld, cauld was his broo,
An' he grumbled like a ewe
'Mang libbit rams;
But noo his broo is bricht,
An' his een are orbs o' licht,
An' his nose is just a sicht
Wi' drinkin' drams.

He studied mathematics,
Logic, ethics, hydrostatics,
Till he needed diuretics
To lowse his dams;
But now, without a lee,
He could make anither sea,
For he's left philosophy
An' taen to drams.

He found that learnin', fame,
Gas, philanthropy, an' steam,
Logic, loyalty, gude name,
Were a' mere shams;
That the source o' joy below,
An' the antidote to woe,
An' the only proper go,
Was drinkin' drams.

George Outram 

NO MAN LIVETH UNTO HIMSELF ALONE

Wherever men are gathered, all the air
Is charged with human feeling, human thought;
Each shout and cry and laugh, each curse and prayer,
Are into its vibrations surely wrought;
Unspoken passion, wordless meditation,
Are breathed into it with our respiration;
It is with our life fraught and overfraught.

So that no man there breathes earth's simple breath,
As if alone on mountains or wide seas,
But nourishes warm life or hastens death
With joys and sorrows, health and foul disease,
Wisdom and folly, good and evil labours,
Incessant of his multitudinous neighbours;
He in his turn affecting all of these.

James Thomson ("B.V.")

THE DELUSION

How the moon triumphs through the endless nights!
How the stars throb and glitter as they wheel
Their thick processions of supernal lights
Around the blue vault obdurate as steel!
And men regard with passionate awe and yearning
The mighty marching and the golden burning,
And think the heavens respond to what they feel.

Idem

DIFFUGERE NIVES

Noo swallow-birds begin to big
An' primrose-flowers to blaw;
An' Jockie whistles doun the rig
A fareweel to the snaw;

An' glints o' sunshine glancin' gleg,
Licht up the buddin' shaw
An' westlin' winds are playin' tig
Round ae bewildered craw.

Auld Tammas to the garle-wa'
Nails up a cherry-twig;
An' Mar'an waters, raw by raw,
Her bleachin' wi' a pig;

An' yonder-he's been lang awa'
Comes Packie owre the brig,
An' country lads may noo gang braw,
An' country lasses trig.

James Logie Robertson

THE LAMENTATION OF BALVA THE MONK

Balva the old monk I am called: when I was young, Balva Honeymouth.
That was before Colum the White came to Iona in the west.
She whom I loved was a woman whom I won out of the South.
And I had a good heaven with my lips on hers and with breast to breast.

Balva the old monk I am called: were it not for the fear
That the soul of Colum the White would meet my soul in the Narrows
That sever the living and dead, I would rise up from here,
And go back to where men pray with spears and arrows.

Balva the old monk I am called: ugh! ugh! the cold bell of the matins-'tis dawn!
Sure it's a dream I have had that I was in a warm wood with the sun ashine,
And that against me in the pleasant greenness was a soft fawn,
And a voice that whispered, "Balva Honeymouth, I am thy wine".

William Sharp

ADVENTURE OF A POET

As I was walking down the street
A week ago,
Near Henderson's I chanced to meet
A man I know.

His name is Alexander Bell,
His home Dundee;
I do not know him quite so well
As he knows me.

He gave my hand a hearty shake,
Discussed the weather,
And then proposed that we should take
A stroll together.

Down College Street we took our way,
And there we met
The beautiful Miss Mary Grey,
That arch coquette,
Who stole last spring my heart away
And has it yet.

That smile with which my bow she greets,
Would it were fonder!
Or else less fond-since she its sweets
On all must squander.
Thus, when I meet her in the streets,
I sadly ponder,
And after her, as she retreats,
My thoughts will wander.

And so I listened with an air
Of inattention,
While Bell described a folding-chair
Of his invention.

And when we reached the Swilcan Burn,
"It looks like rain,"
Said I, "and we had better turn".
'Twas all in vain.

For Bell was weather-wise, and knew
The signs aerial,
He bade me note a strip of blue
Above the Imperial,

Also another patch of sky
South-west by south,
Which meant that we might journey dry
To Eden's mouth.

He was a man of information
On many topics:
He talked about the exploration
Of Poles and Tropics.

The scene in Parliament last night,
Sir William's letter;
"And do you like electric light
Or gas-lamps better?"

