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The Scots Week-End
Lucky Numbers - Part A


Take the Muse's servants by the hand. Burns


O besy goste! ay flickering to and fro,
That never art in quiet nor in rest,
Till thou cum to that place that thou cam fro,
Quhich is thy first & verray proper nest:
From day to day so sore here artow drest,
That with thy flesche ay walking art in trouble,
And sleeping eke; of pyne so has thou double.

James I of Scotland


I seik about this warld onstable
To find a sentence conveniable;
Bot I can not in all my wit
Sa trew a sentence find of it,
As say: "It is dissavable".

For yisterday, I did declair
How that the sasoun, soft and fair,
Come in als fresh as pacock feddir;
This day it stangis lyke ane eddir,
Concluding all in my contrair.

Yisterday fair sprang the flowris,
This day they are all slane with showris,
And foulis in forrest that sang cleir,
Now walkis with ane drerie cheir:
Full cauld are bayth thair beddis and bowris.

So nixt to symmer wynter bene;
Nixt eftir confort, cairis keine;
Next eftir mydnycht, the myrthful morrow;
Nixt eftir joy, ay cumis sorrow:
So is this warld, and ay hes bene.

William Dunbar


Come nevir yit may so fresche and grene
Bot Januar come als wod and kene,
Wes nevir sie drouth bot anis come rane:
All erdly joy returnis in pane.

Heir helth returnis in seikness
And mirth returnis in haviness,
Toun in desert, forrest in plane:
All erdly joy returnis in pane.

Sen erdly joy abydis nevir
Wirk for the joy that lestis evir;
For uder joy is all bot vane:
All erdly joy returnis in pane.



Was nocht gud King Solomon
Ravished in sundry wise
With every lovely paragon
Glistening before his eyes?
If this be true, true as it was, lady, lady,
Should I not serve you, allace, my fair lady.

When Paris was inamorit
Of Helena, dame beauteous speir,
Then Venus first him promisit
To venture on and nought to fear;
What sturdy storms endurit he, lady, lady,
To win her love, or it would be, my deir lady.

Know ye not how Troilus
Wanderit and lost his joy,
With fates and fevers marvellous,
For Cresseid fair that dwelt in Troy?
Till pity planted into her breast, lady, lady,
To sleep with him and grant him rest, my deir lady.

I reid sometime how venturous
Leander was his love to please,
Who swam the water perilous
Of Abedon those surging seas,
To come to her there as he lay, lady, lady,
Where he was drownit by the way, my deir lady.

Anaxerete so beautiful
Whom Iphis did behold and see
With sighs and sobbis pitifall,
That paragon long wooit he;
And when he could not win her so, lady, lady,
He went and hangit himself for wo, my deir lady.

If all these wichts of wirdiness
Endurit sic pains to take,
With valiant deeds and sturdiness,
Inventering for their ladies' sake,
Why should not I, pure simple man, lady, lady,
Labour and serve you the best I can, my dear lady.

Bannatyne MS.


Blissit be sempill lyfe withoutin dreid!
Blissit be sober feist in quyetie!
Quha her aneuch, of na mair hes he neid,
Thocht it be lytill in-to quantitie.
Greit abondance and blind prosperitie
Oftymes makis ane evill conclusioun.
The sweitest lyfe thairfor in this cuntrie
Is sickernes, with small possessioun.

O wantoun man, that usis for to feid
Thy wambe, and makis it ane good to be,
Luik to thyself! I warne thee wele, but dreid:
The cat cummis and to the mouse hes ee.
Quhat vaillis than they feist and rialtie,
With dreidful hart and tribulacioun?
Thairfoir best thing in eird, I say, for me,
Is blyithnes in hart, with small possessioun.

Thy awin fyre, my friend, so it be bot ane gleid,
It warmis weill, and is worth gold to thee;
And Solomon sayis, if that thow will reid,
"Under the hevin ut can nocht better be
Than ay be blyith and leif in honestie".
Quhairfoir I may conclude be this ressoun,
Of eirthly joy it beiris maist degrie,
Blyithnes in hart, with small possessioun.

Robert Henryson


Be mirry, man! and tak nocht far in mynd
The wavering of this wrechit warld of sorrow;
To God be humill, and to thy freynd be kynd,
And with thy nychtbouris glaidly len and borrow;
His chance to nycht it be thyne to morrow.
Be blyth in hairt for ony aventure,
For oft with wysmen it hes bene said adorrow:
"Without glaidness availis no tresour".

