Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Poetical Works of George MacDonald, Vol. 2 by George MacDonald

Part 8 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

For she's up and awa up the angels' stair!
Oh, the bonny, bonny dell, whaur the kirkyard lies,
Whaur the stars luik doon, and the nicht-wind sighs!


I like ye weel upo Sundays, Nannie,
I' yer goon and yer ribbons and a';
But I like ye better on Mondays, Nannie,
Whan ye're no sae buskit and braw.

For whan we're sittin sae douce, Nannie,
Wi' the lave o' the worshippin fowk,
That aneth the haly hoose, Nannie,
Ye micht hear a moudiwarp howk,

It _will_ come into my heid, Nannie,
O' yer braws ye are thinkin a wee;
No alane o' the Bible-seed, Nannie,
Nor the minister nor me!

Syne hame athort the green, Nannie,
Ye gang wi' a toss o' yer chin;
And there walks a shadow atween 's, Nannie,
A dark ane though it be thin!

But noo, whan I see ye gang, Nannie,
Eident at what's to be dune,
Liltin a haiveless sang, Nannie,
I wud kiss yer verra shune!

Wi' yer silken net on yer hair, Nannie,
I' yer bonnie blue petticoat,
Wi' yer kin'ly arms a' bare, Nannie,
On yer ilka motion I doat.

For, oh, but ye're canty and free, Nannie,
Airy o' hert and o' fit!
A star-beam glents frae yer ee, Nannie--
O' yersel ye're no thinkin a bit!

Fillin the cogue frae the coo, Nannie,
Skimmin the yallow ream,
Pourin awa the het broo, Nannie,
Lichtin the lampie's leme,

Turnin or steppin alang, Nannie,
Liftin and layin doon,
Settin richt what's aye gaein wrang, Nannie,
Yer motion's baith dance and tune!

I' the hoose ye're a licht and a law, Nannie,
A servan like him 'at's abune:
Oh, a woman's bonniest o' a', Nannie,
Doin what _maun_ be dune!

Cled i' yer Sunday claes, Nannie,
Fair kythe ye to mony an ee;
But cled i' yer ilka-day's, Nannie,
Ye draw the hert frae me!



"Bonny lassie, rosy lassie,
Ken ye what is care?
Had ye ever a thought, lassie,
Made yer hertie sair?"

Johnnie said it, Johnnie seekin
Sicht o' Mally's face,
Keekin i' the hedge o' holly
For a thinner place.

"Na," said Mally, pawky smilin,
"Nought o' care ken I;
Gien I meet the gruesome carline,
I s' hand weel ootby!"

"Lang be licht o' hert, Mally,
As o' fut and ban'!
Lang be ready wi' sic answer
To ony speirin man!"

"Ay, the men 'll aye be speirin!
Troth, it's naething new!
There's yersel wi' queston, queston--
And there's mair like you!"

"Deed ye wadna mock me, Mally,
Wi' yer lauchin ee,
Gien ye saw the thing aye muvin
I' the hert o' me!"

"Troth, I'm no sae pryin, laddie,
Yon's no my concern!
Jist as sune I wud gang speirin
What's intil yon cairn!"

"Still and on, there's ae thing, Mally,
Yont yer help, my doo--
That's to haud my hert frae lo'in
At the hert o' you!"


Johnnie turned and left her,
Listit for the war;
In a year cam limpin
Hame wi' mony a scar.

Wha was that was sittin
On the brae, sae still?
Worn and wan and altert,
Could it be hersel?

Cled in black, her eelids
Reid wi' greitin sair--
Was she wife and widow
In a towmond bare?

Mally's hert played wallop,
Kenned him or he spak:
"Are ye no deid, Johnnie?
Is't yersel come back?"

"Are ye wife or widow?
Tell me in a breath;
Lanely life is fearsome,
Waur nor ony death!"

"Wha cud be a widow
Wife was never nane?
Noo, gien ye will hae me,
Noo I will be ane!"

Crutch awa he flang it,
Clean forgot his hairms,
Cudna stan' withoot it,
Fell in Mally's airms.


Whan Andrew frae Strathbogie gaed
The lift was lowerin dreary,
The sun he wadna raise his heid,
The win' blew laich and eerie.
In's pooch he had a plack or twa--
I vow he hadna mony,
Yet Andrew like a linty sang,
For Lizzie was sae bonny!
O Lizzie, Lizzie, bonny lassie!
Bonny, saucy hizzy!
What richt had ye to luik at me
And drive me daft and dizzy?

Whan Andrew to Strathbogie cam
The sun was shinin rarely;
He rade a horse that pranced and sprang--
I vow he sat him fairly!
And he had gowd to spen' and spare,
And a hert as true as ony;
But his luik was doon, his sigh was sair,
For Lizzie was sae bonny!
O Lizzie, Lizzie, bonny hizzy!
Aih, the sunlicht weary!
Ye're straucht and rare--ye're fause though fair!--
Hech, auld John Armstrong's deary!


Ane by ane they gang awa;
The getherer gethers grit and sma':
Ane by ane maks ane and a'!

Aye whan ane sets doon the cup
Ane ahint maun tak it up:
A' thegither they will sup!

Golden-heidit, ripe, and strang,
Shorn will be the hairst or lang:
Syne begins a better sang!


As I was walkin on the strand,
I spied ane auld man sit
On ane auld black rock; and aye the waves
Cam washin up its fit.
His lips they gaed as gien they wad lilt,
But o' liltin, wae's me, was nane!
He spak but an owercome, dreary and dreigh,
A burden wha's sang was gane:
"Robbie and Jeanie war twa bonnie bairns;
They playt thegither i' the gloamin's hush:
Up cam the tide and the mune and the sterns,
And pairtit the twa wi' a glint and a gush."

"What can the auld man mean," quod I,
"Sittin o' the auld black rock?
The tide creeps up wi' a moan and a cry,
And a hiss 'maist like a mock!
The words he mutters maun be the en'
O' some weary auld-warl' sang--
A deid thing floatin aboot in his brain,
'At the tide 'ill no lat gang!"
"Robbie and Jeanie war twa bonnie bairns;
They playt thegither i' the gloamin's hush:
Up cam the tide and the mune and the sterns,
And pairtit the twa wi' a glint and a gush."

"Hoo pairtit it them, auld man?" I said;
"Was't the sea cam up ower strang?
Oh, gien thegither the twa o' them gaed
Their pairtin wasna lang!
Or was are ta'en, and the ither left--
Ane to sing, are to greit?
It's sair, I ken, to be sae bereft--
But there's the tide at yer feet!"
"Robbie and Jeanie war twa bonnie bairns,
And they playt thegither i' the gloamin's hush:
Up cam the tide and the mune and the sterns,
And pairtit the twa wi' a glint and a gush."

"Was't the sea o' space wi' its storm o' time
That wadna lat things bide?
But Death's a diver frae heavenly clime
Seekin ye neth its tide,
And ye'll gaze again in ither's ee,
Far abune space and time!"
Never ae word he answered me,
But changed a wee his rime:
"Robbie and Jeanie war twa bonnie bairns,
And they playt thegither upo' the shore;
Up cam the tide and the mune and the sterns,
And pairtit the twa for evermore."