The strike amongst the dust-heap pickers
He said was over;
And had I read about the liquors
Just seized at Dover?

Or the unhappy printer lad
At Rothesay drowned?
Or the Italian ironclad
That ran aground?

He told me stories (lately come)
Of town society,
Some slightly tinged with truth, and some
With impropriety.

He spoke of duelling in France,
Then lightly glanced at
Mrs Mackenzie's monster dance,
Which he had danced at.

So he ran on, till by and by
A silence came,
For which I greatly fear that I
Was much to blame.

Then neither of us spoke a word
For quite a minute,
When presently a thought occurred
With promise in it.

"How did you like the Shakespeare play
The students read?"
By this the Eden like a bay
Before us spread.

Near Eden many softer plots
Of sand there be;
Our feet like Pharaoh's chariots,
Drave heavily.

And ere an answer I could frame,
He said that Irving
Of his extraordinary fame
Was undeserving.

And for his part he thought more highly
Of Ellen Terry;
Although he knew a girl called Riley
At Broughty Ferry,

Who might be, if she only chose,
As great a star.
She had a part in the tableaux
At the bazaar.

If I had said but little yet
I now said less,
And smoked a home-made cigarette
In mute distress.

The smoke into his face was blown
By the wind's action,
And this afforded me, I own,
Some satisfaction.

But still his tongue received no check
Till, coming home,
We stood beside an ancient wreck
And watched the foam

Wash in among the timbers, now
Sunk deep in sand,
Though I can well remember how
I used to stand

On windy days and hold my hat
And idly turn
To read "Lovise, Frederikstad"
Upon her stern.

Her stern long since was buried quite,
And soon no trace
The absorbing sand will leave in sight
To mark her place.

This reverie was not permitted
To last too long.
Bell's mind had left the stage, and flitted
To fields of song.

And now he spoke of Marmion
And Lewis Morris;
The former he at school had done
Along with Horace.

His maiden aunts no longer young,
But learned ladies,
Had lately sent him Songs Unsung,
Epic of Hades,

Gycia and Gwen. He thought them fine;
Not like that Browning,
Of whom he could not read a line,
He told me frowning.

Talking of Horace-very clever
Beyond a doubt,
But what the Satires meant he never
Yet could make out.

I said I relished Satire Nine
Of the First Book;
But he had skipped to the divine
Eliza Cook.

He took occasion to declare
In tones devoted,
How he admired her Old Arm-chair,
Which now he quoted.

And other poets he reviewed
Some two or three,
Till, having touched on Thomas Hood,
He turned to me.

"Have you been stringing any rhymes
Of late?" he said.
I could not lie, but several times
I shook my head.

The last straw to the earth will bow
Th' o'erloaded camel,
And surely I resembled now
That ill-used mammal.

This is the recompense we meet
In our vocation.
We bear the burden and the heat
Of inspiration;

The beauties of the earth we sing
In glowing numbers,
And to the "reading public" bring
Post-prandial slumbers;

We save from Mammon's gross dominion
These sordid times....
And all this in the world's opinion
Is "stringing rhymes".

It is as if a man should say
In accents mild,
"Have you been stringing beads to-day,
My gentle child?"

(Yet even children fond of singing
Will pay off scores,
And I to-day at least am stringing
Not beads but bores.)

And now the sands were left behind,
The Club-house past,
I wonder, Can I hope to find
Escape at last,

Or must I take him home to tea,
And bear his chatter
Until the last train to Dundee
Shall solve the matter?

But while I shuddered at the thought
And planned resistance,
My conquering Alexander caught
Sight in the distance

Of two young ladies, one of whom
Is his ambition;
And so, with somewhat heightened bloom,
Bell asked permission

To say good-bye to me and follow.
I freely gave it,
And wished him all success.
Apollo
Sic me servavit.

R. F. Murray

THE WHITE FLAG

[Let there be no mistake. These two specimens of Thomson's work belong here, and anyone who thinks they would find a more proper place in the next section proclaims himself a Philistine; for how, if he cannot appreciate Thomas Thomson, can he be expected to appreciate some of the most admired literary experiments of the present day? It is only just that this ingenious precursor of Joyce and MacDiarmid should have some belated recognition. Thomson was for many years a well-known "character" in Dalbeattie, where he died in 1924, aged 87.-Edd.]