Mak thee gude cheir of it that God thee sendus,
For warldis wrak but weilfair nocht availis;
Na gude is thyne said only bot thow spendis,
Remenant all thow brukis bot with bailis;
Seik to solace when sadness thee assailis,
In dolour lang thy lyfe may nocht indure;
Whairfoir of confort set up all thy sailis:
Without glaidnes availis no tresour.

Follow on petie, fle truble and debait;
With famous folkis hald thy company,
Be charitabill and humill in thyne estait,
For warldly honour lestis bot a cry;
For truble in erd tak no malloncoly;
Be rich in patience, gif thow in gudis be pure;
Who levis mirry, he levis michtely:
Without glaidnes availis no tresour.

Thou seis thir wrechis set with sorrow and cair,
To gladdir gudis in all thair lyvis space,
And when their baggis are full, their selfis are bair,
And of thair richness bot the keping hess;
Whill othiris come to spend it that hes grace,
Whilk of thy wynning no labour had nor cure;
Tak thow example, and spend with mirriness:
Without glaidnes availis no tresour.

Thocht all the werk that evir had levand wicht
Were only thine, no moir thy pairt dois fall,
Bot meit, drynk, clais, and of the laif a sicht,
Yit to the juge thow sall gif compt of all;
Ane raknyng rycht cumis of ane ragment small,
Be just and joyous, and do to none injure,
And trewth sall mak thee strang as ony wall:
Without glaidness availis no tresour.



The Lord maist hie
I know will be
As herd to me;
I cannot lang have stress nor stand in neid;
He makes my lair
In fields maist fair,
Quhair I bot care,
Reposing at my pleasure, safely feid.
He sweetly me convoys,
Quhair naething me annoys,
But pleasure brings.
He brings my mynd
Fit to sic kynd,
That fors, or fears of foe cannot me grieve.
He does me leid,
In perfect freid,
And for his name he never will me lieve.
Thoch I wald stray,
Ilk day by day,
In deidly way,
Yet will I not dispair;
I fear none ill,
For quhy thy grace In every place,
Does me embrace,
Thy rod and shepherd's crook me comfort still.
In spite of foes
My tabil grows,
Thou balms my head with joy;
My cup overflows.
Kyndness and grace,
Mercy and peice,
Sall follow me for all my wretched days,
And me convoy,
To endless joy,
In heaven quhair I sall be with thee always.

Alexander Montgomerie


If you would lufe and luvit be,
In mynd keip weill these thingis three,
And sadly in thy breast imprent;
Be secret, true and patient.

For he that patience cannot leir
He shall displeasance have perqueir,
Though he had all this worldis rent;
Be secret, true, and patient.

For who that secret cannot be,
Him all good fellowship shall flee,
And credence none shall him be lent;
Be secret, true, and patient.

And he that is of heart untrue,
Fra he be rend, farewell, adieu,
Fie on him, fie, his fame is went;
Be secret, true, and patient.

Thus he that wants of the things three
A lover glad may never be,
But ay is something discontent,
Be secret, true, and patient.

Nocht with thy tongue thyself discure
The things that thou hast of nature,
For if thou dois thou should repent;
Be secret, true, and patient.


He that luifis lichtliest
sall not happen on the best.
He that luivis langest
sall have rest suirest.
He that luivis all his best
sall chaunce upon the gudliest.
Quha sa in luif is trew and plaine
he salbe luifit weill againe.
Men may say quhat ever they pleis
in mutuall love is mekill eis.

M. A. Arbuthnot


I wil be plane,
And lufe affane,
For as I mene,
So take me,
Gif I refrane,
For wo or pane,
Your lufe certane,
Forsake me.

Gif trew report
To you resort
Of my gud port,
So take me;
Gif I exort
In eveil sort,
Without confort,
Forsake me.

Gif diligens
In your presens
Shaw my pretens,
So take me;
Gif negligens
In my absens
Shaw my offens,
Forsake me.

Your and no mo,
Whair evir I go;
Gif I so do,
So take me;
Gif I flee fro,
And dois nocht so,
Evin as your fo,
Forsake me.

Gif I do prufe
That I you luf
Nixt God abufe,
So take me;
Gif I remufe
Fra your behufe
Without excuss,
Forsake me.

Be land or se,
Whair evir I be,
As ye find me,
So take me;
And gif I le,
And from you fle,
Ay whill I de,
Forsake me.

It is bot waist
Mo words to taist,
Ye haif my laist,
So take me;
Gif me our cast,
My lyf is past;
Even at the last
Forsake me.

My deir, adew,
Most cleir of hew,
Now on me rew,
And so take me;
Gif I persew,
And beis nocht trew,
Cheris ye ane new,
And forsake me.

