Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Heav'n rest his saul, whare'er he be!
Is th' wish o'mony mae than me;
He had twa faults, or maybe three,

Yet what remead?
Ae social honest man want we:

Tam Samson's dead!

THE EPITAPH.

Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies,

Ye canting zealots, spare him!
If honest worth in heaven rise,

Ye'll mend or ye win near him.

PER CONTRA.

Go, fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie 4
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie

To cease his grievin,
For yet, unskaith'd by death's gleg gullie,

Tam Samson's livin.

I When this worthy old sportsman went out last muirfowl season, he supposed it was to be, in Ossian's phrase, “the last of his fields ;' and expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the author composed his elegy and epitaph.

? A certain preacher, a great favourite with the million. Vide the Ordination, stanza IX.

3 Another preacher, an equal favourite with the few, who was at that time ailing. For him, see also the Ordination, stanza IX.

+ Killie is a phrase the country-folks sometimes use for Kilmarnock. HALLOWEEN'.

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasures of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.

Goldsmith.

The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood;

but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind (if any such should honour the author with a perusal), to see the remains of it, among the more unenlightened in our own.

1.

Upon that night, when fairies light

On Cassilis Downans? dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,

On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta'en,

Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the cove 3, to stray an' rove
Amang the rocks and streams

To sport that night.

II.

Amang the bonnie winding banks

Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear,
Where Bruce 4 ance rul'd the martial ranks,

An' shook his Carrick spear,
Some merry, friendly, countra folks,

Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
An' haud their Halloween

Fu' blythe that night.

III.

The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,

Mair braw than when they're fine; Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,

Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin': The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,

Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs, Gar lasses' hearts gang startin

Whiles fast at night.

IV.

Then first and foremost, thro’ the kail,

Their stocks5 maun a' be sought ance; They steek their een, an' graip an' wale,

For muckle anes an' straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,

An’ wander'd through the bow-kail,
An' pow't, for want o' better shift,
A runt was like a sow-tail,

Sae bow't that night.

V.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,

They roar an' cry a'throu’ther; The vera wee things, todlin, rin

Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther; An' gif the custoc's sweet or sour,

Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne coziely, aboon the door,
Wi' cannie care, they place them

To lie that night.

VI.

The lasses staw frae' mang them a'
To
pou

their stalks o' corno;
But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,

Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard an' fast;

Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kiuttlin in the fause-house 7

Wi' him that night.

VII.

The auld guidwife's weel-hoordet nits 8

Are round an' round divided, An' monie lads' and lasses' fates

Are there that night decided : Some kindle, couthie, side by side,

An'burn thegither trimly; Some start awa wi' saucy pride, And jump out-owre the chimlie

Fu' high that night.

VIII.

Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie ee;

Wha 'twas, she wadna tell; But this is Jock, and this is me,

She says in to hersel : He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,

As they would never mair part; Till fuff! he started up the lum, An' Jean had e'en a sair heart

To see't that night.

IX.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,

Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie,
An' Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,

To be compar'd to Willie:
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling,

An' her ain fit it brunt it; While Willie lap, an' swoor by jing, 'Twas just the way he wanted

To be that night.

X.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',

She pits hersel an' Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,

Till white in ase they're sobbin:
Nell's heart was dancin at the view,

She whisper'd Rob to leuk fort: Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonnie mou, Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,

Unseen that night.

« AnteriorContinuar »