As notions wail thy jeer an' grin a vows an' isify, A
 soothing theme an ziral dreams letters peterfy.
An o'er some howl as warrior's guess, an quivers ever so,
Entations oil forbid an' princes ly below.
Awake! awake! an' sanctify, as years restore in love,
Rivers overflow, an' locust high above.
As lions growl an' whelps aft oul, as domotars pursue,
Chaff an' kinsmen kiss, an' querila bans o' you

Noo, what o' gourr an' wither'd stock o' wax an' prophesi,
Doleful prayers are heard an' strains o' equity.
As some sellor pang prevail an' lips averse from war,
Prunning hooks are taen, an' Methuesla ajar,
Now lying wait me soul. O Lord, as numbert id declare,
Restore me foes me voice o cry an' bear,
An o'er thy path in reverence rocks an' miry clay,
As quiet waters be an' querilla sums o' lay.

Thomas Thomson

HYFONS, HYFONS

Noo slings aboot an' stars a' oot, an' auld moon chowin' sin,
Here ye wonner really at the din,
As fit aboot of ebbs salute, and fetters all the score,
Hyfon pland often really soar.
Of slang aboot and Sunday loot and ithers coortin' fame,
Claim gaits and prayers of mony weans,
Noo fit aboot and faulds divine, and whirling ever soar,
Quira sauce and bogles of the score.
As I houk my heid in anger, dote on hinges prest of long,
Vaunting leers some may rule the throng,
An' marl't slings forgi'ein jars, stare an' rainbows flat,
Of shoals and prayers blinding wonder at.

Idem

TO A SKYLARK SINGING ABOVE A POORHOUSE

What blast of Fate, melodious Mocker, say,
Has blown thee here: in airy, spendthrift glee,
Wasting thy wealth of liquid ecstasy
On hearts too cold to kindle at thy lay?
Thou sing'st of Hope above Hope's grave.... Away!
Flee this dark Hall of Eblis, thro' whose aisles
Frail phantoms totter, or with senile smiles
Rake the spent ashes of dead yesterday!

Flung from Life's boiling tumult, bruised and sore;
Sick with the shame of what I have become,
My wistful gaze follows thy flight afar;
As some late Reveller, when the Rout is o'er,
Pauses in his uncertain steps for home,
With blear'd eyes blinking at the Morning Star.

Roger Quin (the younger)

MY NATIVE LAND

[These prophetic verses were written some years before the Great War.-Edd.]

My native land! which oft with heart afire,
In Patriotic zeal mine own I call,
It damps my ardour that I must admire
From this side of a somewhat lofty wall.

Yon lordly height I might ascend, and there
Survey the scene as from God's hand it came-
'Tis rented by a Yankee millionaire,
I must not trespass or disturb the game.

Beside this gentle stream then let me stray,
And from the city's din find welcome peace
A careful landlord, though, has blocked the way,
Untrodden lies the walk, for he's at Nice.

Our fathers fought, so runs the glorious tale,
To save you, country mine, from tyrants rash,
And now their bones and you are up for sale,
The smartest bidder buys for ready cash.

What comforts to be privileged to give
My body's labour, so I may command
The wondrous right to be allowed to live
On you my own (i.e. Lord Blythswood's) land!

And when a naughty foe insults our King,
And foreign landlords want Lord Blythswood's earth,
My good Lee-Enfield manfully I'll sling,
And forth to battle for
his home and hearth.

And having fought and bled, when I return,
And bread is scarce and rent is overdue,
From Sheriff officers I quickly learn,
Dear native land, the share I have in you.

But, discontented soul, why fume and fret?
Keep but thy life insurance well in hand,
And (Land-) Lord willing, you at last shall get
Six feet by two-your own
dear native land.

J. R. Christie

A LIVING DOG

King Arthur ruled the land, he did;
His lance was keen, his right arm strong,
His aim (ostensibly) to rid
The world or thereabouts of wrong.
He was a wight of high degree,
And knew how many beans make five,
But now he's not a patch on me,
For he is dead and I'm alive.

For Milo and his morning walk
I own to admiration; it
Would doubtless cause no end of talk
If he were matched with Hackenschmidt;
But though some records once he made,
At which I never can arrive,
To-day I flout him unafraid,
For he is dead and I'm alive.

The brain that lodged in Homer's head
May have outweighed by half a stone
The one which kindly friends have said
Has made its dwelling in my own;
And through his burning heart divine
What fiery dreams were wont to drive!
Cold are they now compared with mine,
For he is dead and I'm alive.