Alexander Scott ( fl. 1550)


The thing that may her please
My body sail fulfil,
Whatever her disease,
It dois my body ill.
My bird, my bonnie ane,
My tender babe venust,
My luve, my life alane,
My liking and my lust.

We interchange our hairtis
In otheris armis soft;
Spreitless we twa depairtis
Usand our luvis oft;
We murne when licht day dawis,
We 'plain the nicht is short,
We curse the cock that crawis,
That hinderis our disport.

I glowffin up agast
When I miss her on nicht,
And in my oxter fast
I find the bowster richt;
Then languor on me lies
Like Morpheus the mair,
Whilk causes me uprise
And to my sweet repair:

And then is all the sorrow
Furth of remembrance
That ever I had a morrow
In luvis observance.
Thus never do I rest,
So lusty a life I lead,
When that I list to test
The well of womanheid.



I will nae priests for me shall sing,
Nor yet nae bells for me to ring,
But ae Bag-pype to play a spring.
                  - Walter Kennedy


Behold the start that man was in
And also how it he tint throw sin
And loist the same for ay;
Yet God His promeiss does performe,
Send His Son of the Virgeny borne
Our ransome for to pay.
To that grit God let us give gloir
To us has been sae gude,
Quha be His death did us restoir
Quhairof we weir denude
Not karing nor sparing
His body to be rent,
Redemyng, releiving
Us wuhen we ar all schent.

Sir Richard Maitland (1496-1586)


When I have done consider
This warldis vanitie,
So brukil and sa slidder,
So full of miserie;
Then I remember me
That here there is no rest;
Therefore apparentlie
To be merrie is best.

Let us be blyth and glad,
My friendis all, I pray.
To be pensive and sad
Na-thing it helps us may.
Therefore put quite away
All heaviness of thocht:
Thoch we murne nicht and day
It will avail us nocht.



The golden globe incontinent
Sets up his shining head,
And o'er the earth and firmament
Displays his beams abread.

For joy the birds with boulden throats,
Against his visage sheen
Take up their kindly musick notes
In woods and garden green.

The dew upon the tender crops,
Like pearlis white and round,
Or like to melted silver drops,
Refreshis all the ground.

The time so tranquil is and still
That nowhere shall ye find,
Save on the high and barren hill,
An air of passing wind.

All trees and simples, great and small,
That balmy leaf do bear,
Than they were painted on a wall
No more they move or steir.

Calm is the deep and purple sea,
Yea, smoother than the sand;
The waves that weltering wont to be
Are stable like the land.

The cloggit busy humming bees,
That never think to drone,
On flowers and flourishes of trees
Collect their liquor brown.

The Sun, most like a speedy post
With ardent course ascends;
The beauty of the heavenly host
Up to our zenith tends.

The burning beams down from his face
So fervently can beat,
That man and beast now seek a place
To save them from the heat.

The herds beneath some leafy tree
Amidst the flowers they lie;
The stable ships upon the sea
Tend up their sails to dry.

With gilded eyes and open wings
The cock his courage shows;
With claps of joy his breast he dings,
And twenty times he crows.

Alexander Hume (1560 - 1609)


The caller wine in cave is sought
Men's brothing breists to cule;
The water cauld and cleare is brought,
And sallets steip't in ule.

Some plucks the honie plum and peare,
The charie and the peache;
Some likes the reamand London beer,
The bodie to refresh.



Fra bank to bank, fra wood to wood I rin,
Ourhailit with my feeble fantasie,
Like til a leaf that fallis from a tree,
Or til a reed ourblawin' with the win'.

Twa gods guides me; the ane of them is blin',
Yea and a bairn brocht up in vanitie;
The next a wife ingenrit of the sea,
And lichter nor a dauphin with her fin.

Unhappy is the man for evermair
That tills the sand and sawis in the air;
But twice unhappier is he, I lairn,
That feedis in his hairt a mad desire,
And follows on a woman thro the fire,
Led by a blin and techit by a bairn.

Mark Alexander Boyd


Hay! now the day dawis
The jolie cok crawis
Now shroudis the shawis
Throu Nature anone.
The thissell-cok cryis
On loveris wha lyis,
Now skaillis the skyis,
The night is neir gone.

The sesone excellis
Thrugh sweetness that smellis;
Now Cupid compellis
Our heartis eachone.
On Venus wha waikis,
To muse on our maikis,
Syn Sing, for their saikis
"The night is neir gone".

Alexander Montgomerie


Bright portalles of the skie
Emboss'd with sparkling starres;
Doores of eternitie
With diamantine barres;
Your Arras rich uphold
Loose all your bolts and Springs,
Ope wyde your Leaves of gold
That in your Roofes may come the
King of kings.