"May be, auld man, 'twas the tide o' change
That crap atween the twa?
Hech! that's a droonin fearsome strange,
Waur, waur nor are and a'!"
He said nae mair. I luikit, and saw
His lips they couldna gang:
Death, the diver, had ta'en him awa,
To gie him a new auld sang.
Robbie and Jeanie war twa bonnie bairns,
And they playt thegither upo' the shore:
Up cam the tide and the mune and the sterns,
And souft them awa throu a mirksome door!


There cam a man to oor toon-en',
And a waesome carl was he,
Snipie-nebbit, and crookit-mou'd,
And gleyt o' a blinterin ee.
Muckle he spied, and muckle he spak,
But the owercome o' his sang,
Whatever it said, was aye the same:--
There's nane o' ye a' but's wrang!
Ye're a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang:
There's no a man aboot the toon
But's a'thegither a' wrang.

That's no the gait to fire the breid,
Nor yet to brew the yill;
That's no the gait to haud the pleuch,
Nor yet to ca the mill;
That's no the gait to milk the coo,
Nor yet to spean the calf,
Nor yet to tramp the girnel-meal--
Ye kenna yer wark by half!
Ye're a' wrang, &c.

The minister wasna fit to pray
And lat alane to preach;
He nowther had the gift o' grace
Nor yet the gift o' speech!
He mind't him o' Balašm's ass,
Wi' a differ we micht ken:
The Lord he opened the ass's mou,
The minister opened's ain!
He was a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang;
There wasna a man aboot the toon
But was a'thegither a' wrang!

The puir precentor couldna sing,
He gruntit like a swine;
The verra elders couldna pass
The ladles til his min'.
And for the rulin' elder's grace
It wasna worth a horn;
He didna half uncurse the meat,
Nor pray for mair the morn!
He was a' wrang, &c.

And aye he gied his nose a thraw,
And aye he crook't his mou;
And aye he cockit up his ee
And said, Tak tent the noo!
We snichert hint oor loof, my man,
But never said him nay;
As gien he had been a prophet, man,
We loot him say his say:
Ye're a' wrang, &c.

Quo oor gudeman: The crater's daft!
Heard ye ever sic a claik?
Lat's see gien he can turn a ban',
Or only luik and craik!
It's true we maunna lippin til him--
He's fairly crack wi' pride,
But he maun live--we canna kill him!
Gien he can work, he s' bide.
He was a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang;
There, troth, the gudeman o' the toon
Was a'thegither a' wrang!

Quo he, It's but a laddie's turn,
But best the first be a sma' thing:
There's a' thae weyds to gether and burn,
And he's the man for a' thing!--
We yokit for the far hill-moss,
There was peats to cast and ca;
O' 's company we thoucht na loss,
'Twas peace till gloamin-fa'!
We war a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang;
There wasna man aboot the toon
But was a'thegither a' wrang!

For, losh, or it was denner-time
The toon was in a low!
The reek rase up as it had been
Frae Sodom-flames, I vow.
We lowst and rade like mad, for byre
And ruck bleezt a' thegither,
As gien the deil had broucht the fire
Frae's hell to mak anither!
'Twas a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang,
Stick and strae aboot the place
Was a'thegither a' wrang!

And luikin on, ban's neth his tails,
The waesome carl stude;
To see him wagglin at thae tails
'Maist drave 's a' fairly wud.
Ain wite! he cried; I tauld ye sae!
Ye're a' wrang to the last:
What gart ye burn thae deevilich weyds
Whan the win' blew frae the wast!
Ye're a' wrang, and a' wrang,
And a'thegither a' wrang;
There's no a man i' this fule warl
But's a'thegither a' wrang!


Up cam the tide wi' a burst and a whush,
And back gaed the stanes wi' a whurr;
The king's son walkit i' the evenin hush,
To hear the sea murmur and murr.

Straucht ower the water slade frae the mune
A glimmer o' cauld weet licht;
Ane o' her horns rase the water abune,
And lampit across the nicht.

Quhat's that, and that, far oot i' the gray,
The laich mune bobbin afore?
It's the bonny sea-maidens at their play--
Haud awa, king's son, frae the shore.

Ae rock stude up like an auld aik-root,
The king's son he steppit ahin';
The bonny sea-maidens cam gambolin oot,
Kaimin their hair to the win'.

O merry their lauch whan they fan the warm san',
For the lichtsome reel sae meet!
Ilk are flang her kaim frae her pearly ban',
And tuik til her pearly feet.

But are, wha's beauty was dream and spell,
Her kaim on the rock she cuist;
Her back was scarce turnt whan the munelicht shell
Was lyin i' the prince's breist!

The cluds grew grim as he watched their game,
Th' win' blew up an angry tune;
Ane efter are tuik up her kaim,
And seaward gaed dancin doon.

But are, wi' hair like the mune in a clud,
Was left by the rock her lane;
Wi' flittin ban's, like a priest's, she stude,
'Maist veiled in a rush o' rain.

She spied the prince, she sank at his feet,
And lay like a wreath o' snaw
Meltin awa i' the win' and weet
O' a wastin wastlin thaw.

He liftit her, trimlin wi' houp and dreid,
And hame wi' his prize he gaed,
And laid her doon, like a witherin weed,
Saft on a gowden bed.

A' that nicht, and a' day the neist,
She never liftit heid;
Quaiet lay the sea, and quaiet lay her breist,
And quaiet lay the kirkyard-deid.

But quhan at the gloamin a sea-breeze keen
Blew intil the glimsome room,
Like twa settin stars she opened her een,
And the sea-flooer began to bloom.

And she saw the prince kneelin at her bed,
And afore the mune was new,
Careless and cauld she was wooed and wed--
But a winsome wife she grew.

And a' gaed weel till their bairn was born,
And syne she cudna sleep;
She wud rise at midnicht, and wan'er till morn,
Hark-harkin the sough o' the deep.

Ae nicht whan the win' gaed ravin aboot,
And the winnocks war speckled wi' faem,
Frae room to room she strayt in and oot,
And she spied her pearly kaim.

She twined up her hair wi' eager ban's,
And in wi' the rainbow kaim!
She's oot, and she's aff ower the shinin san's
And awa til her moanin hame!

The prince he startit whaur he lay,
He waukit, and was himlane!
He soucht far intil the mornin gray,
But his bonny sea-wife was gane!

And ever and aye, i' the mirk or the mune,
Whan the win' blew saft frae the sea,
The sad shore up and the sad shore doon
By the lanely rock paced he.

But never again on the sands to play
Cam the maids o' the merry, cauld sea;
He heard them lauch far oot i' the bay,
But hert-alane gaed he.


The wind it blew, and the ship it flew,
And it was "Hey for hame!"
But up an' cried the skipper til his crew,
"Haud her oot ower the saut sea faem."

Syne up an' spak the angry king:
"Haud on for Dumferline!"
Quo' the skipper, "My lord, this maunna be--
_I_'m king on this boat o' mine!"

He tuik the helm intil his han',
He left the shore un'er the lee;
Syne croodit sail, an', east an' south,
Stude awa richt oot to sea.

Quo' the king, "Leise-majesty, I trow!
Here lies some ill-set plan!
'Bout ship!" Quo' the skipper, "Yer grace forgets
Ye are king but o' the lan'!"