And all the gay deceased of old
The wise, the generous, the good,
The poet sage, the warrior bold,
The man of brain, the man of blood
Their songs I grant, were wild and free,
To match their deeds I would not strive,
But put your money, boys, on me,
For they are dead and I'm alive.

The Rev. T. L. Douglas

FOR CHOICE

Sages sacred and profane
Nail this dogma to the mast:
Pleasures have for relish pain,
Feasts an antecedent fast;
All of which, with judgment ripe,
I consider utter tripe.

Give me skies for ever blue,
Breakfasts uniformly warm,
Ties that never go askew,
Friends consistently in form,
Every good by me enjoyed
Absolutely unalloyed.

Idem

THE BEST-DRESSED HIGHLANDER

["A Prize of 5 to be awarded to the best-dressed Highlander at his own expense." - Programme of any Highland Gathering.]

My name is John Macleod-from Chiefs descended
Distinguished for their courage and their size.
A Highland gathering lately I attended,
Because I saw there was to be a prize
For the best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense.

Chorus

At his own expense,
At his own expense,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense.

My kilt and tartan stockings I was wearing,
My claymore and my dirk and skian-dhu,
And when I sallied forth with manly bearing
I heard admiring whispers not a few
"He's the best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense."
Chorus. - At his own expense, etc.

The ladies, bless them! came and gathered round me,
And gazed upon my form so strong and proud.
With ties of gratitude and love they bound me,
When they declared 'twas clear that John Macleod
Was the best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense.

Chorus. - At his own expense, etc.

The judge-a man of sense and penetration
Would go no further when he came to me.
"This is", he said, with hearty approbation,
"As every one with half an eye can see,
Just the best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense".

Chorus. - At his own expense, etc.

The world has many shining paths of glory,
And I have chosen out this path for me
That John Macleod, until he's old and hoary,
Will always and incomparably be
Quite the best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander,
The best-dressed Highlander at his own expense.

Grand Chorus (Crescendo)
At his own expense,
At his OWN expense.
THE BEST-DRESSED HIGHLANDER AT HIS OWN EXPENSE

D. M. McKay

WOOD MAGIC

I will walk warily in the wise woods on the fringes of eventide,
For the covert is full of noises and the stir of nameless things,
I have seen in the dusk of the beeches the shapes of the lords that ride,
And down in the marish hollow I have heard the lady who sings,
And once in an April gloaming I met a maid on the sward,
All marble-white and gleaming and tender and wild of eye;
I, Jehan the hunter, who speak am a grown man, middling hard,
But I dreamt a month of the maid, and wept I knew not why.

Down by the edge of the firs, in a coppice of heath and vine,
Is an old moss-grown altar, shaded by briar and bloom,
Denys, the priest, hath told me 'twas the lord Apollo's shrine
In the days ere Christ came down from God to the Virgin's womb.
I never go past but I doff my cap and avert my eyes
(Were Denys to catch me I trow I'd do penance for half a year.)
For once I saw a flame there and the smoke of a sacrifice
And a voice spake out of the thicket that froze my soul with fear.

Wherefore to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
Mary the Blessed Mother, and the kindly Saints as well,
I will give glory and praise, and them I cherish the most,
For they have the keys of Heaven, and save the soul from Hell.
But likewise I will spare for the Lord Apollo a grace,
And a bow for the lady Venus-as a friend but not as a thrall,
'Tis true they are out of Heaven, but some day they may win the place;
For gods are kittle cattle, and a wise man honours them all.

John Buchan

THE SHORTER CATECHISM

When I was young and herdit sheep,
I read auld tales o' Wallace wight;
My heid was fou o' sangs and threep
0' folk that feared nae mortal might.
But now I'm auld and weel I ken
We're made alike o' gowd and mire;
There's saft bits in the stievest men,
The bairnliest's got a spunk o' fire.
Sae hearken to me, lads,
It's truith that I tell;
There's nae man a' courage
I ken by mysel'.

I've been an elder forty year,
I've tried to keep the narrow way,
I've walked afore the Lord in fear,
I've never missed the kirk a day,
I've read the Bible in an' oot,
I ken the feck o't clean by he'rt;
But still and on I sair misdoot
I'm better noo than at the stert,
Sae hearken to me, lads,
It's truith I maintain!
Man's works are but rags, for
I ken by my ain.