Scarff'd in a rosie Cloud
Hee doth ascend the Aire;
Straight doth the Moone Him shroud
With her resplendent Haire;
The next enchristall'd Light
Submits to him her Beames,
And Hee doth trace the hight
Of that faire Lampe which flames of
beautie streams.

Hee lowers those golden Bounds
Hee did to Sunne bequeath;
The higher wandring Rounds
Are found his Feete beneath.
The Milkie Way comes neare,
Heaven's axell seemes to bend
Above each turning Spheare
That roab'd in Glorie Heaven's King
may ascend.

O Well-spring of this all,
Thy Father's Image vive! Word,
that from nought did call
What is, doth reason, live;
The Soul's eternal Foode,
Earth's joy-Delight of heaven,
All Truth, Love, Beautie, Good,
To Thee, to Thee, bee praises ever given.

Now each etheriall Gate
To him hath opened bin;
And Glorie's King in State
His Palace enter in:
Now com'd is this High Prest
In the most holie Place,
Not without blood addres't
With Glorie Heaven, the Earth to crowne
with Grace.

The Quires of happie Soules,
Wak't with that Musicke sweete
Whose Desant Care controules
Their Lord in Triumph meete;
The spotless Sprights of light
His Trophees doe extole,
And arch't in Squadrons bright
Greet their great victor in his Capitole.

O glorie of the Heaven!
O sole Delight of Earth!
To thee all power bee given
God's uncreated birth;
Of Mankind lover true
Indurer of his wrong,
Who dost the world renew
Still be Thou our Salvation and our Song.

Drummond of Hawthornden


In Peticote of Greene
Her Haire about her Eine,
Phillis beneath an Oake
Sat milking her faire Flocke:
Among that strained Moysture (rare Delight)
Her Hand seem'd Milke in Milke, it was so white.



Faire is my Yoke, though grievous bee my Paines,
Sweet are my Wounds, although they deeply smart.
My bit is Gold, though shortned bee the Raines,
My Bondage brave, though I may not depart:
Although I burne, the Fire which doth impart
Those flames, so sweet reviving Force containes,
That (like Arabia's bird) my wasted Heart,
Made quicke by death, more lively still remaines.
I joye though oft my waking Eyes spend Teares,
I never want Delight, even when I grone.
Best companied when most I am alone;
A Heaven of Hopes I have midst Hells of Feares.
Thus every Way Contentment strange I finde,
But most in Her rare Beautie, my rare Minde.



I know that all beneath the Moone decayes,
And what by mortalles in this World is brought,
In Time's great periods shall returne to nought;
That fairest States have fatal Nights and Dayes;
I know how all the Muse's heavenly lays,
With Toyle of Spright which are so dearly bought,
As idle Sounds, of few or none are sought,
And that nought lighter is than airy praise;
I know fraile Beautie like the purple Flowre,
To which one Morne oft Birth and Death affords;
That Love a jarring is of Mindes' accords,
Where Sense and Will invassall Reason's power:
Know what I list, this all can not mee move,
But that (O me!) I both must write, and love.



Some loves a woman for her Wit,
   Some Beauty does admire,
Some loves a handsome Leg or Foot,
   Some upwards does aspire;
Some loves a Mistress nice and coy,
   Some Freedom does approve;
Some like their Person to enjoy,
   Some for Platonick Love.
Some loves a widow, some a maid,
   Some loves the Old, some Young;
Some love until they be betray'd,
   Some till they be undone:
Some love for Money, some for Worth,
   Some love the Proud and High;
Some love for Fancy, some for Birth,
   Some love, and knows not why.
Some love the little, Plump and Fat,
   Some love the Long and Small:
Some loves for Kindness, and 'tis that
   Moves me beyond them all.

The Marquess of Montrose (?)


The gardener stands in his bower door,
With a primrose in his hand,
And by there cam a leal maiden,
As jimp as a willow wand.

"O ladie can ye fancy me,
For to be my bride?
Ye'se get a' the flowers in my garden,
To be to you a weed.

The lily white shal be your smock,
It becomes your body best;
Your head shal be bask't wi' gilly-flower,
Wi' the primrose in your breast.

Your gown shal be the Sweet William;
Your coat the camovine;
Your apron o' the sallads neat,
That taste baith sweet and fine.

Your hose shal be the brade kail-blade
That is baith brade and lang;
Narrow, narrow at the cute,
And brade, brade at the brawn.

Your glaves shal be the marigold,
All glittering to your hand,
Weel spread owre with the blaewort
That grows amang corn-land."

"O fare ye weil, young man," she says,
"Fareweil, and I bid adieu;
Sin ye've provided a weed for me
Amang the simmer flowers,
I will provide anither for you,
Amang the winter-showers.