Oot he heild to the open sea
Quhill the north wind flaughtered an' fell;
Syne the east had a bitter word to say
That waukent a watery hell.

He turnt her heid intil the north:
Quo' the nobles, "He s' droon, by the mass!"
Quo' the skipper, "Haud afif yer lady-ban's
Or ye'll never see the Bass."

The king creepit down the cabin-stair
To drink the gude French wine;
An' up cam his dochter, the princess fair,
An' luikit ower the brine.

She turnt her face to the drivin snaw,
To the snaw but and the weet;
It claucht her snood, an' awa like a dud
Her hair drave oot i' the sleet.

She turnt her face frae the drivin win'--
"Quhat's that aheid?" quo' she.
The skipper he threw himsel frae the win'
An' he brayt the helm alee.

"Put to yer han', my lady fair!
Haud up her heid!" quo' he;
"Gien she dinna face the win' a wee mair
It's faurweel to you an' me!"

To the tiller the lady she laid her han',
An' the ship brayt her cheek to the blast;
They joukit the berg, but her quarter scraped,
An' they luikit at ither aghast.

Quo' the skipper, "Ye are a lady fair,
An' a princess gran' to see,
But war ye a beggar, a man wud sail
To the hell i' yer company!"

She liftit a pale an' a queenly face,
Her een flashed, an' syne they swam:
"An' what for no to the hevin?" she says,
An' she turnt awa frae him.

Bot she tuik na her han' frae the gude ship's helm
Till the day begouth to daw;
An' the skipper he spak, but what was said
It was said atween them twa.

An' syne the gude ship she lay to,
Wi' Scotlan' hyne un'er the lee;
An' the king cam up the cabin-stair
Wi' wan face an' bluidshot ee.

Laigh loutit the skipper upo' the deck;
"Stan' up, stan' up," quo' the king;
"Ye're an honest loun--an' beg me a boon
Quhan ye gie me back this ring."

Lowne blew the win'; the stars cam oot;
The ship turnt frae the north;
An' or ever the sun was up an' aboot
They war intil the firth o' Forth.

Quhan the gude ship lay at the pier-heid,
And the king stude steady o' the lan',--
"Doon wi' ye, skipper--doon!" he said,
"Hoo daur ye afore me stan'!"

The skipper he loutit on his knee;
The king his blade he drew:
Quo' the king, "Noo mynt ye to centre me!
I'm aboord _my_ vessel noo!

"Gien I hadna been yer verra gude lord
I wud hae thrawn yer neck!
Bot--ye wha loutit Skipper o' Doon,
Rise up Yerl o' Waterydeck."

The skipper he rasena: "Yer Grace is great,
Yer wull it can heize or ding:
Wi' ae wee word ye hae made me a yerl--
Wi' anither mak me a king."

"I canna mak ye a king," quo' he,
"The Lord alane can do that!
I snowk leise-majesty, my man!
Quhat the Sathan wad ye be at?"

Glowert at the skipper the doutsum king
Jalousin aneth his croon;
Quo' the skipper, "Here is yer Grace's ring--
An' yer dochter is my boon!"

The black blude shot intil the king's face
He wasna bonny to see:
"The rascal skipper! he lichtlies oor grace!--
Gar hang him heigh on yon tree."

Up sprang the skipper an' aboord his ship,
Cleikit up a bytin blade
An' hackit at the cable that held her to the pier,
An' thoucht it 'maist ower weel made.

The king he blew shill in a siller whustle;
An' tramp, tramp, doon the pier
Cam twenty men on twenty horses,
Clankin wi' spur an' spear.

At the king's fute fell his dochter fair:
"His life ye wadna spill!"
"Ye daur stan' twixt my hert an' my hate?"
"I daur, wi' a richt gude will!"

"Ye was aye to yer faither a thrawart bairn,
But, my lady, here stan's the king!
Luikna _him_ i' the angry face--
A monarch's anither thing!"

"I lout to my father for his grace
Low on my bendit knee;
But I stan' an' luik the king i' the face,
For the skipper is king o' me!"

She turnt, she sprang upo' the deck,
The cable splashed i' the Forth,
Her wings sae braid the gude ship spread
And flew east, an' syne flew north.

Now was not this a king's dochter--
A lady that feared no skaith?
A woman wi' quhilk a man micht sail
Prood intil the Port o' Death?



There was John Gordon an' Archibold,
An' a yerl's twin sons war they;
Quhan they war are an' twenty year auld
They fell oot on their ae birthday.

"Turn ye, John Gordon, nae brither to me!
Turn ye, fause an' fell!
Or doon ye s' gang, as black as a lee,
To the muckle deevil o' hell."

"An' quhat for that, Archie Gordon, I pray?
Quhat ill hae I dune to thee?"
"Twa-faced loon, ye sail rue this day
The answer I'm gauin to gie!

"For it'll be roucher nor lady Janet's,
An' loud i' the braid daylicht;
An' the wa' to speil is my iron mail,
No her castle-wa' by nicht!"

"I speilt the wa' o' her castle braw
I' the roarin win' yestreen;
An' I sat in her bower till the gloamin sta'
Licht-fittit ahint the mune."

"Turn ye, John Gordon--the twasum we s' twin!
Turn ye, an' haud yer ain;
For ane sall lie on a cauld weet bed--
An' I downa curse again!"

"O Archie, Janet is my true love--
notna speir leave o' thee!"
"Gien that be true, the deevil's a sanct,
An' ye are no tellin a lee!"

Their suerds they drew, an' the fire-flauchts flew,
An' they shiftit wi' fendin feet;
An' the blude ran doon, till the grun a' roun
Like a verra bog was weet.

"O Archie, I hae gotten a cauld supper--
O' steel, but shortest grace!
Ae grip o' yer han' afore ye gang!
An' turn me upo' my face."

But he's turnit himsel upon his heel,
An' wordless awa he's gane;
An' the corbie-craw i' the aik abune
Is roupin for his ain.


Lady Margaret, her hert richt gret,
Luiks ower the castle wa';
Lord Archibold rides oot at the yett,
Ahint him his merry men a'.

Wi' a' his band, to the Holy Land
He's boune wi' merry din,
His shouther's doss a Christ's cross,
In his breist an ugsome sin.

But the cross it brunt him like the fire.
Its burnin never ceast;
It brunt in an' in, to win at the sin
Lay cowerin in his breist.

A mile frae the shore o' the Deid Sea
The army haltit ae nicht;
Lord Archie was waukrife, an' oot gaed he
A walkin i' the munelicht.

Dour-like he gaed, wi' doon-hingin heid,
Quhill he cam, by the licht o' the mune,
Quhaur michty stanes lay scattert like sheep,
An' ance they worshipt Mahoun.

The scruff an' scum o' the deid shore gleamt
An' glintit a sauty gray;
The banes o' the deid stack oot o' its bed,
The sea lickit them as they lay.

He sat him doon on a sunken stane,
An' he sighit sae dreary an' deep:
"I can thole ohn grutten, lyin awauk,
But he comes whan I'm asleep!

"I wud gie my soul for ever an' aye
Intil en'less dule an' smert,
To sleep a' nicht like a bairn again,
An' cule my burnin hert!"