I hae a name for dacent trade;
I'll wager a' the countryside
Wad swear nae trustier man was made
The ford to soom, the bent to bide.
But when it comes to coupin' horse
I'm juist like a' that e'er were born,
I fling my heels and tak my course
I'd sell the minister the morn.
Sae hearken to me, lads,
It's truith that I tell:
There's nae man deid honest
I ken by mysel'.

Idem

JUVENIS AND PISCATOR

Juv. Canny Fisher Jamie, comin' hame at e'en,
Canny Fisher Jamie, whaur have ye been?
Pisc. Mony lang miles, laddie, o'er the Kips sae green.
Juv. Fishin' Leithen Water?
Pisc. Nay, laddie, nay.
Just a wee burnie rinnin' doun a brae,
Fishin' a wee burnie nae bigger than a sheugh.
Juv. Gat ye mony troots, Jamie?
Pisc. I gat eneugh
Eneugh to buy my baccy, snuff, and pickle tea,
And lea me tippence for a gill, and that's eneugh for me.

- Noted from oral tradition by John Buchan

AY, FEGS

Ay, fegs, an' fat dae ye think o' my legs?
Ye hanna seen me i' my sodger's kilt for weeks,
For aye as I'm mairchin' by, some limmer is sure to cry,
"Wi' shanks like that ye'd better hae stuck to breeks".

Na, fegs, they needna laugh at my legs,
For mony a weary fecht they've brocht me through.
Ay, fegs, gin't hadna been for my legs
O I would be a cauld corp noo.

Ay, fegs, when the sergeant saw my legs
He was handin' ower the shillin' afore he spoke,
He kent brawly fat ye need to wyde amo' fire an' bleed,
Sae he clappit me on the shou'der an' ca'ed me "Jock".
Na, fegs, he didna laugh at my legs,
He kent the weary fechts they'd bring me through.
Ay, fegs, gin't hadna been for my legs.
O I wad be a cauld corp noo.

Eh, mon, sic a terrible day was thon,
The bullets and ba's were fleein' about like snaw;
"Strike oot" they cried for hame, but the feck o' lave was lame,
An' I got there twa days afore them a'.
Ay, fegs, sic a handy thing is your legs,
An' mony a weary fecht they bring you through.
Na, fegs, gin't hadna been for my legs
O I wad be a cauld corp noo.

Ay, fegs, when a cannon ba' grazed my legs
It mindet me upon something I'd forgot,
My auld mither ower the sea, sittin' wearyin' sair for me,
For wha would dibble her kail gin I was shot?
Ay, fegs, she aye admired my legs,
An' here I'm back i' the Cabrach wi' the coo.
Na, fegs, gin't hadna been for my legs
O I wad be a cauld corp noo.

Charles Murray

THE SONG OF THE SWORD OF THE ETERNAL

A sword, a sword,
whetted and polished,
whetted to slay,
polished to flash like lightning ...
handed to slayers to wield,
whetted and polished
for slayers to handle!
Shriek, son of man, and howl;
it is drawn against my people,
against all Israel's leaders
they and my people
surrendered to the sword!
Smite your breast despairingly,
for I spurn them in my wrath,
says the Lord the Eternal.

Prophesy, then, son of man,
call the doom down,
swing the sword twice, thrice,
the sword of mortal wounds,
the huge sword of mortal wounds,
that hems them in.

Scare them till their hearts are trembling,
and dead lie heaped at every gate.
They are abandoned to the slaughtering sword,
flashing like lightning,
whetted for slaughter.

Whirl to the rear, sword,
right, front, left
wherever your edge must whirl;
and I will clap you on,
I will glut my furyI,
the Eternal, have said it!

Ezekiel (Dr. Moffatt's Version)

THE CROCODILE

Can you pull out the crocodile with a hook,
Or tie his tongue down with a string,
Or run a cord through his gills,
Or carry him with a gaff between his jaws?
Will he make many a prayer to you?
Will he speak softly to you?
Will he come to terms with you,
Always be at your service?
Will you play with him like a pet bird,
Or cage him to amuse your maidens?
Will fishermen make a meal of him?
Will traders cut him up?
Can you plant harpoons in his skin,
Or pierce the head of him with spears?
Just lay a hand on him! just once!
You will not forget the fray!
Who can strip off his hide?
Who can pierce his armoured scales?
Who can force open his jaws?
His teeth are a terror!
His back is row on row of shields,
sealed close and tight,
One scale so near another
that no air can pass between,
Welded each to each,
clasped till they cannot be parted.