The new fall'n snaw to be your smock,
It becomes your bodie best;
Your head shal be wrapt wi' the eastern wind,
And the cauld rain on your breast."



The King's young dochter was sitting in her window,
Sewing at her silken seam;
She lookt out o' a bow-window
And she saw the leaves growing green,
My luve,
And she saw the leaves growing green.

She stuck her needle into her sleeve,
Her seam down by her tae,
And she is awa' to the merrie greenwood,
To pu' the nit and the slae,
My luve;
To pu' the nit and the slae.



God's might so peoples hath the sea
With fish of divers sort,
That men therein may clearly see
Great things for their comfort.

There is such great varietie,
Of fishes of all kind,
That it were great impietie
God's hand there not to find.

The Puffen, Torteuse, and Thorneback,
The Scallop and the Goujeon,
The Shrimpe, the Spit-fish, and the Sprat,
The Stock-fish, and the Sturgeon;

The Torteuse, Tench, and Tunnyfish,
The Sparling and the Trout;
And Herring, for the poor man's dish,
Is all the land about;

The Groundling, Gilt-head, and the Crab,
The Gurnard, Cockle, Oyster,
The Cramp-fish and als the Sea-Dog,
The Crefish and the Conger;

The Periwinkle and Twinfish
It's hard to count them all;
Some are for oyle, some for the dish;
The greatest is the Whale!

Zachary Boyd (1585-1653)


I find I'm haunted with a busie mind,
Swift as the Clouds, unstable as the Wind,
It sometimes gets it Wings, and soars aloft,
Anon it stoops into delights more soft,
It's sometimes serious, and it's sometimes vain,
Sometimes it's thoughts do please, and sometimes pain;
On while they're dark, and then they clear again;
Sometimes they'r cheerfull, sometimes they are sad;
They're sometimes good, and often they are bad;
Sometimes, myself, myself's their only Theam,
Sometimes, they grasp at more than Caesar's claim:
They bring forth joy, they nourish Fear,
They towers into the Air do rear,
All things do seem within their Sphear:
O what a wandring thing's the Mind!
What contrares are there combin'd?
How shal't be held or where confin'd?
O what a Web's a busie Thought,
Where is it made? whence is it brought?
How is it warpt, how is it wrought?

John Barclay, Minister of Cruden (fl. 1670)


In Conceit, like Phaeton,
I'll mount Phoebus' Chair!
Having ne'er a Hat on,
All my Hair's a-burning,
In my journeying,
Hurrying through the Air.
Fain would I hear his fiery Horses neighing!
And see how they on foamy Bitts are playing!
All the Stars and Planets I will be surveying!
Hallo! my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

O from what ground of Nature,
Doth the Pelican,
That self-devouring Creature
Prove so froward,
And untoward,
Her Vitals for to strain!
And why the subtile Fox, while in Death's wounds is lying!
Doth not lament his Pangs by howling and by crying!
And why the milk-white Swan doth sing when she is dying!
Hallo! my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

Fain would I conclude this,
At least make Essay,
What similitude is,
Why Fowls of a Feather,
Flock and fly together,
And lambs know Beasts of Prey!
How Nature's Alchymists, these small laborious Creatures,
Acknowledge still a Prince in ordering their Matters
And suffer none to live, who slothing, lose their Features!
Hallo! my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

Fain also would I prove this,
By considering,
What that which you call Love is:
Whether it be Folly,
Or a melancholy,
Or some Heroick thing!
Fain I'd have it prov'd, by one whom Love hath wounded,
And fully upon one his Desire hath founded,
Whom nothing else could please, tho' the World were rounded!
Hallo! my fancy, whither wilt thou go?

To know this World's Center,
Height, Depth, Breadth and Length,
Fain would I adventure,
To search the hid Attractions
Of Magnetick Actions
And Adamantick strength!
Fain would I know, if in some lofty Mountain,
Where the Moon sojourns, if there be Trees or Fountain,
If there be Beasts of Prey, or yet be Fields to hunt in!
Hallo my Fancy.

Fain would I have it tried
By Experiment,
By none can be denied If in this bulk of Nature
There be Voids less or greater
Or all remains compleat!
Fain would I know if Beasts have any Reason.
If Falcons killing Eagles do commit a Treason,
If Fear of Winter's want makes Swallows fly the Season!

Hallo! my fancy, hallo!
Stay, stay at home with me,
I can thee no longer follow;
For thou hast betrayed me,
And bewray'd me;
It is too much for thee.
Stay, stay at Home with me, leave off thy lofty Soaring,
Stay thou at Home with me and on thy Books be poring.
For he that goes abroad, lays little up in Storing.
Thou'rt welcome Home, my Fancy, welcome home to me.