Oot frae ahint a muckle stane
Cam a voice like a huddy craw's:
"Behaud there, Archibold Gordon!" it said,
"Behaud--ye hae ower gude cause!"

"I'll say quhat I like," quod Archibold,
"Be ye ghaist or deevil or quhat!"
"Tak tent, lord Archie, gien ye be wise--
The tit winna even the tat!"

Lord Archibold leuch wi' a loud ha, ha,
Eerisome, grousum to hear:
"A bonny bargain auld Cloots wad hae,
It has ilka faut but fear!"

"Dune, lord Archibold?" craikit the voice;
"Dune, Belzie!" cried he again.--
The gray banes glimmert, the white saut shimmert--
Lord Archie was him lane.

Back he gaed straught, by the glowerin mune,
An' doun in his plaid he lay,
An' soun' he sleepit.--A ghaist-like man
Sat by his heid quhill the day.

An' quhanever he moanit or turnit him roun,
Or his broo gae token o' plycht,
The waukin man i' the sleepin man's lug
Wud rown a murgeon o' micht.

An' the glint o' a smile wud quaver athort
The sleepin cheek sae broun,
An' a tear atween the ee-lids wud stert,
An' whiles rin fairly doun.

An' aye by his lair sat the ghaist-like man,
He watchit his sleep a' nicht;
An' in mail rust-broun, wi' his visorne doun,
Rade at his knee i' the fecht.

Nor anis nor twyis the horn-helmit chiel
Saved him frae deidly dad;
An' Archie said, "Gien this be the deil
He's no sac black as he's ca'd."

But wat ye fu' weel it wasna the deil
That tuik lord Archie's pairt,
But his twin-brother John he thoucht deid an' gone,
Wi' luve like a lowe in his hert.


Hame cam lord Archibold, weary wicht,
Hame til his ain countree;
An' he cried, quhan his castle rase in sicht,
"Noo Christ me sain an' see!"

He turnit him roun: the man in rust-broun
Was gane, he saw nocht quhair!
At the ha' door he lichtit him doun,
Lady Margaret met him there.

Reid, reid war her een, but hie was her mien,
An' her words war sharp an' sair:
"Welcome, Archie, to dule an' tene,
An' welcome ye s' get nae mair!

Quhaur is yer twin, lord Archibold,
That lay i' my body wi' thee?
I miss my mark gien he liesna stark
Quhaur the daylicht comesna to see!"

Lord Archibold dochtna speik a word
For his hert was like a stane;
He turnt him awa--an' the huddy craw
Was roupin for his ain.

"Quhaur are ye gaein, lord Archie," she said,
"Wi' yer lips sae white an' thin?"
"Mother, gude-bye! I'm gaein to lie
Ance mair wi' my body-twin."

Up she brade, but awa he gaed
Straucht for the corbie-tree;
For quhaur he had slain he thoucht to slay,
An' cast him doon an' dee.

"God guide us!" he cried wi' gastit rair,
"Has he lien there ever sin' syne?"
An' he thoucht he saw the banes, pykit an' bare,
Throu the cracks o' his harness shine.

"Oh Johnnie! my brither!" quo' Archibold
Wi' a hert-upheavin mane,
"I wad pit my soul i' yer wastit corp
To see ye alive again!"

"Haud ye there!" quod a voice frae oot the helm,
"A man suld heed quhat he says!"
An' the closin joints grippit an' tore the gerse
As up the armour rase:--

"Soul ye hae nane to ca' yer ain
An' its time to hand yer jaw!
The sleep it was thine, an' the soul it is mine:
Deil Archie, come awa!"

"Auld Hornie," quo' Archie, "twa words to that:
My burnin hert burns on;
An' the sleep, weel I wat, was nae reek frae thy pat,
For aye I was dreamin o' John!

"But I carena a plack for a soul sae black--
Wae's me 'at my mither bore me!
Put fire i' my breist an' fire at my back,
But ae minute set Johnnie afore me!"

The gantlets grippit the helm sae stoot
An' liftit frae chin an' broo:
An' Johnnie himsel keekit smilin oot:--
"O Archie, I hae ye noo!

"O' yer wee bit brod I was little the waur,
I crap awa my lane;
An' never a deevil cam ye nar,
'Cep ye coont yer Johnnie ane!"

Quhare quhylum his brither Johnnie lay,
Fell Archie upon his knees;
The words he said I dinna say,
But I'm sure they warna lees.


"O lat me in, my bonny lass!
It's a lang road ower the hill,
And the flauchterin snaw begud to fa'
On the brig ayont the mill!"

"Here's nae change-hoose, John Munro!"
"I'll ken that to my cost
Gien ye gar me tak the hill the nicht,
Wi' snaw o' the back o' frost!

But tell me, lass, what's my offence."
"Weel ken ye! At the fair
Ye lichtlied me! Ay, twasna ance!--
Ye needna come nae mair!"

"I lichtlied ye?"--"Ay, ower the glass!"
"Foul-fa' the ill-faured mou
'At made the leein word to pass
By rowin 't i' the true!

The trouth is this: I dochtna bide
To hear yer bonnie name
Whaur lawless mous war openit wide
Wi' ill-tongued scoff and blame;

And what I said was: 'Hoot, lat sit!
She's but a bairn, the lass!'
It turnt the spait o' words a bit,
And loot yer fair name pass."

"Thank ye for naething, John Munro!
My name it needna hide;
It's no a drucken sough wud gar
Me turn my heid aside!"

"O Elsie, lassie, be yersel!
The snaw-stour's driftin thrang!
O tak me in, the win' 's sae snell,
And in an hour I'll gang."

"I downa pay ye guid for ill,
Ye heedna fause and true!
Gang back to Katie at the mill--
She loos sic like as you!"

He turnt his fit; she heardna mair.
The lift was like to fa';
And Elsie's hert grew grit and sair
At sicht o' the drivin snaw.

She laid her doon, but no to sleep,
Her verra hert was cauld;
And the sheets war like a frozen heap
O' drift aboot her faul'd.

She rase fu' air; the warl lay fair
And still in its windin-sheet;
At door-cheek, or at winnock-lug,
Was never a mark o' feet!

She crap for days aboot the hoose,
Dull-futtit and hert-sair,
Aye keekin oot like a hungert moose--
But Johnnie was na there!

Lang or the spring begoud to thow
The waesome, sick-faced snaw,
Her hert was saft a' throu and throu,
Her pride had ta'en a fa'.

And whan the wreaths war halflins gane,
And the sun was blinkin bonnie,
Oot ower the hill she wud gang her lane
To speir aboot her Johnnie.

Half ower, she cam intil a lair
O' snaw and slush and weet:
The Lord hae mercy! what's that there?
It was Johnnie at her feet.

Aneth the snaw his heid was smorit,
But his breist was maistly bare,
And twixt his richt ban' and his hert
Lay a lock o' gouden hair.

The warm win' blew, the blackcock flew,
The lerrick muntit the skies;
The burnie ran, and a baein began,
But Johnnie wudna rise.

The sun was clear, the lift was blue,
The winter was awa;
Up cam the green gerse plentifu,
The better for the snaw;

And warm it happit Johnnie's grave
Whaur the ae lock gouden lay;
But on Elsie's hingin heid the lave
Was afore the barley gray.