The light plays on his snorting snout;
His eyes flash like the morning rays,
Flames issue from his mouth,
and sparks fly out,
Steam pours out of his nostrils,
As from a seething, boiling pot
His breath would kindle coals,
with the fire from his mouth.

Strength is seated in his neck
all creatures twitch in terror at him.
Firm are the flakes of his flesh;
his heart is stout as a millstone.
When he comes up, strong men are terrified,
scared by the swirl in the water;
No sword avails against him,
no spear, no dart, no arrow;
He treats a harpoon like a straw,
A bronze lance is like rotten wood;
No arrow makes him fly,
Stones from a sling to him are merely stubble,
Bludgeons are mere bulrushes,
and whizzing javelins he derides.

His lair is the sharp rocks;
he rests his loins upon the mud.
He makes the water boil and foam,
Churning the deep like unguents in a pot;
He leaves a shining furrow in his wake
One would think the deep was hoary.
Nowhere on earth is there the like of him,
a creature born to know no fear;
Wild animals are all in fear of him,
the monarch of proud creatures.

Job (Dr. Moffatt's Version)

FAITH

Though the fig-tree may not blossom,
Though no fruit is on the vine,
Though the olive crop has failed,
Though the fields give us no food,
Though the folds have lost their flocks,
And in the stalls no cattle lie,
Yet in the Eternal we will find our joy,
We will rejoice in the God who saves us.
The Lord, the Eternal, is our strength,
He makes our feet sure as the feet of hinds,
Helps us to keep our footing on the heights.

Habakkuk (Dr. Moffatt's Version)

ON A CAT AGEING

He blinks upon the hearth-rug
And yawns in deep content,
Accepting all the comforts
That Providence has sent.

Louder he purrs, and louder,
In one glad hymn of praise
For all the night's adventures,
For quiet, restful days.

Life will go on for ever,
With all that cat can wish:
Warmth and the glad procession
Of fish and milk and fish.

Only-the thought disturbs him
He's noticed once or twice,
That times are somehow breeding
A nimbler race of mice.

Alexander Gray

SHOOTING GUEST, NONCONFORMIST

You promised I should see the golden eagle;
Speckled brown adders basking in the sun;
Proud antlered stags and herds of red hinds leaping
Across great rocky corries, rainbow-spanned;
Peat mosses where three thousand feet on high
The luscious scarlet averens [Cloudberries] are glowing;
Pools where the otter stalks for salmon flesh;
Heron, grey on a green sky, solemn floating.

But these I saw while you to butts were striding
Guided by servile gillies to your sport.
Fast-rooted bracken where the corn once ripened;
Roofless and ruined homesteads by the score;
Once fertile gardens, mildewed, choked with weed,
Hemlock and nettle where the children played.

Helen B. Cruickshank

A MOMENT IN ETERNITY

The great song ceased
-Aye, like a wind was gone,
And our hearts came to rest,
Singly as leaves do,
And every leaf a flame.

My shining passions stilled
Shone in the sudden peace
Like countless leaves
Tingling with the quick sap
Of immortality.

I was a multitude of leaves
Receiving and reflecting light,
A burning bush
Blazing for ever unconsumed,
Nay, ceaselessly,

Multiplying in leaves and light
And instantly,
Burgeoning in buds of brightness,
-Freeing like golden breaths
Upon the cordial air
A thousand new delights,
-Translucent leaves
Green with the goodness of Eternity,
Golden in the Heavenly light
-The golden breaths
Of my eternal life,
Like happy memories multiplied,
Shining out instantly from me
And shining back for ever into me,
-Breaths given out But still unlost,
For ever mine,
In the infinite air,
The everlasting foliage of my soul
Visible awhile
Like steady and innumerable flames,
Blending into one blaze
Yet each distinct
With shining shadows of difference.