William Cleland (1661-1689)


Calm tho' not mean, courageous without rage,
Serious not dull, and without thinking sage;
Pleased at the lot that nature has assign'd,
Snarl as I list, and freely bark my mind,
As churchman wrangle not with jarring spite,
Nor statesman-like caressing whom I bite;
View all the canine kind with equal eyes,
I dread no mastiff, and no cur despise.
True from the first, and faithful to the end,
I balk no mistress, and forsake no friend.
My days and nights one equal tenor keep,
Fast but to eat, and only wake to sleep.
Thus stealing along life I live incog,
A very plain and downright honest dog.

William Hamilton of Bangour


I. The King

Upon a time the fairy elves
Having first arrayed themselves,
They thought it meet to clothe their King,
In robes most fit for revelling.

He had a cobweb shirt more thin
Than ever spiders since could spin,
Bleached in the whiteness of the snow,
When that the northern winds do blow.

And in that vast and open air
No shirt is half so fine or fair;
A rich waistcoat they did him bring
Made of a trout-fly's golden wing.

Dyed Crimson in a maiden's blush
And lined with humming bees' soft plush.
At which his Elfship 'gan to fret,
And swore 'twould cast him in a sweat.

He for his coolness needs would wear
A waistcoat made of downy hair,
New taken from a eunuch's chin;
It pleased him well, 'twas wondrous thin.

His hat was all of ladies' love,
So passing light that it would move,
If any gnat or humming fly
But beat the air in passing by.

About it went a wreath of pearl
Dropt from the eyes of some poor girl,
Pinched because she had forgot
To leave clean water in the pot.

His breeches and his cassock were
Made of tinsel gossamer:
Down by its seam there went a lace
Drawn by an unctuous snail's slow pace.

2. The Queen

No sooner was their King attired
As never prince had been,
But as in duty was required
They next array their Queen.

On shining thread shot from the sun
And twisted into line
On the light Wheel of Fortune spun
Was made her smock so fine.

Her gown was vari-coloured fair,
The rainbow gave the dip,
Perfumed by an amber-air
Breathed from a virgin's lip.

The stuff was of a morning dawn
When Phoebus did but peep,
But by a poet's pencil drawn
In Chloris' lap asleep.

Her shoes were all of maidenheads
So passing thin and light
That all her care was how she treads
A thought had burst them quite.

The revels ended, she put off,
Because her Grace was warm:
She fanned her with a lady's scoff
And so she took no harm.

Archibald Pitcairn, M.D.


A green kail-yard, a little fount,
Where water poplan springs;
There sits a wife with wrinkled front,
And yet she spins and sings.

Allan Ramsay


Patie to me is dearer than my breath:
But want of him I dread nae other skaith.
There's nane of a' the herds that tread the green
Has sic a smile, or sic twa glancing een.
And then he speaks with sic a taking art,
His words they thirle like musick thro' my heart.
How blythly can he sport, and gently rave,
And jest at feckless fears that fright the lave!
Ilk day that he's alane upon the hill,
He reads fell books that teach him meikle skill.
He is - but what need I say that or this?
I'd spend a month to tell you what he is!



O happy love! where love like this is found,
O heartfelt raptures! bliss beyond compare!
If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
One cordial in this melancholy vale,
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In other's arms breathe out the tender tale,
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale.



Last morning I was gay and early out,
Upon a dike I lean'd glowring about,
I saw my Meg come linkan o'er the lee;
I saw my Meg, but Meggy saw na me:
For yet the sun was wading thro' the mist,
And she was closs upon me ere she wist;
Her coats were kiltit, and did sweetly shaw
Her straight bare legs that whiter were than snaw;
Her cockernony snooded up fou sleek,
Her haffet-locks hang waving on her cheek;
Her cheek sae ruddy, and her een sae clear;
And O! her mouth's like ony hinny pear.
Neat, neat, she was, in bustine waste-coat clean,
As she came skiffing o'er the dewy green.
Blythsome, I cry'd, My bonny Meg, come here,
I ferly wherefore ye're sae soon asteer;
But I can guess, ye'er gawn to gather dew:
She scour'd awa, and said, What's that to you?
Then fare ye well, Meg Dorts, and e'ens ye like,
I careless cry'd, and lap in o'er the dike.
I trow, when that she saw, within a crack,
She came with a right thievless errand back;
Misca'd me first-then bade me hound my dog
To wear up three waff ews stray'd on the bog.
I leugh, and sae did she; then with great haste
I clasp'd my arms about her neck and waste,
About her yielding waste, and took a fouth
Of sweetest kisses frae her glowing mouth.
While hard and fast I held her in my grips,
My very saul came lowping to my lips.