Sweep up the flure, Janet;
Put on anither peat.
It's a lown and a starry nicht, Janet,
And nowther cauld nor weet.

It's the nicht atween the Sancts and Souls
Whan the bodiless gang aboot;
And it's open hoose we keep the nicht
For ony that may be oot.

Set the cheirs back to the wa', Janet;
Mak ready for quaiet fowk.
Hae a'thing as clean as a windin-sheet:
They comena ilka ook.

There's a spale upo' the flure, Janet,
And there's a rowan-berry!
Sweep them intil the fire, Janet,
Or they'll neither come nor tarry.

Syne set open the outer dure--
Wide open for wha kens wha?
As ye come ben to your bed, Janet,
Set baith dures to the wa'.

She set the cheirs back to the wa',
But ane that was o' the birk;
She sweepit the flure, but left the spale--
A lang spale o' the aik.

The nicht was lown; the stars sae still
War glintin doon the sky;
The souls crap oot o' their mooly graves,
A' dank wi' lyin by.

They faund the dure wide to the wa',
And the peats blawn rosy reid:
They war shuneless feet gaed in and oot,
Nor clampit as they gaed.

The mither she keekit but the hoose,
Saw what she ill could say;
Quakin she slidit doon by Janet,
And gaspin a whilie she lay.

There's are o' them sittin afore the fire!
Ye wudna hearken to me!
Janet, ye left a cheir by the fire,
Whaur I tauld ye nae cheir suld be!

Janet she smilit in her minnie's face:
She had brunt the roden reid,
But she left aneth the birken cheir
The spale frae a coffin-lid!

Saft she rase and gaed but the hoose,
And ilka dure did steik.
Three hours gaed by, and her minnie heard
Sound o' the deid nor quick.

Whan the gray cock crew, she heard on the flure
The fa' o' shuneless feet;
Whan the rud cock crew, she heard the dure,
And a sough o' win' and weet.

Whan the goud cock crew, Janet cam back;
Her face it was gray o' ble;
Wi' starin een, at her mither's side
She lay doon like a bairn to dee.

Her white lips hadna a word to lat fa'
Mair nor the soulless deid;
Seven lang days and nights she lay,
And never a word she said.

Syne suddent, as oot o' a sleep, she brade,
Smilin richt winsumly;
And she spak, but her word it was far and strayit,
Like a whisper come ower the sea.

And never again did they hear her lauch,
Nor ever a tear doun ran;
But a smile aye flittit aboot her face
Like the mune on a water wan.

And ilka nicht atween Sancts and Souls
She laid the dures to the wa',
Blew up the fire, and set the cheir,
And loot the spale doon fa'.

And at midnicht she gaed but the hoose
Aye steekin dure and dure.
Whan the goud cock crew, quaiet as a moose
She cam creepin ower the flure.

Mair wan grew her face, and her smile mair sweet
Quhill the seventh Halloweve:
Her mother she heard the shuneless feet,
Said--She'll be ben belyve!

She camna ben. Her minnie rase--
For fear she 'maist cudna stan;
She grippit the wa', and but she gaed,
For the goud cock lang had crawn.

There sat Janet upo' the birk cheir,
White as the day did daw;
But her smile was a sunglint left on the sea
Whan the sun himsel is awa.


_The Man says:_

Laverock i' the lift,
Hae ye nae sang-thrift,
'At ye scatter 't sae heigh, and lat it a' drift?
Wasterfu laverock!

Dinna ye ken
'At ye hing ower men
Wha haena a sang or a penny to spen?
Hertless laverock!

But up there you,
I' the bow o' the blue,
Haud skirlin on as gien a' war new!
Toom-heidit laverock!

Haith, ye're ower blythe!
I see a great scythe
Swing whaur yer nestie lies, doon i' the lythe,
Liltin laverock!

Eh, sic a soun!
Birdie, come doun,
Ye're fey to sing sic a merry tune!
Gowkit laverock!

Come to yer nest;
Yer wife's sair prest,
She's clean worn oot wi' duin her best!
Rovin laverock!

Winna ye haud?
Ye're surely mad!
Is there naebody there to gie ye a dad,
Menseless laverock?

Come doon and conform,
Pyke an honest worm,
And hap yer bairns frae the comin storm,
Spendrife laverock!

_The Bird sings:_

My nestie it lieth
I' the how o' a ban';
The swing o' the scythe
'Ill miss 't by a span.

The lift it's sae cheery!
The win' it's sae free!
I hing ower my dearie,
And sing 'cause I see.

My wifie's wee breistie
Grows warm wi' my sang,
And ilk crumpled-up beastie
Kens no to think lang.

Up here the sun sings, but
He only shines there!
Ye haena nae wings, but
Come up on a prayer.

_The man sings:_

Ye wee daurin cratur,
Ye rant and ye sing
Like an oye o' auld Natur
Ta'en hame by the king!

Ye wee feathert priestie,
Yer bells i' yer thro't,
Yer altar yer breistie,
Yer mitre forgot--

Offerin and Aaron,
Ye burn hert and brain;
And dertin and daurin,
Flee back to yer ain!

Ye wee minor prophet,
It's 'maist my belief
'At I'm doon in Tophet,
And you abune grief!

Ye've deavt me and daudit
And ca'd me a fule:
I'm nearhan' persuaudit
To gang to your schule!

For, birdie, I'm thinkin
Ye ken mair nor me--
Gien ye haena been drinkin,
And sing as ye see.

Ye maun hae a sicht 'at
Sees gay and far ben,
And a hert, for the micht o' 't,
Wad sair for nine men!

There's somebody's been til
Roun saft to ye wha
Said birdies are seen til,
And e'en whan they fa'!



The rich man sat in his father's seat--
Purple an' linen, an' a'thing fine!
The puir man lay at his yett i' the street--
Sairs an' tatters, an' weary pine!

To the rich man's table ilk dainty comes,
Mony a morsel gaed frae't, or fell;
The puir man fain wud hae dined on the crumbs,
But whether he got them I canna tell.

Servants prood, saft-fittit, an' stoot,
Stan by the rich man's curtained doors;
Maisterless dogs 'at rin aboot
Cam to the puir man an' lickit his sores.

The rich man deeit, an' they buried him gran',
In linen fine his body they wrap;
But the angels tuik up the beggar man,
An' layit him doun in Abraham's lap.

The guid upo' this side, the ill upo' that--
Sic was the rich man's waesome fa'!
But his brithers they eat, an' they drink, an' they chat,
An' carena a strae for their Father's ha'!

The trowth's the trowth, think what ye will;
An' some they kenna what they wad be at;
But the beggar man thoucht he did no that ill,
Wi' the dogs o' this side, the angels o' that!


Stately, lang-robit, an' steppin at ease,
The rich men gaed up the temple ha';
Hasty, an' grippin her twa baubees,
The widow cam efter, booit an' sma'.

Their goud rang lood as it fell, an' lay
Yallow an' glintin, bonnie an' braw;
But the fowk roun the Maister h'ard him say
The puir body's baubees was mair nor it a'.


Doon frae Jerus'lem a traveller took
The laigh road to Jericho;
It had an ill name an' mony a crook,
It was lang an' unco how.