A sudden thought of God's
Came like a wind
Ever and again
Rippling them as waters over stars,
And swiftlier fanning them
And setting them a-dance,
Upflying, fluttering down,
Moving in orderly intricacies
Of colour and of light,
Delaying, hastening,
Blazing and serene,
Shaken and shining in the turning wind,
Lassoing cataracts of light
With rosy boughs,
Or clamouring in echoing unequalled heights,
Rhythmical sprays of many-coloured fire
And spires chimerical
Gleaming in fabulous airs,
And suddenly Lapsing again
To incandescence and increase.
And again the wind came
Blowing me afar In fair fantastic fires,
-Ivies and irises invading
The upland garths of ivory;
Queen daisies growing
In the tall red grass
By pools of perfect peace,
And bluebells tossing In transparent fields;
And silver airs
Lifting the crystal sources in dim hills
And swinging them far out like bells of glass
Pealing pellucidly
And quivering in faery flights of chimes;
Shivers of wings bewildered
In alleys of virgin dream;
Floral dances and revels of radiance
Whirling in stainless sanctuaries;
And eyes of Seraphim,
Shining like sunbeams on eternal ice,
Lifted towards the unexplored
Summits of Paradise.

Hugh MacDiarmid

THE POET'S PASSING

I have known all the storms that roll.
I have been a singer after the fashion
Of my people-a poet of passion.
All that is past.
Quiet has come into my soul.
Life's tempest is done.
I lie at last
A bird cliff under the midnight sun.

Idem

WHEESHT, WHEESHT

Wheesht, wheesht, my foolish hert,
For weel ye ken
I widna hae ye stert
Auld ploys again.

It's guid to see her lie
Sae snod and cool,
A' lust o' lovin' by

Wheesht, wheesht, ye fule!

Idem

THE FIRE-WHEEL

Time's a fire-wheel whose spokes the seasons turn,
And fastened there we, Time's slow martyrs, burn.
To some that rage is but a pleasant heat,
And the red fiery bower as summer sweet.
Others there are who lord it in the flame,
And, while they're burning, dice for power and fame.
A choicer company ignore the pyre,
And dream and prophesy amid the fire.
And a few with eyes uplifted through the blaze
Let their flesh crumble till they're all agaze
Glassing that fireless kingdom in the sky
Which is our dream as through Time's wood we fly
Burning in silence or crying the ancient rhyme:
"Who shall outsoar the mountainous flame of Time?"

Edwin Muir

THE INDWELLER

Packed in my skin from head to toe
Is one I know and do not know.
He never speaks to me, yet is at home
More snug than embryo in the womb.
His lodgings are but poor; they neither please
Nor irk him greatly, though he sees
Their cracks, rents, flaws, impossibilities,
He sits secure and will not out.

His name's Indifference.
Nothing offending he is all offence;
Can stare at beauty's bosom coldly
And at Christ's crucifixion boldly;
Can note with a lack-lustre eye
Victim and murderer go by;
Can pore upon the maze of lust
And watch the lecher fall to dust
With the same glance; content can wait
By a green bank near Eden's gate
To see the first blood flow and see naught then
Except a bright and glittering rain.
If I could drive this demon out
I'd put all Time's display to rout.
Its wounds would turn to flowers and nothing be
But the first Garden. The one Tree
Would stand for ever safe and fair
And Adam's hand stop in the air.
Or so I dream when at my door
I hear my Soul, my Visitor.

He comes but seldom and I cannot tell
If he's myself to one that loves me well
And comes in pity, for he pities all:
Weeps for the hero's and the beggar's fall;
The conqueror before his fallen foe
(Fingering his useless sword he cannot go,
But stands in doltish silence, unappeased);
Bereavement that, by deathless memory teased,
Pores on the same for-ever-altered track,
Turns, always on the old blind way turns back;
Lost Love that flies aghast it knows not where
And finds no foothold but the dreadful air;
The unending open wound in Jesus' side;
And all that has to die and that has died.

Pity would cancel what it feeds upon,
And gladly cease, its office done.
Yet could it end all passion, flaw, offence,
Would come my homespun fiend Indifference
And have me wholly. On these double horns
I take my comfort, they're my truckle-bed;
Could Pity change the crown of thorns
To roses peace would soon be fled,
And I would have no place to rest my head.

Then must dead Pity, quickened by my plight,
Start up again and make for my delight
A mimic stage where all the day
A phantom hound pursues a phantom prey,
Where the slain rise and smile upon the slayer,
And the crowned victor is a harmless player,
And cunning is a fond deceit,
Treachery feigned and loss imaginary,
And friends consent to meet
To stage a slaughter and make up a story.
Oh, then, at such deceitful art,
Tears, real and burning, from my lids would start,
And peace would burst into my heart.