My Peggy is a young thing,
Just enter'd in her teens,
Fair as the day, and sweet as May,
Fair as the day, and always gay.
My Peggy is a young thing,
And I'm not very auld;
Yet well I like to meet her, at
The wawking of the fauld.

Peggy speaks sae sweetly,
Whene'er we meet alane,
I wish nae mair to lay my care,
I wish nae mair of a' that's rare.
My Peggy speaks sae sweetly,
To a' the lave I'm cauld;
But she gars a' my spirits glow
At wawking of the fauld.

My Peggy smiles sae kindly,
Whene'er I whisper love,
That I look down on a' the town,
That I look down upon a crown.
My Peggy smiles sae kindly,
It makes me blyth and bauld;
And naething gi'es me sic delight,
As wawking of the fauld.

My Peggy sings sae saftly,
When on my pipe I play,
By a' the rest it is confest,
By a' the rest that she sings best.
My Peggy sings sae saftly,
And in her sangs are tauld,
In innocence, the wale of sense,
At wawking of the fauld.



Ho! Ho! Ho! the foxes!
Would there were more of them,
I'd give heavy gold
For a hundred score of them!

My blessing with the foxes dwell,
For that they hunt the sheep so well!

Ill fa' the sheep, a grey-faced nation,
That swept our hills with desolation!

Who made the bonnie green glens clear,
And acres scarce, and houses dear;

The grey-faced sheep, who worked our woe,
Where men no more may reap or sow,

And made us leave for their green pens
Our bonnie braes and grassy glens,

Where we were reared, and gladly grew
And lived to kin and country true;

Who bared the houses to the wind,
Where hearths were warm, and hearts were kind,

And spread the braes with wreck and ruin
The grey-faced sheep for our undoing!

And when they came were seen no more
Harrow or hoe on slope or shore,

And on the old and friendly places
New people sit with loveless faces;

And the good grey mare no more is seen
With its frisking foal on the open green,

And I seek in vain for the cow that lay
Licking its calf on the bonnie green brae!

And the bonnie milkmaids, ohon! ohon!
Are seen no more when the kine are gone!

And there's now no work for the lads to do
But to herd the sheep-some one or two!

And the goats, whose milk was good and cheap
They too must go, to make way for the sheep!

And the roe in the rocky glade that lies
Is waked no more by the fawn when it cries.

For stags will flee, and mothers will weep
When gentlemen live to make money by sheep!

And foresters now can earn no penny
When stags are few and sheep are many.

He earns from me no kindly will
Who harms the fox upon the hill;

May he die the death of a hog
Against a fox who drives a dog!

On the hill-side may he rot
Who fires on Reynard with cruel shot!

And may the young cubs prosper well
Where snug in rocky holes they dwell

And if my prayer with Heaven prevail
No trap shall grip their bushy tail!

And may they live on tasteful food
And die as wise old foxes should!

Duncan Ban Maclntyre


B' ionmhuinn learn ag irigh
'San g-mhaduinn,
Timchioll air na slibhtean
'M bu chir dhaibh bhith,
Cupal chunntas cheud,
Luchd nan ceann gun chill
A' mosgladh gu neo-bheudar
Is osgarra o'm beul
Tormain socair, ridh,
'S glan an corp 's an cr
Seinn an drecaim ud:
Broc-liath chorrach eild'
An lod g'a loireadh thid,
Cuid g'a farraid fhin
'N uair bu denach leatha
'S annsa learn 'n uair thid
Iad air chrnanaich,
Na na th'ann an Eirinn
De chelmhoireachd;
'S binne na gach beus
Anail mhic an fhidh
A' langanaich air eudan



Ach labhair i gu h-ilghiosach faiteagach, rium,
"Cha 'n fhair thu bhi limh rium do chradh mo chinn;
Tha siathnar 'g am iarruidh o bhliadhna de thom,
'S cha b' raidh le cch thu thoirt brr os an cinn."
Ha, ha, ha! an d' fhs thu gu tinn,
Mas e'n gaol a bheir bas ort gu 'm paigh thu d' a chinn!

Ach cionnus bheir mu fuath dhuit, ged dh'
fhuaraich thu rium,
'N uair 's feargaich' mo sheanchas mu t' ainm air do chl,
Thig t' iomhaigh le h-annsachd, mar shamhladh 'n am igh,
Is saoilidh mi gur gaol sin, nach caochail a chaoidh.
Is thid air a rth, gu'n dh-fhas e as r,
Is fsaidh e'n trth sin cho rda r tr.

O'n chualas gu'n gluaiseadh tu uam leis an t-Saoir,
Tha mo shuain air a buaireadh le bruadraichean gaoil;
Do 'n chairdeas a bha sud, cha 'n fhir mi bhith saor,
Gun bhrnaigeadh limh riut, tha 'n grdh dhomh 'n a mhaor.
Ach, ma tha mi'g a do dhith,
B' fheirde mi pg uait fg thu an fir.

Rob Donn


A Ruairidh Ruairidh
Ruairidh an Din ud,

Is t mo mhire
Is mo chel sgraidh:

Is t mo phaidirean
Mo chir-chil thu:

Mo ghradh mheas
Am bi na h-blan.

Cite a bheil
A h-aon riut coltach,

O nach maireann
Fionn no Oisean,

Diarmaid donn no
Goll no Osgar?

Mary Macleod


Now mirk December's dowie face
Glowers o'er the rigs wi' sour grimace,
While, through his minimum of space
The bleer-e'ed sun,
Wi' blinkin' light and stealing pace
His race doth run.

Frae naked groves nae birdie sings
To shepherd's pipe nae hillock rings,
The breeze nae odious flavour brings
Frae Borean cave,
And dwinin' Nature droops her wings
Wi' visage grave.

Robert Fergusson


Now when the dog-day heats begin
To birsle and to peel the skin,
May I lie streckit at my ease
Beneath the caller shady trees
(Far frae the din o' Borrowstown),
Where water plays the haughs bedown;
To jouk the summer's rigour there,
And breathe awhile the caller air,
'Mang herds, and honest cottar folk,
That till the farm and feed the flock;
Careless o' mair, wha never fash
To lade their kist wi' useless cash,
But thank the gods for what they've sent
O' health eneugh, and blythe content,
And futh that helps them to stravaig
Ower ilka cleugh and ilka Craig;
Unkenned to a the weary granes
That aft arise frae gentler banes,
On easy chair that pampered lie,
Wi' baneful viands gustit high,
And turn and fauld their weary clay,
To rax and gaunt the live-lang day.



Ye who are fain to hae your name
Wrote i' the bonnie book o' fame,
Let merit nae pretension claim
To laurell'd wreath,
But hap ye weel, baith back and wame
In gude braid claith.

Waesuch for him wha has nae feck o't!
For he's a gowk they're sure to geck at;
A chiel that ne'er will be respeckit
While he draws breath,
Till his four quarters are bedeckit
Wi' guid braid claith.

On Sabbath-days the barber spark
When he has done wi' scrapin' wark,
Wi' siller broachie in his sark,
Gangs trigly, faith!
Or to the Meadows, or the Park
In gude braid claith.

Braid claith lends fouk an unco heeze,
Maks mony kail-worms butterflees,
Gies mony a doctor his degrees
For little skaith:
In short, you may be whay you please
Wi' gude braid claith.

For tho' ye had as wise a snout on
As Shakespeare or Sir Isaac Newton,
Your judgment fouk would hae a doubt on,
I'll tak' my aith,
Till they could see ye wi' a suit on
O' gude braid claith.



The yellow-hair'd laddie sat down on yon brae,
Cries, "Milk the ewes, lassie, let nane of them gae."
And ay she milked, and ay she sang:
"The yellow-hair'd laddie shall be my gudeman.

The weather is cauld, and my claithing is thin;
The ewes are new clipped, they winna bught in:
They winna bught in tho' I should die,
O yellow-hair'd laddie, be kind to me."

The goodwife cries butt the house, "Jenny, come ben,
The cheese is to mak', and the butter's to kirn".
"Tho' butter, and cheese, and a' should sour,
I'll crack and kiss wi' my love ae half-hour:
It's ae half-hour, and we's e'en mak' it three,
For the yellow-hair'd laddie my husband shall be."



"Whistle, whistle, auld wife,
An' ye'se get a hen."
"I wadna whistle", quo' the wife,
"Though ye wad gie me ten."

"Whistle, whistle, auld wife,
An' ye'se get a cock."
"I wadna whistle", quo' the wife,
"Though ye'd gie me a flock."

"Whistle, whistle, auld wife,
An' ye'll get a goun."
"I wadna whistle", quo' the wife,
"For the best ane i' the toun."

"Whistle, whistle, auld wife,
An' ye'se get a coo."
"I wadna whistle", quo' the wife,
"Though ye wad gie me two."

"Whistle, whistle, auld wife,
An' ye'se get a man."
"Wheeple-whauple", quo' the wife,
"I'll whistle gin I can."


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