Oot cam the robbers, an' fell o' the man,
An' knockit him o' the heid,
Took a' whauron they couth lay their han',
An' left him nakit for deid.

By cam a minister o' the kirk:
"A sair mishanter!" he cried;
"Wha kens whaur the villains may lirk!
I s' haud to the ither side!"

By cam an elder o' the kirk;
Like a young horse he shied:
"Fie! here's a bonnie mornin's wark!"
An' he spangt to the ither side.

By cam ane gaed to the wrang kirk;
Douce he trottit alang.
"Puir body!" he cried, an' wi' a yerk
Aff o' his cuddy he sprang.

He ran to the body, an' turnt it ower:
"There's life i' the man!" he cried.
_He_ wasna ane to stan an' glower,
Nor hand to the ither side!

He doctort his oons, an' heised him then
To the back o' the beastie douce;
An' he heild him on till, twa weary men,
They wan to the half-way hoose.

He ten'd him a' nicht, an' o' the morn did say,
"Lan'lord, latna him lack;
Here's auchteen pence!--an' ony mair ootlay
I'll sattle 't as I come back."

Sae tak til ye, neibours; read aricht the word;
It's a portion o' God's ain spell!
"Wha is my neibour?" speirna the Lord,
But, "Am I a neibour?" yersel.


Ance was a woman wha's hert was gret;
Her love was sae dumb it was 'maist a grief;
She brak the box--it's tellt o' her yet--
The bonny box for her hert's relief.

Ane was there wha's tale's but brief,
Yet was ower lang, the gait he cawed;
He luikit a man, and was but a thief,
Michty the gear to grip and hand.

"What guid," he cried, "sic a boxfu to blaud?
Wilfu waste I couth never beir!
It micht hae been sellt for ten poun, I wad--
Sellt for ten poun, and gien to the puir!"

Savin he was, but for love o' the gear;
Carefu he was, but a' for himsel;
He carried the bag to his hert sae near
What fell i' the ane i' the ither fell.

And the strings o' his hert hingit doun to hell,
They war pu'd sae ticht aboot the mou;
And hence it comes that I hae to tell
The warst ill tale that ever was true.

The hert that's greedy maun mischief brew,
And the deils pu'd the strings doon yon'er in hell;
And he sauld, or the agein mune was new,
For thirty shillins the Maister himsel!

Gear i' the hert it's a canker fell:
Brithers, latna the siller ben!
Troth, gien ye du, I warn ye ye'll sell
The verra Maister or ever ye ken!


The Lord gaed wi' a crood o' men
Throu Jericho the bonny;
'Twas ill the Son o' Man to ken
Mang sons o' men sae mony:

The wee bit son o' man Zacchay
To see the Maister seekit;
He speilt a fig-tree, bauld an' shy,
An' sae his shortness ekit.

But as he thoucht to see his back,
Roun turnt the haill face til 'im,
Up luikit straucht, an' til 'im spak--
His hert gaed like to kill 'im.

"Come doun, Zacchay; bestir yersel;
This nicht I want a lodgin."
Like a ripe aipple 'maist he fell,
Nor needit ony nudgin.

But up amang the unco guid
There rase a murmurin won'er:
"This is a deemis want o' heed,
The man's a special sinner!"

Up spak Zacchay, his hert ableeze:
"Half mine, the puir, Lord, hae it;
Gien oucht I've taen by ony lees,
Fourfauld again I pay it!"

Then Jesus said, "This is a man!
His hoose I'm here to save it;
He's are o' Abraham's ain clan,
An' siclike has behavit!

I cam the lost to seek an' win."--
Zacchay was are he wantit:
To ony man that left his sin
His grace he never scantit.


_The Deil's forhooit his ain, his ain!
The Deil's forhooit his ain!
His bairns are greitin in ilka neuk,
For the Deil's forhooit his ain._

The Deil he tuik his stick and his hat,
And his yallow gluves on he drew:
"The coal's sae dear, and the preachin sae flat.
And I canna be aye wi' you!"

_The Deil's, &c._

"But I'll gie ye my blessin afore I gang,
Wi' jist ae word o' advice;
And gien onything efter that gaes wrang
It'll be yer ain wull and ch'ice!

"Noo hark: There's diseases gaein aboot,
Whiles are, and whiles a' thegither!
Ane's ca'd Repentance--haith, hand it oot!
It comes wi' a change o' weather.

"For that, see aye 'at ye're gude at the spune
And tak yer fair share o' the drink;
Gien ye dinna, I wadna won'er but sune
Ye micht 'maist begin to think!

"Neist, luik efter yer liver; that's the place
Whaur Conscience gars ye fin'!
Some fowk has mair o' 't, and some has less--
It comes o' breedin in.

"But there's waur nor diseases gaein aboot,
There's a heap o' fair-spoken lees;
And there's naething i' natur, in or oot,
'At waur with the health agrees.

"There's what they ca' Faith, 'at wad aye be fain;
And Houp that glowers, and tynes a';
And Love, that never yet faund its ain,
But aye turnt its face to the wa'.

"And Trouth--the sough o' a sickly win';
And Richt--what needna be;
And Beauty--nae deeper nor the skin;
And Blude--that's naething but bree.

"But there's ae gran' doctor for a' and mair--
For diseases and lees in a breath:--
My bairns, I lea' ye wi'oot a care
To yer best freen, Doctor Death.

"He'll no distress ye: as quaiet's a cat
He grips ye, and a'thing's ower;
There's naething mair 'at ye wad be at,
There's never a sweet nor sour!

"They ca' 't a sleep, but it's better bliss,
For ye wauken up no more;
They ca' 't a mansion--and sae it is,
And the coffin-lid's the door!

"Jist ae word mair---and it's _verbum sat_--
I hae preacht it mony's the year:
Whaur there's naething ava to be frictit at
There's naething ava to fear.

"I dinna say 'at there isna a hell--
To lee wad be a disgrace!
I bide there whan I'm at hame mysel,
And it's no sic a byous ill place!

"Ye see yon blue thing they ca' the lift?
It's but hell turnt upside doun,
A whummilt bossie, whiles fou o' drift,
And whiles o' a rumlin soun!

"Lat auld wives tell their tales i' the reek,
Men hae to du wi' fac's:
There's naebody there to watch, and keek
Intil yer wee mistaks.

"But nor ben there's naebody there
Frae the yird to the farthest spark;
Ye'll rub the knees o' yer breeks to the bare
Afore ye'll pray ye a sark!

"Sae fare ye weel, my bonny men,
And weel may ye thrive and the!
Gien I dinna see ye some time again
It'll be 'at ye're no to see."

He cockit his hat ower ane o' his cheeks,
And awa wi' a halt and a spang--
For his tail was doun ae leg o' his breeks,
And his butes war a half ower lang.

_The Deil's forhooit his ain, his ain!
The Deil's forhooit his ain!
His bairns are greitin in ilka neuk,
For the Deil's forhooit his ain._


There was an auld fisher, he sat by the wa',
An' luikit oot ower the sea;
The bairnies war playin, he smil't on them a',
But the tear stude in his e'e.

_An' it's--oh to win awa, awa!
An' it's, oh to win awa
Whaur the bairns come hame, an' the wives they bide,
An' God is the father o' a'!_

Jocky an' Jeamy an' Tammy oot there
A' i' the boatie gaed doon;
An' I'm ower auld to fish ony mair,
Sae I hinna the chance to droon!