Idem

GUID ENOUGH FOR ME

I've pandit my engagement ring,
My marriage ring as weel,
I've ha'en a row wi' my guidman
An' sent him to the Deil.

Ye see that wee ring wi' the stane,
It's mair than worth his twa,
I got if frae my puir mither
That's deid an' buried an' a'.

She's deid an' buried in her grave,
The guid Lord rest her noo,
She thought I'd got a man to wed
And no a muckle soo.

Last night I pand the chest o' drawers,
I got ten bob for that,
I pandit Mickie's Sunday coat,
I pand his Sunday hat.

Cheer up, my hen, and no be dull,
I've got a lad in Fife,
A chiel frae Inverkeithen toon
Wha wants me for his wife.

Ye haena got divorce, guidwife,
They'll pit ye in the nick;
Ye canna hae another man
Till ye get rid o' Mick.

Divorce be damned, divorce be damned,
The gile be damned-ye see!
I've ta'en and burned my marriage lines,
That's guid enough for me.

William Ogilvy

THE FIRST SUPPER

At the First Supper
The guests were but one:
A maiden was the hostess,
The guest her son.

At the First Supper

No candles were lit:
In darkness hay-scented

They both did sit.

At the First Supper

No table was spread:
In the curve of her elbow

She laid his head.

At the First Supper
They poured no wine:
On milk of the rarest
The guest did dine.

She held him very closely
Against her breast,
Her fair one, her dear one,
Her darling guest;

She held him very closely,
Guessing that this
Is the last that any mother
May know of bliss.

Jan Struther

 AT A DULL PARTY

In fifty years, at most, I shall be dead.
These jaws, which now grind hard to scotch a yawn,
Will gape unchecked; and in a clay-cold bed
Clamped fast, I'll wait a problematical dawn.
I have less than twenty thousand days to live,
Six hundred months, a bare half-million hours;
And each new breath, heedless and fugitive,
Another mouthful of my life devours:
Then Christ! What spendthrift folly brought me here
To breathe stale smoke, and drink, talk, think small beer?

Eadem

"OCTOBER 6: SUMMER TIME ENDS"

"Summer Time Ends."
You need but turn a leaf
In this small book, whose brief
Laconic notes make up A skeleton map
Of the year's delight and grief,
To see in black and white
What bone has felt, heart known:
Summer Time ends.

Leaves, which in spring were made
Marvellously of jade And under summer's heat
Deepened to malachite,
Hang brittle now and brown:
One gale will bring all down.
Summer Time Ends.

Move back those cheating hands:
Time is not checked by lies.
Reclaim the hostage hour you gave in spring
To gain fool's paradise.
Come down again to earth.
Let clocks and hearts tell truth,
That brave, that bitter thing:
Summer Time Ends.

Eadem

THE LOCOMOTIVE

The caked surface of black fuel
Which was to feed the slowness of my life
Evenly and without disturbance
Is broken, and falls into the living fire.
The breath of clean air rushes up through me
And I am white hot and seething within.
Trembling and roaring softly
I am ready for a long journey,
My eyes glitter like new lamps,
My ears hum, my heart races.

I am part of the order of things,
Made to run on steel flanged wheels
Held to an iron way.
My direction is set out in front of me,
My speed controlled by signals.
I can never leave the rails,
I can never fly.
I am made cunningly for the order of things
However great the pressure within me,
It cannot burst me into pieces.
I am made strong to bear without distortion
The power that strains every part of me;
I am made sensitive and scream in my agony,
Then people stand away from me
The shriek of my safety valve frightens them.
The signal drops, I take the strain,
I disturb the whole world near me,
I belch a fanfare of rushing clouds,
But I do no harm.
I go straight pulling the load I cannot see.
I go quicker and quicker,
I toil up the long hills,
I go slower and slower.
Am I the driver?
Am I the driven?
I am inside a mass of machinery,
I am outside anxiously watching,
I am power imprisoned,
I am letting power free.
Some day I shall jump the line
I shall crash at a crossing,
There will be some trouble and the track ripped up.
There will be a little delay
A scrapping of the old machine.
The order of things will make good again
The eternally permanent way.

Patrick Miller


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