_An' it's--oh to win awa, awa! &c._

An' Jeannie she grat to ease her hert,
An' she easit hersel awa;
But I'm ower auld for the tears to stert,
An' sae the sighs maun blaw.

_An' it's--oh to win awa, awa! &c._

Lord, steer me hame whaur my Lord has steerit,
For I'm tired o' life's rockin sea;
An' dinna be lang, for I'm growin that fearit
'At I'm ablins ower auld to dee!

_An' it's--oh to win awa, awa!
An' it's, oh to win awa
Whaur the bairns come hame, an' the wives they bide,
An' God is the father o' a'!_


"What gars ye sing," said the herd-laddie,
"What gars ye sing sae lood?"
"To tice them oot o' the yerd, laddie,
The worms for my daily food."

_An' aye he sang, an' better he sang,
An' the worms creepit in an' oot;
An' ane he tuik, an' twa he loot gang,
An' still he carolled stoot._

"It's no for the worms, sir," said the herd;
"They comena for your sang!"
"Think ye sae, sir?" answered the bird,
"Maybe ye're no i' the wrang!"

_But aye &c._

"Sing ye young Sorrow to beguile,
Or to gie auld Fear the flegs?"
"Na," quo' the mavis, "I sing to wile
My wee things oot o' her eggs."

_An' aye &c._

"The mistress is plenty for that same gear
Though ye sangna air nor late!"
"I wud draw the deid frae the moul sae drear.
An' open the kirkyard-gate."

_An' aye &c._

"Better ye sing nor a burn i' the mune,
Nor a wave ower san' that flows,
Nor a win' wi' the glintin stars abune,
An' aneth the roses in rows;

_An' aye &c._

But a better sang it wud tak nor yer ain,
Though ye hae o' notes a feck,
To mak the auld Barebanes there sae fain
As to lift the muckle sneck!

_An' aye &c._

An' ye wudna draw ae bairnie back
Frae the arms o' the bonny man
Though its minnie was greitin alas an' alack,
An' her cries to the bairnie wan!

_An' aye &c._

An' I'll speir ye nae mair, sir," said the herd,
"I fear what ye micht say neist!"
"I doobt ye wud won'er, sir," said the bird,
"To see the thouchts i' my breist!"

_An' aye he sang, an' better he sang,
An' the worms creepit in an' oot;
An' ane he tuik, an' twa he loot gang,
An' still he carolled stoot._


Rose o' my hert,
Open yer leaves to the lampin mune;
Into the curls lat her keek an' dert,
She'll tak the colour but gie ye tune.

Buik o' my brain,
Open yer faulds to the starry signs;
Lat the e'en o' the holy luik an' strain,
Lat them glimmer an' score atween the lines.

Cup o' my soul,
Goud an' diamond an' ruby cup,
Ye're noucht ava but a toom dry bowl
Till the wine o' the kingdom fill ye up.

Mirror the en'less All in thee;
Melt the boundered and make it pass
Into the tideless, shoreless sea.

Warl o' my life,
Swing thee roun thy sunny track;
Fire an' win' an' water an' strife,
Carry them a' to the glory back.


"Death, whaur do ye bide, auld Death?"
"I bide in ilka breath,"
Quo' Death;
"No i' the pyramids,
No whaur the wormie rids
'Neth coffin-lids;
I bidena whaur life has been,
An' whaur's nae mair to be dune."

"Death, whaur do ye bide, auld Death?"
"Wi' the leevin, to dee 'at are laith,"
Quo' Death;
"Wi' the man an' the wife
'At loo like life,
Bot strife;
Wi' the bairns 'at hing to their mither,
Wi' a' 'at loo ane anither."

"Death, whaur do ye bide, auld Death?"
"Abune an' aboot an' aneth,"
Quo' Death;
"But o' a' the airts
An' o' a' the pairts,
In herts--
Whan the tane to the tither says, Na,
An' the north win' begins to blaw."


I'm a puir man I grant,
But I am weel neiboured;
And nane shall me daunt
Though a puir man, I grant;
For I shall not want--
The Lord is my Shepherd!
I'm a puir man I grant,
But I am weel neiboured!


Win' that blaws the simmer plaid
Ower the hie hill's shoothers laid,
Green wi' gerse, an' reid wi' heather--
Welcome wi' yer sowl-like weather!
Mony a win' there has been sent
Oot aneth the firmament--
Ilka ane its story has;
Ilka ane began an' was;
Ilka ane fell quaiet an' mute
Whan its angel wark was oot:
First gaed are oot throu the mirk
Whan the maker gan to work;
Ower it gaed an' ower the sea,
An' the warl begud to be.
Mony are has come an' gane
Sin' the time there was but ane:
Ane was grit an' strong, an' rent
Rocks an' muntains as it went
Afore the Lord, his trumpeter,
Waukin up the prophet's ear;
Ane was like a stepping soun
I' the mulberry taps abune--
Them the Lord's ain steps did swing,
Walkin on afore his king;
Ane lay dune like scoldit pup
At his feet, an' gatna up--
Whan the word the Maister spak
Drave the wull-cat billows back;
Ane gaed frae his lips, an' dang
To the yird the sodger thrang;
Ane comes frae his hert to mine
Ilka day to mak it fine.
Breath o' God, eh! come an' blaw
Frae my hert ilk fog awa;
Wauk me up an' mak me strang,
Fill my hert wi' mony a sang,
Frae my lips again to stert
Fillin sails o' mony a hert,
Blawin them ower seas dividin
To the only place to bide in.


I dinna ken what's come ower me!
There's a how whaur ance was a hert!
I never luik oot afore me,
An' a cry winna gar me stert;
There's naething nae mair to come ower me,
Blaw the win' frae ony airt!

For i' yon kirkyard there's a hillock,
A hert whaur ance was a how;
An' o' joy there's no left a mealock--
Deid aiss whaur ance was a low!
For i' yon kirkyard, i' the hillock,
Lies a seed 'at winna grow.

It's my hert 'at hauds up the wee hillie--
That's hoo there's a how i' my breist;
It's awa doon there wi' my Willie--
Gaed wi' him whan he was releast;
It's doon i' the green-grown hillie,
But I s' be efter it neist!

Come awa, nicht an' mornin,
Come ooks, years, a' Time's clan:
Ye're welcome: I'm no a bit scornin!
Tak me til him as fest as ye can.
Come awa, nicht an' mornin,
Ye are wings o' a michty span!

For I ken he's luikin an' waitin,
Luikin aye doon as I clim;
An' I'll no hae him see me sit greitin
I'stead o' gaein to him!
I'll step oot like ane sure o' a meetin,
I'll travel an' rin to him.


The water ran doon frae the heich hope-heid,
_Wi' a Rin, burnie, rin_;
It wimpled, an' waggled, an' sang a screed
O' nonsense, an' wadna blin
_Wi' its Rin, burnie, rin_.

Frae the hert o' the warl, wi' a swirl an' a sway,
_An' a Rin, burnie, rin_,
That water lap clear frae the dark til the day,
An' singin awa did spin,
_Wi' its Rin, burnie, rin_.

Ae wee bit mile frae the heich hope-heid
_Wi' its Rin, burnie, rin_,
Mang her yows an' her lammies the herd-lassie stude,
An' she loot a tear fa' in,
_Wi' a Rin, burnie, rin_.

Frae the hert o' the maiden that tear-drap rase
_Wi' a Rin, burnie, rin_;
Wear'ly clim'in up weary ways
There was but a drap to fa' in,
Sae laith did that burnie rin.

Twa wee bit miles frae the heich hope-heid
_Wi' its Rin, burnie, rin_,
Doon creepit a cowerin streakie o' reid,
An' it meltit awa within
The burnie 'at aye did rin.

Frae the hert o' a youth cam the tricklin reid,
_Wi' its Rin, burnie, rin_;
It ran an' ran till it left him deid,
An' syne it dried up i' the win':
That burnie nae mair did rin.

Whan the wimplin burn that frae three herts gaed
_Wi' a Rin, burnie, rin_,
Cam to the lip o' the sea sae braid,
It curled an' groued wi' pain o' sin--
But it tuik that burnie in.


The warl it's dottit wi' hames
As thick as gowans o' the green,
Aye bonnier ilk ane nor the lave
To him wha there opent his een.

An' mony an' bonny's the hame
That lies neth auld Scotlan's crests,
Her hills an' her mountains they are the sides
O' a muckle nest o' nests.

His lies i' the dip o' a muir
Wi' a twa three elder trees,
A lanely cot wi' a sough o' win',
An' a simmer bum o' bees;

An' mine in a bloomin strath,
Wi' a river rowin by,
Wi' the green corn glintin i' the sun,
An' a lowin o' the kye;

An' yours whaur the chimleys auld
Stan up i' the gloamin pale
Wi' the line o' a gran' sierra drawn
On the lift as sharp's wi' a nail.

But whether by ingle-neuk
On a creepie ye sookit yer thumb,
Dreamin, an' watchin the blue peat-reek
Wamle oot up the muckle lum,

Or yer wee feet sank i' the fur
Afore a bleezin hearth,
Wi' the curtains drawn, shuttin oot the toon--
Aberdeen, Auld Reekie, or Perth,

It's a naething, nor here nor there;
Leal Scots are a'ane thegither!
Ilk ane has a hame, an' it's a' the same
Whether in clover or heather!

An' the hert aye turns to the hame--
That's whaur oor ain folk wons;
An' gien hame binna hame, the hert bauds ayont
Abune the stars an' the suns.

For o' a' the hames there's a hame
Herty an' warm an' wide,
Whaur a' that maks hame ower the big roun earth
Gangs til its hame to bide.


Doon cam the sunbeams, and up gaed the stour,
As we spangt ower the road at ten mile the hoor,
The horse wasna timmer, the cart wasna strae,
And little cared we for the burn or the brae.

We war young, and the hert in's was strang i' the loup,
And deeper in yet was the courage and houp;
The sun was gey aft in a clood, but the heat
Cam throu, and dried saftly the doon fa'en weet.

Noo, the horsie's some tired, but the road's nae sae lang;
The sun comes na oot, but he's no in a fang:
The nicht's comin on, but hame's no far awa;
We hae come a far road, but hae payit for a'.

For ane has been wi' us--and sometimes 'maist seen,
Wha's cared for us better nor a' oor four e'en;
He's cared for the horsie, the man, and the wife,
And we're gaein hame to him for the rest o' oor life.

Doon comes the water, and up gangs nae stour;
We creep ower the road at twa mile the hoor;
But oor herts they are canty, for ane's to the fore
Wha was and wha is and will be evermore.


Lord, I'm an auld man,
An' I'm deein!
An' do what I can
I canna help bein
Some feart at the thoucht!
I'm no what I oucht!
An' thou art sae gran',
Me but an auld man!

I haena gotten muckle
Guid o' the warld;
Though siller a puckle
Thegither I hae harlt,
Noo I maun be rid o' 't,
The ill an' the guid o' 't!
An' I wud--I s' no back frae 't--
Rather put til 't nor tak frae 't!

It's a pity a body
Coudna haud on here,
Puttin cloddy to cloddy
Till he had a bit lan' here!--
But eh I'm forgettin
Whaur the tide's settin!
It'll pusion my prayer
Till it's no worth a hair!

It's awfu, it's awfu
To think 'at I'm gaein
Whaur a' 's ower wi' the lawfu,
Whaur's an en' til a' haein!
It's gruesome to en'
The thing 'at ye ken,
An' gang to begin til
What ye canna see intil!

Thou may weel turn awa,
Lord, an' say it's a shame
'At noo I suld ca'
On thy licht-giein name
Wha my lang life-time
Wud no see a stime!
An' the fac' there's no fleein--
But hae pity--I'm deein!

I'm thine ain efter a'--
The waur shame I'm nae better!
Dinna sen' me awa,
Dinna curse a puir cratur!
I never jist cheatit--
I own I defeatit,
Gart his poverty tell
On him 'at maun sell!

Oh that my probation
Had lain i' some region
Whaur was less consideration
For gear mixt wi' religion!
It's the mixin the twa
'At jist ruins a'!
That kirk's the deil's place
Whaur gear glorifees grace!

I hae learnt nought but ae thing
'At life's but a span!
I hae warslet for naething!
I hae noucht i' my han'!
At the fut o' the stairs
I'm sayin my prayers:--
Lord, lat the auld loon
Confess an' lie doon.

I hae been an ill man--
Micht hae made a guid dog!
I could rin though no stan--
Micht hae won throu a bog!
But 't was ower easy gaein,
An' I set me to playin!
Dinna sen' me awa
Whaur's no licht ava!

Forgie me an' hap me!
I hae been a sharp thorn.
But, oh, dinna drap me!
I'll be coothie the morn!
To my brither John
Oh, lat me atone--
An' to mair I cud name
Gien I'd time to tak blame!

I hae wullt a' my gear
To my cousin Lippit:
She needs 't no a hair,
An' wud haud it grippit!
But I'm thinkin 't 'll be better
To gie 't a bit scatter
Whaur it winna canker
But mak a bit anchor!

Noo I s'try to sit loose
To the warld an' its thrang!
Lord, come intil my hoose,
For Sathan sall gang!
Awa here I sen' him--
Oh, haud the hoose agane him,
Or thou kens what he'll daur--
He'll be back wi' seven waur!

Lord, I knock at thy yett!
I hear the dog yowlin!
Lang latna me wait--
My conscience is growlin!
Whaur but to thee
Wha was broken for me,
But to thee, Lord, sae gran',
Can flee an auld man!


"What maks ye sae canty, granny dear?
Has some kin' body been for ye to speir?
Ye luik as smilin an' fain an' willin
As gien ye had fun a bonny shillin!"

"Ye think I luik canty, my bonny man,
Sittin watchin the last o' the sun sae gran'?
Weel, an' I'm thinkin ye're no that wrang,
For 'deed i' my hert there's a wordless sang!

"Ken ye the meanin o' _canty_, my dow?
It's bein i' the humour o' singin, I trow!
An' though nae sang ever crosses my lips
I'm aye like to sing whan anither sun dips.

"For the time, wee laddie, the time grows lang

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest