T Whyte Paterson

THE COCKIN O AN AULD BANNET

It's the life o an auld bannet to be weel set-up.

--Scottish proverb.

GIN yer bannet be an auld ane,
Cock it farer up;
Should the wun' gang toozlin roon' it,
Tak a closer grup.
Haud it! Save yer auld green bannet:
Is't the best ye hae?
Weel, be prood o't, for it's serv't ye
Mony a bonnie day.
Mak the maist o't; wier it langer,
Since ye've worn it lang;
Man, it's worth a blythesome story,
Or a rantin sang.
Dinna dream that ye're ashamed o't,
Tho a kennin green;
Tosh it up again, an swear by't,
Best ye've ever seen.
Jist ye think that it's a coronet,
Or a ryal croon;
Stap yer heid as heich's the riggins,
Gaun athort the toon.
That's the plan, gif ye'll believe me,
That's the wey to fen',
Whether it's anent a bannet,
Or ocht else ye ken.
Mak the best an maist o a' thing;
Tak the cantie view;
Think yer sax-pence means a fortune;
Think the auld duds new.
Folks mey lauch; but never heed them,
Claiverin silly buff,
Sniggerin ower the auld green bannet-
Dinna care a snuff.
Fash nane wi them; lat them blether;
Here's my haun-a grup:
Gin yer bannet be an auld ane,
Cock it farer up!

KINDNESS IS LIKE CRESS-SEED

The ar that scatters, an increases yet mair:
An the ar that hauds back mair than's meet, but it only tends to want.
The liberal saul sall be made fat:
An him that waters sall be watered himsel an aa.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xi. 24, 25.

Kindness is like cress-seed--it multiplies by bein sawn.

--Scottish proverb.

KINDNESS is like cress-seed--
Saw't, an ye'll get mair:
Never want a neivefu,
Drap it here an there;
Thinkin o yer neibours,
Whiles, as weel's yersel,
Warslin wi the burdens
That they dinna tell;
Aften fashed an trauchlt,
Aiblins doon o mooth,
Greinin for the freen'ships
Never unco routh.
Speak them in the by-gaun,
Gie them a bit nod,
Add some thochtfu action
As ye tak the road.
Gleg they'll be to bless ye;
An yer kindly pairt
Sterts a twa-fauld pleasur
Lowpin roon' the hairt.
Mak anither cantie,
An ye'll get yer share:
Kindness is like cress-seed--
Saw't, an ye'll get mair.
Scattert braid in gowpens,
Dreidin nae mishap;
Lippen, spite o wathers,
That ye'll hae a crap.
Aye it brings its ootcome;
That ye'll never tyne,
Be it in a jiffy,
Be it suin or syne.
Ilka ane that's generous,
Baith in hairt an haun,
Gethers muckle baskets
O the thing he's sawn.
Kindness maks for kindness;
Meet an ye'll be met:
That's the law o plenty;
What ye gie, ye'll get.
Gang aboot wi neivefus,
Drap it here an there;
Kindness is like cress-seed-
Saw't, an ye'll get mair.

DOON WI THE LID

As Bauldie Kidd said--
Watch yer chance, an doon wi the lid.

--Scottish proverb.

BAULDIE haed snapped him-
A fine big hare-
Bauldie, the poacher,
O Logangair;
Wantit him leevin
For Captain Mounds,
Keen at the trainin
O coorsin hounds.
Ower at the dyke-side
Was Bauldie's son,
Watchin his faither
Throu a' the fun;
Haudin the basket
An sneckin pin,
Ready for ploppin
The big hare in.
"Noo, then," cries Bauldie,
"Work ye the trick,
Slammin the lid o't
At dooble-quick;
Else he'll be jumpin,
Wi lichtnin speed,
Aff to Kilmarnock
Oot-ower yer heid."
"Doon wi the lid, then,"
Roars Bauldie Kidd;
"Doon wi the lid, man,
Doon wi the lid!"
Aften the coonsel
An action baith
Micht be regairdit
To save us skaith.
Slow at the up-tak,
An slack at haun,
Dreich at the daein,
We, dreamin, staun:
Staun at the swither,
Wi naething mint,
Things are mislippent,
An prizes tint:
Missin the meenit,
We miss the hap;
Chances, like maukins,
Lowp throu the slap.
That's no the style o't
To mak the man:
Gleg at the jiffy,
Tak Bauldie's plan-
Ready the basket,
An watch the tid,
Snap at yer chances,
An doon wi the lid.
Doon wi the lid, then,
Like Bauldie Kidd,
Doon wi the lid, man,
Doon wi the lid!

FIDDLE-STRING FREEN'SHIPS

Freen's are like fiddle-strings:
They maunna be screwed ower ticht.

--Scottish proverb.

A SAGE auld fiddler's ower-wird this-
Yersel mey ken it's richt-
Oor freen's are like oor fiddle-strings,
Screw nane o them ower ticht.

* * *

The finest spring I ever play't
In Colonel Bertram's Ha'
Gaed rantin wi a birr, whan-snap!-
The gut brak aff in twa.
Says he, "M'culloch, what's gaen wrang?
Yer fiddle's oot o touch."
"Mysel's to blame," says I, "no her;
I screw't her ance ower much."

* * *

Ye mind o Sammle Simpson weel-
The fermer at Drumqueer?
The twa o us were unco pack,
An freen's for mony a year.
Week in, week oot, we haed oor crack,
An aye in blythest trim;
He, whiles, a guid turn did for me,
I, whiles, did ane for him.
But, Christmas-time, in auchty-sax,
Whan Patie Bruce got wed,
I speir't the len o Sammle's horse
To drive to Auchenstead.
An losh! the beast fell at the burn,
As we were comin hame,
An for the next twa weeks, or mair,
It hirpilt, ae leg lame.
An Sammle, frae that day to this,
Haes glowert the contrar airt,
Whane'er he met me on the road,
Or pass't me in the cairt.
Oor freen'ship's tint, an nippit throu
Like some worm-eaten crutch;
An aft it's vex't me; - but, ye see,
I screw't him ance ower much.

* * *

An sae, the fiddler's ower-wird here
Mey no be far frae richt-
Oor freen's are like oor fiddle-strings,
Screw naither unco ticht.

KINGS, AN CATS, AN A'

A tuppenny cat mey leuk at a king.

--Scottish proverb.

A TUPPENNY cat mey leuk at a king,
Tho His Majesty peys nae regaird;
An a man, whas darg is humble eneuch,
Mey tak a straucht leuk at a laird.
For it's no the rank or the duds that coont,
An it's no by the siller ye ken
What a king, or laird, or cottar mey be,
Whan ye measur the worth o men.
An it's no what they hae, but what they are,
That tells wha's king o them a';
An the cottar, as like as the laird, or king,
Mey staun at the tap o the raw.
For a hairt that's steive, an couthie, an leal
Mey be happit by hame-spun graith,
As aften as siccan anither as that
Is buskit in finest braid-claith.
Sae, the man o the darg mey leuk at a laird,
Tho his lordship returns but a stare;
For the lad o the shule mey tak his place
As the only man o the pair.
An a tuppenny cat mey leuk at a king,
His Majesty's glower he mey daur;
Or the king mey leuk at the tuppenny cat,
An the cat be nane the waur.

THE AE THING

There is that maks himsel rich, yet haes naething:
There is that maks himsel puir, yet haes great riches.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xiii. 7.

RICH - wi naething! Puir - wi plenty!
Cram that in yer noddle!
Puir - wi a' the purses burstin!
Rich - withoot a bodle!
There's a nut to try the crackin,
A' ye warldly craiturs,
Gallivantin back an forrit
Eftir triflin maiters.
Rich - in a' the gear material:
Wantin still the ae thing;
An, withoot it, puir as paupers;
Rich - but haein naething.
Puir - ay, that's yer next-door neibour,
Tho ye wadna class him;
An ye wadna be for speakin,
Tho ye chanced to pass him.
Puir-he's but a common cottar,
Drainin at the ditches;
But, gin ye haed ony inklin,
He's the man o riches.
In the God o grace he's trustin;
He haes got the ae thing;
That's the walth that's walth forever,
A' the rest is naething.
Puir-in a' the gear material,
Empty a' his bunkers,
Hauden, by the want o siller,
Hurklin on his hunkers.
But he's heich, an great, wi plenty
O the hairt an speerit;
Tho the juidgment brak on Monday,
Man, he wadna fear it.
For he's routh within the awmries
O the God o Heeven:
Puir - but rich! There's no ane richer,
That I ken o, leevin.
Rich - wi little! Puir-wi plenty!
Cram that in yer noddle!
Puir - wi a' the purses burstin!
Rich - withoot a bodle!

TAK CARE O ME

Guid folk are scarce-tak care o me.

--Scottish proverb.

LIKE some we ken,
Wattie Carsewell
Haed graun consait
O Wattie's sel;
But didna get,
As ye mey guess,
Folks aye to staun
His bumptiousness.
An e'en at hame
His wifie, Kate,
Was naething slow,
An naething blate,
To speak her mind,
An tell him plain:-
"Ye think nae thochts
As guid's yer ain.
"What ye propose
Is oot o sicht
The best o a',
As richt as richt;
"But ither folks,
As ye maun mind,
Are wearin heids
O seemilar kind;
"An common-sense,
I, aiblins, trow,
Is no pack't up
In ae bit pow;
"Sae dinna bounce,
An play the fuil;
Awa ye gang,
An tend the mill."
An Wattie gaed;
But no ae hait
Haed Wattie lost
O his consait.
As to the door
His wey he teuk,
He flang his wife
A dorty leuk.
"Aweel, aweel,
My thrawart lass,
I'll e'en awa-
We'll lat that pass.
"Ye weemen folks-
A kittle lot!-
Ye never ken
The prize ye've got;
"For in Barmyle
There's no a hoose
Whaur ony wife
Should be sae croose,
"As wife o mine:
Ay, jist yersel,
Since I'm yer man,
Wattie Carsewell.
"Tak coonsel richt,
Whan richt it be:
Guid folk are scarce-
Tak care o me!"

BLUE, AN BETTER BLUE

There's blue, an better blue.

--Scottish proverb.

THE auld folks haed a pithy wey
O reddin up the true:
They said, to draw distinctions clear,
There's blue, an better blue!

* * *

Whan Baker Ross, a cantie chiel,
Saw baps o Baker Reid,
He smell't them, flang them doon:- Says he,
"There's breid, an better breid!"

* * *

Whan Hughie Tamson o Rigside
Selt cattle at the mart
For twa-pound-ten abuin the price
That went to Robbie Bart,
The twa met at the gate; says Bart,
"Hoo got ye price sae hiech?"
An Hughie lauched a cunnin lauch-
"There's kye, an better kye!"

* * *

Whan Kirsty Laing, the doctor's lass,
Was mairit, come-a-year,
At Embro, to Jim Stevenson,
The ceevil engineer,
The neibours a' were fair amazed,
An stude aboot an stared;
For weel they kent the lass haed got
An offer frae the laird.
Gin she haed liked, she micht hae been
The Leddy at the Ha',
Wi cairiages an flunkey-chaps,
Aye dinkit up an braw;
But, losh! she teuk Jim Stevenson,
The ceevil engineer!
The thing seemed past a' reckonin,
The queerest o the queer.
Ae day a veesitor ca't in
At their hoose in the toon,
An to the great enigma brocht
The conversation roon'.
Says she, "Excuise me speirin this;
But what could be yer whim?
What for did ye refuse the laird,
An raither mairy Jim?"
Says Mrs. Jim, "The answer's plain,
Since ye're sae keen to ken;
I didna tak the laird, because
There's men, an better men!"

* * *

An sae we end whaur we began:
The auld folks spak the true;
We need to draw distinctions clear--
There's blue, an better blue!

DINNA

Gin ye dinna see the bottom, dinna wade.

--Scottish proverb.

GIN ye dinna see the bottom,
Dinna wade:
It was a hamely, auld-farrant sayin
O oor youth.
Mither aften warn't the callants,
Steerin cowts,
"Gie't a thocht, my bairns, an siccar
Grup the truith."
An I'se warrant that her meanin
For us a'
Wisna jist anent oor wadin
Throu the burn,
Or the dangers that were lurkin
Whaur the puils
Hid the chuckie-stanes at ilka
Drumly turn.
Na! her anxious love was leukin
'thort the years,
Whan the laddies roon' aboot her
Wad be men;
Whan the wiles o human naitur,
An its tricks,
An its sleekiest temptations
They wad ken.
Whan the fittin wad be sliddery,
An their steps
Needit keppin, ilka yaird-length,
Frae a fa',
Gin they didna mind the coonsel
That she spak,
No to ventur ony farer
Than they saw.
Wi the maist o life ahint me,
I mey guess,
Noo I'm free to tell ye plainly,
Whan I'm auld,
I'd been saved frae mony a pliskie,
Sair an sad,
Haed I mindit what oor mither
Wicely tauld.
Sae I telt to a' the young chaps,
Laddies noo,
An nae better canny coonsel
Can be said-
Dinna ventur whaur it's doutfu;
Haud ye back;
Gin ye dinna see the bottom,
Dinna wade.

THE YAIRD O THE FECKLESS SON

I gaed by the field o the slothfu,
An by the vineyaird o the man o nae mense;
An, here, it was a' grown ower wi thorns,
The face o it was covered wi nettles,
An the stane-wa aboot it was broken doun.
Then I saw,
An considered weel.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xxiv. 30-32.

THAT'S jist the fack! - I did consider't weel:
I stude a hale hauf-hoor, or mibbie mair,
An leukit ower; - the yaird was near the road;
The dyke was doon; the stanes a' here-an-there.
An sic a sicht! The fit-pads green wi gress;
The weeds, in rampant regiments, ower a';
For nettles, runches, dockens, an sic-like,
I couldna see the tattie-shaws ava.
The thristles raise as heich as his green-kail;
The grunshil smuired his persley an his leeks;
His cabbage an his neeps were a' reel-ral;
He haedna duin a haun's-turn there for weeks.
The muckle lazy lout! Gif throu his skin
It haed been possible to ding some shame,
I'd threipit ben his lug, that no ae dab
O richt haed he to claim his faither's name.
For, eh, I tell ye, that auld Andra Caird,
The faither o this feckless, wauchlin loon,
Was sic a workin body, steive an trig,
An kent for that in a' the pairish roon'.
Whan he was here the place was keepit snod;
He aye was trimmin something at odd hoors:
Hoo mensefu prood he leukit at his wark
Amang his plants, an a' his beds o flouers.
But save us a'! Ye see what like it's noo:
That lumberin lump, he disna care a rap!
The nettles, an the dockens, an the gress
Get ilka chance to growe the champion crap!
Gin Solomon haed keekit ower the dyke,
An seen the waesome scunner o the yaird,
The sluggard, that he spak o, micht hae been
The muckle lazy son o Andra Caird.

THE DEIL'S SMIDDY

An idle brain is the deil's smiddy.

--Scottish proverb.

THE deil haes got a smiddy: sae I read
Nae farer gane than jist the ither nicht;
An tho, I'se warrant, nane o us haes seen't,
I'm feart the story's richt.
It's nae auld biggin theekit ower wi strae,
An smuirin some bit clachan wi its smeek,
Or staun'in kenspeckle to warn folks back
Frae sic-like smiddy reek.
Na, na! Gin that were sae, we a' micht flit
A pairish-breid oot-ower the gate, atweel;
But this smith, that we're speakin o the noo,
Is cunnin as-the deil!
He hides his place o wark, an hides his trade;
It peys him best to play a crookit pairt;
He taks a lease o ilka idle heid,
An ilka glaikit hairt.
He maks the tack to fit himsel, as tho
He were the laird, an nane could daur him stop;
An there, in-by the ben-maist life o men,
He sterts his smiddy shop.
It's there he blaws his bleeze an heats his airns,
An edges tools for deevilment aff-haun;
It's there he forges a' his tricks o ill,
An keeps his business gaun.
Nae reek, or soon'; nae sign o ocht like fire;
But aye he's thrang - as thrang as meenit-throbs,
Gin only he can keep puir bodies blin'
To a' his ugly jobs.
He steers his wee ash-shule amang oor thochts;
He turns the wrang aye up, the guid aye doon,
An maks believe, as nane but he can dae,
He's meanin weel a' roon'.
He hammers at oor plans, to gar them shape
The plans that he haes shapit for himsel;
He dings the keen edge aff the true an richt
Wi some uncanny spell.
An aye he's at it: nae short hoors wi him;
An nae aff-days, wi wark a kennin slack;
The deil's a smith that wants nae rest to fling
A coat upon his back.
It's time we a' were speirin intil this,
An hiech time, certes! gif the things nae lee;
For nae sic tenant, or sic smiddy wark
Bodes guid for ye or me.

THE STRAUCHT ROAD

Lat thine een leuk richt on,
An lat thine eelids leuk straucht afore thee.
Turn na to the richt hand nor to the carr.

--Beuk o Proverbs, iv. 25, 27.

Haud forrit,
Straucht on;
That'll fin' the road:
Hand forrit,
Straucht on;
That'll tak to God.

* * *

AE nicht I cross't Barwhinnie muir,
Hauf-stranger to the place;
I thocht the muin wad serve my turn,
As I stepped on wi pace.
But jist as Huntfield ferm I reached,
Near-by the Wandel wuds,
My lamp gaed oot! - the muin, ye'll guess,
Was happit ower wi cluds.
An sae, to work by cautious plan,
I chapped at Huntfield door,
To speir directions ower the muir,
I ne'er haed cross't afore.
The fermer cam himsel: I telt
The pliskie I was in,
An wunnert gin he could dae ocht
The muirlan' track to fin'.
"But whaur is't that ye want to gang?
Because," says he, "the pad
Could ne'er be follow't throu the mirk
Save by some shepherd lad."
Sae I explain't the place an hoose
That I wad fain be at;
He lauched; - "O, then, the airt to tak
I suin can show ye that."
Alang we steppit side by side
Sax hunder yairds, or mair;
An on a bit knowe-heid, he says,
"Noo, I can set ye shuir.
"Ye see yon licht twa miles awa?
That's what they ca' Milldyke;
Tak ye the heather straucht for that-
The mainroad there ye'll strike;
"An no a quarter o a mile,
I wat, ayont that same,
As safe's ye like, ye'll step inside
The very hoose ye name."
I thanked him for his kindliness,
An as we bade Guid-nicht,
He cried again, "Noo, keep yer ee
Aye on that single licht;
"An aye haud forrit straucht for that,
As straucht as ye can gang,
An, track or no, there's my wird for't,
Ye canna dauner wrang."
An shuir as he haed said the thing,
I cross't the lanesome muir
Wi nae muin, an inside an hoor
I landit safely there.

* * *

Haud forrit,
Straucht on;
That'll fin' the road:
Haud forrit,
Straucht on;
Yon's the licht o God.

BLAWIN STOOR

Him that blaws in the stoor fills his ain een.

--Scottish proverb.

IT'S no a job that dacent folks
Wad try, I wat;
But mibbie twa or three, we ken,
Are no jist that:
An haein crabbit, scrimpit minds
For nocht but trash,
They steer aboot the claiverin clypes
O common clash.
They're nane parteeclar that their gabs
Should ithers spare,
An tho it's dirt they wark amang,
D'ye think they care?
But bideawee; they'll get a waff
O what they've flung,
Ahint the backs o neibour folks,
Frae their ill-tongue.
For sic as tak to blawin stoor,
As we've observ't,
Are shuir to get their ain een fill't,
An weel deserv't!

JOCK BAXTER'S PHILOSOPHY

As Jock Baxter said-
Gif better were within, then better wad come oot.

--Scottish proverb.

JOCK BAXTER'S nae philosopher:
I'm Jock - an sae I ken;
But, haith! I've haed my ain adae
Wi a' the kinds o men;
An mony times I've haed my thochts
Anent the unco crew-
No meanin to include mysel,
O coorse, or mibbie ye;
An, man, I've aften wunnert sair,
Hoo life's correckin snubs,
An wechty skeips o deescipline,
An a' its saucy rubs
Haed sma' effeck, or nane ava,
As far as ane micht tell,
In settin folks to see, or redd
The fauts that dang themsel:
The silly airs, the senseless pride,
The spites an scurvy snash,
The hairtless tricks o meanness duin,
An evil-spoken trash;
An a' the rest that breeds ill-will,
An bickerins in a thrang;
An herries oot o human life
The speerit for a sang.
Ye'd think that folks wad lairn betimes,
An schuil themsels awee;
An gie their naitur better chance
The better thing to be.
But na! the lave'll no try that;
They'll jog to nae sic dance:
An yet they'll skin an jump at ance
Ower ony antrin chance,
To gab aboot their neibour folk,
An tell their ilka faut,
An swear there's nane amang the lot
Ocht better than they're ca't.
But catch them thinkin o their ain!
My wird, ye'll hae a wait:
To stert improvin at themsels,
That job - they'll jist no dae't!
Jock Baxter's nae philosopher:
I'm Jock-an sae I ken;
But, man, I've cast my open een
Ower a' the weys o men;
An some - we'll lat it pass at that-
Will never lairn, I dout;
Gif better were within their skins,
Then better wad come oot.

AE SWALLOW

Ae swallow disna mak a simmer.

--Scottish proverb.

AE swallow disna mak a simmer:
Jimp! - ye're aiblins richt;
Atween yersel an me, hooever,
Ane's a bonnie sicht.
An, 'deed, I'm blythe to gie't a walcome,
That, wi a' my hairt;
It's loesome-like to see it jinkin,
Joukin ilka airt.
It capers wi the waffs o breezes,
Dancin on the wing:
I wonner gif it's no practeesin
Playin jing-gae-ring.
It micht dae waur; an haith! I'm sayin
Fain I'd dae't mysel,
Jist thinkin o the news ae swallow
Cantily can tell.
It's this:- That snell an cauldrife winter
Wi its frost an snaw,
Haes clean skedaiddlt - no ane missin't-
Ower the knowes, awa.
An here's the spring upon us blinkin;
Man, afore it's lang,
Ye'll hear the mavis, at his crousest,
Dirlin oot his sang.
Ye'll see the flouers in brawest graithin
Buskit up fou sweet,
Bedinkin ilka neuk wi beauty
Roon' aboot yer feet.
Ye ken that's richt frae that ae swallow
Flashin throu the air;
For whaur there's ane, there's thoosands comin,
Ay, an thoosands mair.
I'll wad a groat, they're on the journey
Here, to Broomiedale;
An, seem ane, I see the simmer
Jist ahint its tail!

The Shuir Crap

He that saws richteousness haes a shuir reward.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xi. 18.

THEY say, there's no a year slips by
Atween the time o rents,
But feck o fermer folks scrape up
A bushel o complents:-
The frosts were late; the plooin dreich;
They couldna get seeds in;
The wire-worm yokit on the corn,
An made the crappin thin;
The spring was dry; the hey was puir;
The simmer haedna sun;
The craws drew up the neeps, an dodged
The smertest wi the gun;
The hairst was wat; the stooks were black,
An sprootin at the baun';
The tatties, wi disease, were scarce
Worth liftin aff the laun';
The days were short, the nichts were lang
Afore they built a stack:
Anither sic a year as this-
They'll a' fling up their tack!
Atweel, the fermin's kittle wark
Amang sic fell mishaps:-
Ye'd ken yersel, gif ye haed failed
To gether in yer craps.
But wheesht awee; an hear to this
Wi a' yer tentiest care:-
There's crappin o anither kind,
Whaur ilka hairst is shuir.
This ferm's yer ain; the field's yer life;
The tack is rinnin noo;
An ye're the very man yersel,
Wha hauds an airts the ploo;
Wha sees to daein a' that's duin;
Wha saws the various seeds;
Wha works the laun' frae morn to nicht,
Wha tackles wi the weeds.
Ye're laird, an fermer-baith in ane;
Results depend on ye;
Saw naething but what's Guid an Richt;
Saw ilka thing that's True;
Saw braidcast wi an open luif,
An wi an honest hairt:
There's Ane Abuin 'll siccar staun'
To tak sic fermer's pairt.
The frosts mey nip; the sun mey dwine;
The rains mey blatterin fa';
An aften ye mey dreid the warst-
Nae hairst to come ava!
But dinna fear: jist cultivate
Yersel - frae less to mair;
An shuir, as God is shuir Himsel,
Ye'll fin' the craps are shuir.

A PAT OR A PAT-LID

What winna mak a pat mey mak a pat-lid.

--Scottish proverb.

WHAT winna serve to mak a pat
Mey serve to mak a lid:
Keep a' yer odds an ends in haun-
That's what the auld folks did.
They wrocht wi canny, thrifty care,
The remnants were laid past,
An, eftir lyin seeven years,
They cam o uise at last.
Yer faither haed a box that stude
Alang the garret-fluir;
Yer mither haed a packit press
Awa ahint the stair:
Whan ocht was wantit at a pinch,
Their hainins were turn't ower,
An ilka ane aboot the hoose
Stude roon' to tak a glower.
An eh! it was a sicht to see
The sairchin o the packs!
The routh o curious things they haed,
The walth o their nick-nacks!
An unco seldom did they fail,
Wi siccan a turn-oot,
To get the very thing to fit-
A key, a nail, a cloot;
A virl to fix yer faither's stick,
A ribbon for Meg's hair;
A coloured bit o chintz to cleed
The bottom o a chair.
There wisna ony end ava
To what they could provide
Frae triflin things, that dentie thrift
Haed, langsyne, laid aside.
Tak ye the hint-it aye works weel-
Waste naething ye can hain;
Some bonnie day they'll come o uise,
Next year, or next again.
Keep a' yer odds an ends in haun-
That's what the auld folks did:
What winna serve to mak a pat
Mey mak a braw pat-lid.

KEEP UP YER HAIRT

The faurer east, the shorter wast.

--Scottish proverb.

KEEP up yer hairt! An steively stump the road;
The dourest, dreichest mile, ye'll fin', gangs past;
Ae ither step, an that's anither less;
An mind! - The farer east, the shorter wast.
I ken, as weel's yersel, what like it is
To trauchle sae, an be forfeuchen sair,
Aye dreidin that the pith 'll leave oor shanks
An no serve oot, to tak us near-haun there.
But jist haud at it! Forrit! Face the braes!
We only need to speel them ane by ane;
Yet ane by ane 'll cover ane an a',
An, as the e'enin fa's, it's hame we'll win.
Keep up yer hairt! The track o life we trudge
Seems aften langsome, lanesome, dreich an dour,
Wi bits o't waur than ony, whaur oor een
Are fairly blint, atween the tears an stoor.
But tak a thocht-the hale o't's no like that;
It's no a' stiff, or staney, throu the hoors;
The're glints o sun, an blythesome sangs o birds,
An whiles the dyke-side boorockit wi flouers.
An, antrin times, a neibour, wi a smile,
Or couthie wirds o sympathy an cheer,
In-by oor side 'll breist the on-gaun road,
An mak its cankerin ills less ill to bear.
An, then, we aye can lippen Ane Abuin,
Whas tentie care is ilka day the same;
He'll airt, an kep oor trimlin, taiglin feet,
An, as the e'enin fa's, He'll bring us hame.
Keep up yer hairt! An still be haudin yont;
The langest, dreichest mile, ye'll fin', gangs past;
Ae ither step, an that's anither less;
An mind! - The farer east, the shorter wast.

YER LANE MEY BE GUID COMPANY

Better be yer lane than in ill company.
His absence is guid company.

--SCOTTISH PROVERBS.

HE'S gane - an that's guid company!
A man haed better sit
His leevin lane the hale nicht throu,
Haed better nurse his fit,
Than neibour wi a silly fuil,
Whate'er his crack or sang,
Whan siccan fellowship as this
Wad lure him intil wrang.
There's mony a young life we ken,
Frae mony a braw hame,
Haes tint its glamourie an bloom,
An daubed wi glaur its name;
Because, wi puppy's een, he failed
To see what ithers saw,
That them he rashly waled for freen's
Were nocht o freen's ava.
Their thochts were fause, an fou o guile;
Their weys teuk ugly airts;
An aye they wiled him farer ben
To share their smutty pairts;
An syne, afore he dreidit ocht,
The rascals haed him doon,
An stories o his character
Were blabbit ower the toon.
Puir man! - That's happen't aftener
Than ane wad like to tell:
My lad, watch ye the freen's ye pick
An fling awa the spell
O ilka ane that's no deid-straucht,
Or honest, or doonricht,
Or clean in ilka wird or deed-
Gae, bid them a' "Guid-nicht";
An show them oot, as suin's ye can;
Invite them jist to flit:
They're gane - an that's guid company!
Draw in, an nurse yer fit.

"SOOPLE SAWNY" AN THE SLUGGARD'S LIONS

The slothfu man says,-
The'r a lion in the road;
A lion's in the street.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xxvi. 18.

THEY ca't him "Soople Sawny" for a nickname,
An winkit ower their prank;
For fine they kent-unless he couldna help it-
He ne'er wad steer a shank.
He wadna dae a haun's-turn - deil-be-lickit!-
Whan he could lat alane:
He'd naither lift a shule, nor wheel a barrow,
Nor warsle wi a stane.
He wadna cry the craws frae aff the turneeps,
Nor, aiblins, turn the kye,
Altho his legs ran risk o gettin trampit
As they gaed rampin by.
His faither, in a passion, roared, "Ye sluggard!"
His mither spak him sweet;
But naither smiles nor swiers wad rumple Sawny,
Or egg his wauchlin feet.
His thrangest hoor wad fin' him busy sittin
On cowpit tattie-creel;
He likit, abuin a' thing, to dae naething,
An, man, he did it weel.
'Twas howpless hintin that some wark was waitin
To fill his time a blink,
For Sawny raised the unco-est objections
That mortal man could think.
Some prowlin toozie lions, or ill-faured teegers
Were aye in Sawny's road:
"We'll lat them be," says he; an doon he clappit
To tak anither nod.
An sae he leev't an dee't as "Soople Sawny,"
At daein nocht, the best!
Whan a' the wark, he haedna duin, was duin wi,
He thocht he'd tak a rest!

CA' CANNY

Ca' canny, an mak shuir.

--Scottish proverb.

IT'S better to gang canny, an gang shuir,
(To ane an a', the hamely ower-wird says)
Than tak the causey, bashin wi a breenge,
An fa', an brak yer taes.
It's no by ony thochtless, daft stramash,
Or tapsalteerie bangin roon' aboot,
That ocht, worth gettin, in this warld is got,
Ye'll fin', withoot a dout.
The heichs o a' that's best for human weal
Are never speel't by ony cantrip dance;
It's no a braithless scurry brings us there
By short-cut, or by chance.
Tak time, then, an tak care; but aye haud on;
Haud forrit by the track ye've set in sicht,
An mak yer hurry cannily an keen-
I'll wad a groat, that's richt.
Palauver nane-mind that! Ye canna spare
To skail yer time, or chances as ye gang;
But ony helter-skelter, suin or syne,
Will, aiblins, ding ye wrang.
Sae, gif ye're wyse-an nae dout that's yer thocht-
Atween the twa extremes ye'll tak yer wale;
Its better to gang canny, an gang shuir,
An keep yer taes a' hale.

TRY'T AGAIN, MAN!

Aften ettle, whiles hit.

--Scottish proverb.

Aften ettle,
Whiles ye'll hit:
Try't again, man-
There-that's it!
TAMMAS ELDER, worthy chiel,
Kent by a', respeckit weel,
Throu the week-days cobbl't shuin,
But on Sundays raised the tune
In the auld Kirk o Dalbraith.
An I'se wadger, on guid faith,
Siccan a by-ordnar scene
Ne'er afore, nor syne, haes been,
Like what happen't, true as true,
Tho it's mony a year past noo;
Ae time, whan oor Doctor Graham
Was obleeged to be frae hame,
Preachin for a freen', I'se warrant,
Ower the kintra, at Glenfarnt.
Some lang, lanky student chap
Cam that day to fill the gap;
Teuk the poupit, gleg an caum,
Giein oot the Hunder Psaum.
Tammas raise wi liftit fork,
'tween his teeth he made it jork,
Set it on the desk to bum,
Answer't it wi canny hum,
Catchin, gin he could, the key
Wantit for the melodie.
Then he stertit, clear an fair,
Wi the auld fameeliar air;
But, afore the saicont line,
Whaur the kirk-folks thocht to jine,
Something-I'm nae haun at sang-
Something gaed a kennin wrang.
Tammas fumml't, stammerin,
Miss't a wird, an lost the tune;
Hanker't, for a meenit mair,
Ower anither note, an there
Stoppit, flabbergastit clean;
Man, ye could hae heard, I ween,
Dingle o a fa'in preen!
Tammas, tho, was nane put-oot;
Hoastit, leukit roon' aboot:-
"Freen's," says he, "I'm aff't, it's true;
Tak yer time, we'll stert anew."
Syne he gart his fork play dunt
On the desk that stude in front;
Ance again he clear't his throat,
Strauchtit up, an hummed the note;
Aff he set, as richt's could be,
Glint o triumph in his ee;
Folks amang the pews jined in,
Liltin at the graun' auld tune,
Whilk, to me, the lave oot-shines:-
A' gaed weel the first fower lines.
Whether 'twas his wun ran scarce
Ower the effort o that verse
Eftir what haed jist befel,
'Deed! I canna richtly tell;
Mibbie the success haed been
Glamour to Tam Elder's een,
That he couldna see, or think,
What was richt aheid a blink;
Nocht I ken, I maun confess,
Sae we'll leave't at that, a guess.
This, hooever, was the fack,
At the saicont verse's tack
Tam got aff Auld Hunder's track;
Missin, somehoo, I micht say,
What it was he meant to dae;
Struck a common metre tune,
Whaur the lines wad nane clink in-
"French," "Kilmarnock," or "Coleshill,"
(O the maisie I've nae skill
As I've said) I canna tell;
Haith, an mibbie Tam himsel
Didna ken; at ony rate,
Here was pliskie desperate.
Maist o folks, the kirk oot-ower,
Stude dumfoondit, at the glower;
Twa-three, wi the singin grup,
Tried to keep Auld Hunder up;
But they drappit to a whine
Warslin wi the saicont line.
As for Tammas-peety me!
Tammas was a sicht to see:
Hoo his chafts gaed oot an in
Strugglin wi the wrang-gaun tune,
Souchin, as tho suppin curds,
Tryin to eke oot the wirds.
Dourest o the dour was he,
Yieldin wisna in his ee;
But it wadna-e'en at that-
Dae ava: at last he quat.
Thinkna that he teuk his sate
Awnin up to black defeat:
Na, na! Straucht's a hey-cairt tram,
There he stude - for that was Tam!
"Freen's," says he again - deid-caum -
"We maun sing this Hunder Psaum;
Weel ye ken the proverb fit:-
'Aften ettle, whiles ye'll hit';
Failure here or there's nae crime,
Gin we maun't anither time;
I'm no ane to coort despair,
Sae we'll till't, an try't ance mair;
For, upon this day o days,
As the Haly Beuk here says,
We maun lift to God oor praise."
No a wheesht gaed throu the kirk,
No a snigger, no a smirk;
No a man or wumman there,
No a bairn wi gowden hair,
But kent Tammas for the pairt
That was guid within his hairt,
An they waitit, dowie noo,
Prayin, Tam wad yet win throu.
For mysel (altho, mibbie,
This anticipates awee)
Hoo the student preach't that day,
What he said, or didna say,
No ae jot can I reca',
Naither sermon, text, ava;
But, Tam's sermon, that he spak,
Ilka syllable comes back;
For it rang wi solemn braith
Throu the glen-kirk o Dalbraith.
Tam was servin Ane Abuin,
Fechtin wi that auld Psaum-tune.
Ay, I'll mind o't a' my days,
Hoo he airtit at God's praise,
Hoo he hallow't sic a scene,
Hoo the draps cam to oor een;
Mind o't! Lang's I gang in socks!
Tam's wirds frae the singer's box.
But I've daunner't frae my scheme;
Here's the rest, then, o my theme.
Ance again Tam showed his pluck,
Ance again the fork he struck,
Ance again he stertit - "A'
People That on earth do dwall:"
No a quiver in his voice-
"Come before Him an rejoice:"
No a hanker in his wirds-
Man, the folks sang oot like birds;
Here an there, a' teuk their pairts,
Glaff o Heeven haed flamed their hairts;
Verse by verse they follow't throu,
Swallin looder, blythe an true;
Tam's ain thocht haed gruppit a',
Frae sic praise they couldna fa';
In His ain Hoose, God was near,
An they sang for Him to hear:
"Why? the Lord oor God is guid;
His wird at a' times haes stude;
Mercy aye, an mercy shuir,
Ages lang, for evermair."
Tam sat doon wi beamin face:
A' haed kent the touch o grace.
Mony wushed that Doctor Graham
Should hae been that day at hame:
Eh! he wad hae been uplift,
Roosed in speerit to the tift,
Preachin o the gospel baum,
Gin he'd heard that Hunder Psaum.
Sirss! but time flees quick awa:
That was auchteen-fifty-twa.
Saxty years, an mair, are gane-
Tammas, langsyne, haes been taen
To his rest; an geyan few
O the auld folks leevin noo;
But gin ye should fin' the track
To Dalbraith, get on the crack
Wi some bodies o langsyne-
O, they'll mind o Tammas fine:
"Weel-I-wat!" they'll crousely craw,
"Hoo could we forget ava:
Roon' the pairish, far an near,
Ilka ane aye named that year
No by auchteen-fifty-twa,
No the year o frost an snaw,
No the year o fell mishaps,
No the year o stuntit craps;
But they telt ye, in a trice,
Wi the ower-wird maist precyse
Year o Tam's Auld Hunder Thrice!
An that proverb held its claim,
Eftir saxty years the same,
Tackit to Tam Elder's name-
Aften ettle,
Whiles ye'll hit:
Try't again, man-
There-that's it!"

"WINNA" AN "SHANNA"

Him that "winna" whan he mey "shanna" whan he wad.

--Scottish proverb.

HE that winna whan he mey
Shanna whan he wad:
That's the rule o human life,
That's the law, my lad.
Chances come, an chances gang:
Gin ye wad succeed,
Ye maun kep them as they come,
Haud them by the heid.
Miss them, an they're ower the knowe-
Lost! an nocht avails;
Nae man leevin could, I wat,
Catch them by their tails.
Opportunities, lat slip,
Trintle yont the grup;
Naething for't but ye maun bide
New anes comin up.
That's to say, gif e'er they come!
That's the risk ye rin:
Some o them, we ken, are gien
Nocht but ance-for ane.
Sae, staun till't, wi ettlin hairt,
Watchin, gleg an fain,
Keen to catch the chances sent
As yer very ain.
Snap them brawly or they pass;
That's success, my lad:
He that winna whan he mey
Shanna whan he wad.

A DENNER O CHUCKIE-STANES

Breid o fauseheid is sweet to a man;
But efterhaun his mou sall be fou o graivel.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xx. I7.

IT'S easy tellin lees to meet a pinch,
Or jink a habble that ye've gotten in;
But dinna craw ocht croose-the job's no throu;
Ye'll see, afore it's lang, ye've crawn ower suin.
The man that's fair but fause, to rax his tongue
At ony time in jookrie-pawkrie style,
An try to get ayont his neibour-man
By workin wi the dirty tricks o guile,
Mey aiblins manage, as we've kent him dae,
To mak his twa-fauld dodges pass awee;
But some day oot they come; an there he stauns
For what he is, for a' the toon to see:-
A man that wadna gang the honest gate,
A body that wad sneivle doon to cheat;
An whan he's kent, he's tint the trust o a',
An hech! the sorry dish he's left to eat.
But face't he maun; he gether't it himsel;
There's nae help for't, sae far as I can trow;
For a' his lees hae turn't to chuckie-stanes,
An that's the moothfu that he's got to chow.

BONNIE, BONNIE SHE IS

Some ane haes tauld her that she's bonnie!

--Scottish proverb.

SOME ane haes tauld her she's bonnie!
I wadna misca't for a lee;
But, by the thocht that I'm thinkin,
It's north o the truith, jist awee.
Some ane haes tauld her she's bonnie!
In whisperin, tender an saft;
An, by the thocht that he's thinkin,
He's naither a leear nor daft.
Some ane haes tauld her she's bonnie!
A loesome an ravishin sicht;
An, by the thocht that she's thinkin,
It's desperate near aboot richt.
Some ane haes tauld her she's bonnie!
An LOVE'S graun'est meeracle's this-
LOVE its ainsel haes transform't her,
An bonnie, noo, bonnie she is!

WASHIN AN PENTIN CRAWS AN FUILS

A craw's nane the whiter for bein washed.
A fuil's nae less a fuil for his finery.

--SCOTTISH PROVERBS.

O, a black craw's nane the whiter
For a dook in saipy suds;
An a feckless fuil's nae better
Tho he's buskit in braw duds.
For ye canna change the naitur
By some easy-gangin plan,
That wad snod an sort the ootside-
Be it aither bird or man-
An suppose that, throu yer ferlie,
Ye haed managed, trig an fell,
To mak this ane, or the ither,
Ony ither than himsel.
Ye micht pent a craw in colours,
Yellow, reid, or skyey-blue,
But as suin's yer brush is drappit
Wadna this be haudin true?
That the unco-leukin craitur
Haedna lost itsel ava,
An, for a' yer fancy jobbin,
Still was naething but a craw.
An a fule - gie him a pailace,
Or a castle on a knowe;
Set him doon amang the gentry;
Clap a coronet on his pow;
Cram his pooches fou o siller;
Send the flunkeys to his tail;
O the braws o a' the kintra
Let the body hae his wale;
Keep him dinkit oot in fluffles,
Like a peacock on the splore;
Gie him a' the whigmaleeries-
Gie him a' thing in galore;
Pent him up in yellow splatches,
Like the craw itsel-but, still,
In the name o common-sense, man,
What's the guid, gif he's a fule?
Gif he's that, aneth his coronet,
Ye mey dress him a' ye can;
But there's ae think that ye'll fail in-
Him ye'll never mak-a man!
For a feckless fule's nae ither,
Tho he's cled in finest duds;
An a craw's a craw, whan a's duin,
Tho it's wash't in saipy suds.

A Tummle to be Expeckit

Pride gangs afore destruction;
An an hauchty spirit afore a fa'.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xvi. 18.

O DINNA haud yer heid ower heich,
As tho ye'd crack wi nane;
Afore ye ken, yer taes mey tak
The edge o some lowse stane;
An, whummlin doon amang the glaur,
Ye'll gang wi unco soss,
Till a' yer bonnie fal-de-rals
Hae pairtit wi their gloss.
Ye needna be sae blawn wi pride,
Or daidle on sae croose;
Ye'll want some neibour-body noo
To tak ye ben the hoose;
An gie yer braw new silken goon
Fou carefully a dicht,
An sort ye a', an tosh ye up,
An snod, an set ye richt.
An, certes! wi a kindly haun,
She'll dae't-no grudge't ava;
But a' the same, she'll no be vex't
That ye got that bit fa'.
As suin's ye're aff, she'll rin next door,
An cry to Luckie Steel,
"I wish ye'd seen that prinkit wife-
An, 'deed, it served her weel!
"She trippit on the road oot-by,
An nearly brak her nose;
Her claes, perjink, wi clarty marks
Hae got an unco dose.
"She'll mibbie no be jist sae big
The next time that we meet:
Her een's aye rakin mang the cluds;
She canna see her feet.
"She'd like to think that a' the toon
Aboot her grande'r tell,
An that we tak her at the hicht
She fain wad tak hersel.
"My wird! she's wrang-jist silly prood!
An that's aboot it a':
I'm gled that Solomon was richt,
An that she got the fa'!"

A LANG-SHANKIT SPUIN

He needs a lang-shankit spuin that sups kail wi the deil.

--Scottish proverb.

HE needs a langer-shankit spuin
Than I e'er saw, atweel,
Wha daurs to draw his chair in-ower
To sup kail wi the deil.
For ony sic confab, I'd say,
A pole as lang an big
As wad rax there an back again
Twixt this an Stirlin Brig,
Wad never be hauf lang eneuch
To offer ony fend;
An, fegs! but he'd be miles ower near
Set at the ither end.
What he pits doon for veesitors
Is aye brewed for their ill,
To lure their hairt, beguile their mind,
An jookrie-pawk their will;
To weise them aff the straucht an richt;
To wyle them frae the road
Their faithers an their mithers teuk
Alang the track o God;
To trick them intil a' things wrang,
That lead frae bad to waur;
To blicht an blast their character,
An leave them in the glaur;
An leer an lauch whan ance they're doon;
An a' sic thing as that:
Naebody ever saw ocht else
Come oot o his broth-pat.
Ay, ay! Tak my advice, my lad,
Troke nane wi sic a chiel;
There's nae spuin made hauf lang eneuch
To sup kail wi the deil.

SEEKIN MUCKLE OR LITTLE

Seek muckle, get something: seek little, get naething.

--Scottish proverb.

SEEK muckle, ye'll get something;
Seek little, ye'll get nane:
The dougs that dae the yowlin
Are thrown the biggest bane.
The beggars that insist on't,
No askin, By-yer-leave,
An claim they need a tap-coat
Are shuir to get a sleeve.
The chiels that rush the diggin's,
For diamonds, gowd, an a',
Mey no bag a' the cunzie,
Yet pooch a chunk or twa.
The lads that pech for knowledge,
To cram their noddles fou
Wi a' the sweets o lairnin,
Mey fin' this geyan true-
They canna grab the hale o't,
But, gif their minds are set,
The mair o't that they covet
The mair o't they will get.
The men, that wad be noblest,
An speel the very sky,
Mey hae some hanks o trouble
Afore they gang as hiech.
But it's the ane that's siccar
To be the best he can
That weel deserves the title-
The graun'est type o man.
Sae, clap the croon upon him,
An honour him again:
Seek muckle, ye'll get something;
Seek little, ye'll get nane.

THE GOOSE AN THE GOWDEN EGGS

The goose that laid the gowden eggs is deid.

--Scottish proverb.

THE goose is deid that laid the gowden eggs;
Ye needna fash to leuk her nest again.
That's ower; an gin there's ocht ye grein to get,
Ye e'en maun set to wark yer leevin lane.
The day o a' sic unco things is duin,
The age o a' sic ferlies, that we read:
They michtna, or they micht be true langsyne,
But dinna trust them noo-the goose is deid!
Ye needna wait for fortunes drappin doon
Frae onywhaur, or naewhaur, that ye ken,
An crammin yer bit pock up to the neck
Until there's nocht for ye to dae but spen'.
Cast aff yer coat, an buckle to the darg;
Fauld up yer sleeves, an till't wi birlin speed;
Ye'll only get the fortune that ye mak;
There's nae wey else, for, man-the goose is deid!
That's true a' ower-for ilka prize o life;
For ocht worth while; for a' that's first an best;
An nane but fules wad leuk for them on chance
By keekin intil ony goose's nest.
Ye'll reach them, whan ye've struggled for them a'
Wi haun an hairt - mak that yer workin creed;
An dinna trust to ferlies that'll fail:
That goose that laid the gowden eggs is deid!

THE KENSPECKLE TRAP

A' for naething is the net spreid in the sicht o ony bird.

--Beuk o Proverbs, i. I7.

D'YE think it wad be Solomon
That gied us thir bit wirds,
Aboot the fuilish fash o nets
Set oot in sicht o birds?
An thocht that nane wad seek the girn,
Or ony siccan thing,
Gif onywhaur aroon' the trap
They saw a twist o string?
For ilka laddie at the schuil,
I wat, could brawly tell
Regairdin sparrows that he's taen-
An fegs! I've duin't mysel.
In nae a hiddlin wey ava,
Wi nae net oot o 'sicht;
But jist a riddle an a stick
Set up in braid daylicht.
An in they gaed: the sparrow first,
The shilfa, an tom-tit,
The mavis, blackbird, robin, tae,
A' keen to grab their bit;
An fechtin, mang themsels, for crumbs,
Whan, plunk! I drew the string:
The riddle drappit or a bird
Haed time to flaff a wing.
An hear to this! It's nae guess-wark-
I tell ye what I ken:
It's no jist birds that tak the girn,
But even leevin men.
The danger's there; temptation's plain;
It's nae hauf-hidden sin;
But aye they diddle roon' aboot,
An aye it lures them in.
They canna say they dinna see't;
They canna blame daylicht;
They're weel-eneuch awaur it's wrang-
The net's spreid in their sicht.
Yet in they gang, wi open een,
An, or it's lang, they're doon;
The riddle's clappit wi a clash,
An ploppit on their croon!

* * *

I dout it wisna Solomon
That gied us thir bit wirds,
For mony an open net, I'se warrant,
Haes trap't baith men an birds.

ITHER FOLKS' KAIL

Dinna scaud yer mooth wi ither folks' kail.

--Scottish proverb.

MANG the proverbs o oor faithers
This ane tells a tale-
Dinna gang an scaud yer thrapple
Wi yer neibour's kail.
Keep yer nose ootside their maiters,
Haud it on the chain;
Nane wants ye to mind their business,
Tak an mind yer ain.
Manage that, an ye'll hae plenty,
Mibbie something mair;
Unco few mey daur to tackle
Ony bigger share.
An sic anes as risk the pokin
Ower the pat next door
Aiblins get a het reception
Endin wi a roar.
That mey be the thanks preparin
For yer leevin lane,
Gin ye wad be interferin
Whaur ye're wantit nane.
Serve folks kindly whan ye're askit,
Never grudge a lift;
But haud back frae ony meddlin
That wad rouse a tift.
Mind ye, that the temper's touchy,
Waur than ane can tell,
Should ye try to rummage rashly
What belangs themsel.
Gaird yer weys by this auld proverb;
That'll keep ye hale:
Dinna gang an scaud yer thrapple
Wi yer neibour's kail.

NAE ABOOT-THE-BUSS WARK

Haudna guid frae them it's due,
When it is in the pouer o thine hand to dae't.
Say na til thy neibour-
"Gae, an come again,
An the morn I will gie";-
When thoo haes it by thee.

--Beuk o Proverbs, iii. 27, 28.

DINNA dodge aboot the buss
Wi ony sic fraca,
Jist to get yer neibour puir
To tak himsel awa.
Man, it's naething that he asks-
At least, it's nocht to ye-
Fine ye ken yer meal-kist's crammed
An a' yer awmries fou.
Wad ye daur to mak pretence,
An send him aff forlorn,
Hintin that ye micht could help
Gin he cam back the morn?
Whan there's plenty ben the hoose,
An plenty to get mair:
Gang the noo, an fill his pooch,
An cheer him wi a share.
Shame upon ye, to yer face!
There's nane could plead yer pairt,
Haudin doon a fellowman
Wi sic a cauldrife hairt.
No the morn, he needs yer help,
But oot wi't on the spot!
Blessin God that ye can gie
Frae oot the walth ye've got.

EAGLES AN BUM-BEES

Eagles dinna hunt for bees.

--Scottish proverb.

EAGLES dinna spreid their feathers
Huntin for bum-bees.
Leuk! the lordly bird taks motion
Far abuin yon trees.
Whaur's he gaun? An what's his objeck,
Sailin throu the air?
Something's in his ee, I'se wadger,
Whan the craitur's there.
Doutless it'll be his denner
That haes brocht him oot:
That's the tirlin in his noddle,
As he flees aboot.
Ay, an watch him-far ower yonder-
See hoo quick he swings;
See the fearfu rush he's makin;
See the flash o wings.
Doon he gangs like lichtnin-flauchter-
Doon-he's oot o sicht;
Vainished! as we ne'er haed seen him
In this braid daylicht.
What he's gotten disna maiter:
Listen, gin ye please-
Eagles dinna spreid their feathers
Huntin for bum-bees.
Na! An this is what I'm thinkin-
What the auld saw tells,
What is worth the ten times tellin
Till oor very sels.
'Deed, it's this, gin ye'll tak thocht o't:-
Never spen' the hoors
Chasin ony bits o trifles
Lower than yer pouers.
Aim at graun'est things an guid things,
Aye aim at the best,
At the heichest that yer Maker
Sent ye oot on quest.
Dinna set the gifts He gied ye
Huntin senseless things,
That'll leave yer hairt-room empty;
Mind, yer saul haes wings.
Mind, ye canna feed yer naitur
On frivolitees:
Eagles never spreid their feathers
Jist to catch bum-bees.

THE SHEARER AN HIS HEUK

An ill shearer never got a guid heuk.

--Scottish proverb.

HE blamed the heuk; he ca't it a' the names;
He claiver't on its fauts, first this, then that;
'Twas thowless stuff! It wadna tak an edge,
Altho he sherpit at it till he swat;
The haunle was a wild misshuppen thing;
It didna fit his richt-haun grup ava;
Sic bend o blade he ne'er haed seen afore;
The settin o't, if ocht, was warst o a'.
Nae mortal man could kemp to clean the rig,
Upsides wi ithers, throu the hairst-time thrang,
Whan, wi the best o will to dae his best,
He wrocht a dorty heuk, that aye gaed wrang.
The fermer, at the heid-rig, heard again
This waesome grummie: - "Hey, man, Ned," says he,
"Swap heuks wi Wull Dalgleish; an that should help
To keep ye gangin birlin for awee."
At least it shut his gab, an dang him quait;
The shearin sped fou briskly for a spell;
Till Ned, the silly gawkie, challenged Wull
To pass his verdict on "that heuk" himsel.
"O ho!" says Wull, "ye're there again, man, Ned;
I trow that ye're a doited, driddlin loon,
That disna ken a guid tool frae an ill,
Altho aneth yer een it's stappit doon.
"I haena haed a better heuk in haun
For a' the hairsts I've fee'd at Falla-sorn,
Than jist that ane ye swappit-swierin aye
It was the warst ye ever put to corn.
"I gied it a bit kittle wi the stane,
An, man, it teuk an edge to cut yer braith;
I'se wad, I gart the lifters streek their stumps,
An yerk it, as I swankit doon the swaith.
"Na, na! man, Ned; the heuk's a' richt an ticht;
The thing that's wrang is, somewhaur, wi yersel;
Ye aither want the will, or want the wit
To mak it yoke the shearin, sweet an fell.
"It's aye the wey-the man that's dreich, or slack,
Or, aiblins, disna ken the workin rules,
Is shuir to be the first to blatter oot
A great fraca, an, aff-haun, blame his tools.
"But, na! the blame's yer ain; tak ye the wyte;
Awa an stap yer heid ahint a stook,
An turn the auld saw ower anither time-
'A feckless shearer aye gets feckless heuk.'

THE NET O FLATTERY

A man that flatters his neibour
Spreids a net for his feet.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xxix. 5.

IT'S richt to be kindly, an say kindly things,
To cheer ither hairts by oor side,
To urge ither folks on the forrit-gaun road
Wi courage an pith in their stride.
An prood we should be, gin a wird frae oorsels
Maks somebody blythe in his mind;
But never say mair than the truith 'll allou:
To flatter is no to be kind.
It's temptin yer neibour to think o himsel
A something that's mair than discreet;
An, mibbie, ye're castin a net in his wey,
To tummle him doon aff his feet.
Ye tickle his pride, an it's no ill to dae,
For that's human naitur ower a';
But what, gif ye're pokin his silly consait
To seek the straucht road for a fa'?
Yer conscience wad chairge ye for helpin him till't,
An sendin him ower wi a ding:
That's no what ye want; an a neibourly hairt
Wad dreid to dae ony sic thing.
Be canny, be honest wi him, an yersel,
An, then, ye'll hae nocht to regret;
For truith, that is kindly, is kindliness aye,
But Flattery's spreadin a net.

HAUD THE HANK YERSEL

Aye haud the hank in yer ain haun.

--Scottish proverb.

IT'S hairtsome haein neibours,
Wha kindly set the airt
To lend an antrin helpin,
An play a neibour's pairt.
For jobs that micht be ticklish,
Or dreich to thole yer lane,
A lift, frae this or that ane,
Ye never wad disdain.
Rax oot yer haun fou glegly,
An bid them come in-by,
An lat them ken their kindness
Is stockit unco hiech.
But, while ye tak their favours,
An that wi richt guid-will,
An thank them for their service,
An fraise their knacky skill;
O this be ever mindfu-
The wark is aye yer ain;
Be intil't at the bauldest,
Be at it yokin fain.
They'll threip that this is manly,
An honour ye the mair,
Gif ye stick in the teuchest,
An redd the biggest share;
An, till the day comes clinkin,
Whan ye can pey them back,
They'll craw aboot yer workin
Withoot a meenit's slack.
Croon a' yer neibours' kindness
By yerkin at it fell;
An, while they birr yer bobbins,
Aye haud the hank yersel.

SILLER OR SENSE

A' compleen o want o siller; nane o want o sense.

--Scottish proverb.

WHAT'S the hurly-burly, think ye?
Something's taen the crew:
Saw ye ever sic a skelter?
What's the cantrip noo?
See them bittlin ane anither,
Birzin for a place,
Tuggin, fechtin, pechin forrit,
Gin it were a race.
Sae it is: they're a' rampagin
Hetly to the fore,
Fidgin to oot-dae their neibours
In a huntin splore.
But it's no a spurt for knowledge-
Little serves them there;
'Deed, an aften less than little
Gies them ony care.
Naither is't a glaff o raptur
Promptin to the airts
Whaur the guid that's heichest guidness
Micht possess their hairts.
Na! the prize they've set in prospeck-
An for this I vooch-
Touches naither mind nor speerit,
But affecks their pooch.
That's the saicret o the scrammle,
An this deivesome steer;
That's the tap o their ambeetion:
Gie them gowd an gear;
Gie them plenty; gie them mair o't;
Nae eneuch can serve;
Tho their heids should be drum-empty,
Tho their hairts should sterve.
That's their feckless, glaikit gumption;
That's their scrimpit mense:
A' compleen o want o siller;
Nane, o want o sense.

MAIR HOLIDAYS FOR THE TONGUE

Gie yer tongue mair holidays than yer heid.

--Scottish proverb.

GIE yer tongue mair holidays
Than ye allou yer heid:
Pop the proverb in yer pooch,
An tak an antrin read.
Better sense ye couldna get
To kep ye oot o hairm,
Tho ye haed a lectur gien
Near twice as lang's my airm.
Some we ken-their chafts are hung
Wi soople twine, an sma',
Hauflins lowse, they clatter on,
An ne'er gie ower ava.
Save us frae their claiver-crack!
An frae the ills they dae,
By the daft-like, thochtless things
Their waggin tongues maun say.
Could their gabs be quaitened doon,
An steekit for a blink,
Man, their brains, gif brains they hae,
Micht get a chance to think.
Tak the proverb to yersel,
An set it on the test;
Lat yer heid get in a turn,
An gie yer jaws a rest.
Keep yer tongue weel-tackit up,
But lay yer mind asteep;
Lat yer thochts rax farer ben
Mang subjecks, graun' an deep.
That's the thing to croon a' things-
It's thinkin maks the man:
Gie him veesions there-he'll raise
A life on noblest plan.
There's the rule: ye'll mibbie see
Some sense aneth the screed;
Gie yer tongue mair holidays
Than ye allou yer heid.

THE STEY BRAE AN THE STOOT HAIRT

Pit a stoot hairt to a stey brae.

--Scottish proverb.

PIT the hairt that's stoot
To the brae that's stey;
Gie the ferlies dowf a shouther yont,
An gang on yer wey.
Set a sturdie fit
To the dreichest mile;
Lay a raxin leg to speel the tap
In the bauldest style.
Keep yer smeddum up,
An yer courage dour;
An haud on the track, tho teuch an sair,
Amang stanes an stoor.
For ayont the knowe
Lies the brawest day,
To the ane that pits the stootest hairt
To the steyest brae.

IN THE WRANG SHOP

The deil's journeymen ne'er want wark.

--Scottish proverb.

GIN ye be tradesmen to the deil,
He'll gie ye wark galore;
He'll keep ye thrang frae morn till nicht,
An pey ye for the splore.
Nae risk o gaun withoot a job,
Wash't up, an dress't, an trim;
There's nae slack time in his wark-shop,
There's nae "aucht hoors" wi him.
He'll gar ye drudge clean roon' the clock,
An serve him micht an main;
He'll swat ye ilka day he can,
Yer nose aye at the stane.
The wages? Hah! Nae fear o that!-
An that's a waesome tale-
He'll never be ahint the haun,
He'll pey ye on the nail.
But gin ye werena silly saft,
An, like young puppies, blin',
Ye'd ken the wages, that ye draw,
Were smear't a' ower wi sin.
Ye're ten times fules, an ten times waur,
To slave in sic a byke,
An haed ye but the spunk o men,
Ye'd doon yer tools, an strike!
Mairch oot the yett, an ne'er gang back,
Cast aff the deidly spell,
An leave sic maistership to redd
His dirty wark himsel.
Be free! an breathe the caller air
Aneth God's sky o blue;
Set straucht yer airt, wi a' yer will,
To seek what's guid an true;
To a' that mak's men manly men,
Be resolute, be leal,
An life ye'll win, whan ye're nae mair
The tradesmen to the deil.

ILL-HAIRTIT CLAIVERERS

A whusperer separates chief freends.
The wirds o a clype is like wounds.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xvi. 28 - xxvi. 22.

A MEESERABLE, glaikit crew,
I set them doon;
There's no their like, as I wad think,
Oot-throu the toon.
An ill-faur't lot! An no a name,
I ken ava,
Haes stang eneuch aneth its tail
To class them a'.
I mean sic folks as traik aboot-
Ill-hairtit trash!-
Aye here or there on spongin bent
To gether clash;
An then, frae mang the dirt they've glaumed,
They mak their wale,
Fou gleg to speed them somewhaur else
To spreid a tale;
To splairge some neibour's character
Ahint his back;
To airt at something gaun agley,
They're never slack.
They're thrang wi clishmaclaiver jobs
At ilka turn,
That dacent folks wi honest hairts
Wad fairly spurn.
For spites they raise, for wrangs they breed,
A spunk they care!
They feed their scroggy lives wi this,
An dae't the mair.
An mony freen's-an some we ken-
That lang haed clung
In freen'ship's grup, hae pairtit been
Throu their ill-tongue.
They're leevin pests in ony place,
Be't wee or big,
Whaur, oot o tether, they're allou't
To rin the rig.
An ocht, to steek their gabs, should be
Duin aff wi speed:
I'd dook them in the dirtiest troch
Clean ower the heid.

TAKKIN A DOUG BY THE LUGS

Him that passes by,
An sticks his neb whaur it disna belang,
Is like a body that taks a dug bi the ears.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xxvii. 17.

I'VE nae dout the wyse man haed tried it,
An that's hoo he kent it sae weel:-
His neibours, ae day, were contendin;
He heard them gaun on like the deil.
He heard the stramash in the by-gaun,
An, 'deed, 'twad been best for himsel,
Gin only he'd keepit the causey,
An left them to feenish't themsel.
But frichtit to think o the endin
O siccan a tulzie an din,
The sneck o the door he jist liftit,
An richt to the fluir-heid gaed in.
He tried what he could to be stoppin
Their fechtins, an tuggins, an rugs;
But, meddlin wi ither folks' rippets,
He fand he'd a doug by the lugs.
Ye ken the predicament that is-
Or, thankfu ye should be, gif no-
For, noo that he haed got a grup o't,
He didna ken hoo to lat gae.
The same wi the squabble he'd enter't,
Sae deivesome, an bitter, an grim;
They stoppit their fury amang hauns,
But only to turn't upon him.
They rived, an they rampit, an stampit,
An ca'd him for a' that was bad;
Nor could he win oot ower the doorstep
Withoot gettin shares in a daud.
At last, whan their anger he jinkit,
An drew a guid braith o fresh air,
He step't to the croon o the causey,
An plainly was heard to declare:
He never again wad be meddlin,
Tho neibours should quarrel like thugs;
For ane, he could say, he haed plenty
O gruppin a doug by the lugs.
Sic wisdom he bocht by experience-
The best kind to hae, ye'll admit;
An doon in this proverb he set it,
To coonsel ilk ane it micht fit.
An noo, should ye care to tak stock o't,
Lat ither folks rowdy an cry,
But, gin ye hear ocht in the by-gaun,
Hae mind o the hint, an gang by!

WAIT AN SEE

Dinna forecast till ye ken: till ye ken, wait an see.

--Scottish proverb.

A GUID, but cranky freen' o mine,
Whas name was Dan M'nee,
Teuk thocht that providence haed waled
On him, by graun' decree,
To be a prophet-naething less!-
To tell his leevin lane
What wather fermer-folks micht get
Next week, or next again.
Dan undertook the job wi hairt
As licht's a bum-bee's wing;
Nae dout he was the very man
To tackle sic a thing.
Wha kent, as he kent, what was what
By ilka driftin clud?
By ilka souch or screich o wun
That wauken't Shawburn Wud?
An wha, like him, could read the signs
O rings aboot the muin,
Or tell what for the corbie-craws
Were makin sic a din?
An, straucht aff-luif, could he no say-
An say it to be richt-
At sax o morn what wather-hap
Wad be by sax at nicht?
Ay! guid or bad, or shine or rain,
He'd tell ye withoot fail,
Gin he but saw the weegle-wag
O ony wagtail's tail.
Aweel, aweel! The hairst cam on,
An Dan himsel was fee'd
To stook on Geordie Gibson's ferm
Ower-by at Miltonheid.
The hairst was suin, the crap graun' wecht,
The simmer at its best,
An a'body weel pleased but Dan-
An Dan got sair distress't.
"Within a month," he warned them a',
"The wather 'll brak doon;
I saw the signs yestreen-the muin
Was aiblins aff the roon'.
"An gin the crap's no aff the grun'
In twa weeks' time, or sae,
Ye'll loss the hauf o't, ay, an mair,
An, faith, ye'll rue the day."
Puir Dan! his great prophetic airt
Was heedit no ae grain;
An hale sax weeks an odds gaed by
Withoot a drap o rain.
But no ae day was miss't, ye'll guess,
By lad, or lass, or man,
In castin joke, or sneist, or lauch
At "oor ain prophet, Dan."
He teuk it a' in humour guid,
An even-sae they tell-
He sometimes, whan the fun was lood,
Jined in the lauch himsel.
An lang afore the rain cam on
The crap was safe an soon';
An wi the last sheaf in his haun,
The fermer turn't him roon';
An says, "Noo, lads, that's guid wark duin:
But whaur's oor freen' M'Nee?
What wather's gaun to be the morn?"
Says Dan, "We'll wait an see."
"Ay, ay! that's best; a wyse-like rule,
By whilk wyse folk mey gang,
An lat it rain, or lat it shine,
They canna, then, be wrang.
"Tak that gate, aye, I say, my freen',
An dinna be sae shuir:
Mibbie ye are a prophet's son-
A wee thing less, or mair;
"But mair or less, it's risky wark
To say what's gaun to be,
An, gif ye're wyse, ye'll steek yer gab
As suin's ye've said, 'we'll see.'"

OWER MUCKLE HAME-MADE HONEY; OR, SEL-PRAISE IS NAE PRAISE

It's no guid tae eat muckle honey:
Sae for men to seek oot their ain glory, isna glory.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xxv. 27.

NAE dout it's true; but mony a ane haes tried it,
Like young Jock Shaw,
Wha on his ain bit horn was aye toot-tootlin
Wi unco blaw.
He thocht his neibours didna ken his virtue,
Or, gin they did,
No ane o them said hauf eneuch aboot it-
O whaur he stude.
An sae, whan in their chafts their tongues they steekit,
An wadna tell,
He reckon't that the time haed come for yokin
To dae't himsel.
He did it weel: whatever crack was gangin
Then Jock step't in,
An, wi his michty airs, said, that was naething
To what he'd duin.
They listen't for awee, an teuk his crawin
Wi lugs sae gleg;
An then, oot o his kennin, stertit plannin
To pou Jock's leg.
The next time that they a' foregether't crackin,
Ane cried wi scorn,
"Haud a' yer blethers quait-an hey man, Jockie,
Get oot yer horn;
"An blaw yer toot; ye hear what they've been sayin,
An fine ye can
Eclipse the lot, an leave them staun'in braithless-
Oor Jock's the man!"
He teuk the trap they set; an swalled wi bigness,
An lee't the mair;
Until they lauched, an wi their graun guffawin
Were gettin sair.
At last he saw their trick, an teuk their meanin;
An e'en that nicht
Jock got a lesson, lastin for a life-time,
To haud him richt.
Some twa-three mair, like Jock, wad be the better
(We name nae name)
Gin freen'ly freen's wad gie them a bit yokin,
An dae the same.
They aiblins try to feed themsels on honey:-
The proverb says,
That's guid for nane; an spec'lly should the feedin
Be hame-made praise.
They need sic boastin dustit oot their naitur:
It's aye themsel
That fills the crack; an what they've duin, or daein
They fain wad tell.
They dinna ken hoo wee they are, by tryin
To leuk sae big;
They dinna see that folks, for a' their blawin,
Care no ae fig;
They've this to lairn-nae glory's got by braggin
Themsels to boom;
Ahint their backs, the lave begin guffawin,
An crack their thoom.

CAUMMELL'S ROARIN MEY NO MEAN CAUMMELL'S RIDIN

He disna aye ride whan he saidles his horse.

--Scottish proverb.

O AY! that was Caummell: I heard him gaun on,
As I stappit roon' by the cheek o the smiddy;
Ye needna tell me whas the blatterin tongue,
As lood as Tam's hammer can ring on the studdie.
But ye'll be the fules, gin ye lend him yer lugs,
Or lippen to a' his curmurrin an rantin:
I ken him langsyne-an he disna mean ill:
He disna mean ocht! That's the main thing awantin.
His blawin an crawin soon' graun at the time;
I watna o ane can match Caum'ell at sayin;
But, sirss! ayont that he's a fushionless chiel;
He's naewhaur ava, whan it comes to the daein.
He'll threip doon yer throat hoo he'll serve ye the morn,
An promises gie, as tho splashed frae a laidle;
But that'll be a' - dinna leuk for ocht mair:
He disna aye ride whan he roars for a saidle!
Ye mind o the Weedow M'nicol at Birns:
Her lease was run oot, an she wisna for sittin,
An Caum'ell declared that he'd send her twa cairts,
To gie her a lift to Balgreen wi the flittin.
But, gin she haed waitit for him - save us a'!-
She wadna been shiftit on this side o Ne'ar-Day:
I sent ower the cairts, I mey tell ye, mysel,
An baith o my ploumen, Wull Watt an Jock Bairdie.
An, as I jaloos't, Caummell's never appear't;
Na, na! 'twas eneuch that he'd kleckit aboot it:
An that's jist the man as ye'll catch him the day-
O, lauch to yer likin's-but dinna ye dout it.
He'll fling ye a flaffin o speeches galore;
But swatch ye his actions-they're aye on the daidle;
He disna mean hauf that he skails frae his gab;
He disna aye ride whan he roars for a saidle!

IS'T GLITTER, OR IS'T GOWD?

It's no a' gowd that glitters.

--Scottish proverb.

IT's no a' gowd that glitters:
Wha said it, kent.
The ower-wird's worth some thinkin;
My lad, tak tent.
The hale o life's fornent ye,
Ye're young an bauld;
But, eh! ye'll lairn a hantle
Afore ye're auld.
The warld 'll cram yer noddle-
Unless ye've sense-
Wi uncos, that are naething
Abuin pretence.
But dinna ye be lendin
Yer lug to a',
Hooever fair they blether,
Or lood they blaw.
An never settle aff-haun,
As gleg's can be,
That ilka thing is sic-like
As meets the ee.
It's mibbie no; the leuk o't
Mey hide a cheat,
To whummle ye, next meenit,
Clean aff yer feet.
Trust naething, withoot walin
Wi dentie care;
Mak siccar what ye're daein;
Think twice-an mair!
Howk weel aneth appearance,
An ding richt throu
The tinsel o pretences
To grup the true.
It's no a' richt that seems sae,
An that ye'll fin'
Afore ye're muckle aulder,
Or else ye're blin'.
It's no a' sweet that greets ye
Wi honey-blobs;
There's mony a stang been kent o
Ahint sic jobs.
It's no a' truith that travels
In braid day-licht:
Ye'll gaird yer life by kennin-
Keep that in sicht.
It's no a' guid that's guid-like;
An weel-I-wat!
It's no a' gowd that glitters:
Gang on wi that!

MAUN-DAE

MAUN-DAE - he's a fell fallow.

--Scottish proverb.

MAUN-DAE'S a richt fell fallow;
He'll gie "the jumps";
He's got a preen for proggin
A' lazy stumps.
"Sax" - birls the clock at mornin:
Och, but it's suin!
Cauld tho it be for risin,
Wark maun be duin.
Up-Oot-Awa!-he orders;
Face snaw or rain:
He stauns nae argle-bargle;
Taks "Na" frae nane.
Kicks up an awfu shindy,
Flings roon' the stoor,
Gif ane should diddle-daddle
Ocht yont the hoor.
Time's up! He roars the looder;
Shank it! Be gaun!
Divna ye hear me tellin?
Dae this, ye maun.
Deil tak his dour ill-breedin!
What's a' his fash?
Canna he blaw a pickle
Less o his snash?
That's it! We dinna like him-
Nane o us a'-
Aye stappin doon oor wizzen
Ony sic law.
Lat's tak the easie-osie,
Saft-gangin life,
Dodgin the deeficulties,
Jinkin the strife;
Lat's wale the canny duties,
Slippin the fyke;
Lat's claim the richt o daein
Jist what we like.
What for, oorsel's as maisters,
Shouldna we be?
Eh, man! that's human naitur;
But haud awee:
Think ye, 'twad mak us better?
Noo, tak a thocht:
Michtna we fin' sic freedom
Ower dearly bocht?
Gif there was nae law ower us,
Nae steady grup;
Gif there was nae compulsion
Crackin his whup?
Roarin at sax o mornin,
Settlin oor roon's?
Man, we wad suin be turnin
Saft, thowless loons.
Na, na! We need a maister,
Daurin us weel:
MAUN-DAE'S the rattlin birkie,
MAUN-DAE'S the chiel.
MAUN-DAE'S the richt fell fallow,
He kens the trick;
He'll gar us up an at it-
Dance Peter-Dick!

THE MEDICINE O A CANTIE SPEERIT

A merry hert maks a cheery countenance.
A merry hert is a guid medicine.

--Beuk o Proverbs, xv. 13, xvii. 22.

WE'LL turn't again in guid braid Scotch,
Gin ye'll but lend yer lugs-
A glint o sunshine in the hairt
Is worth a kist o drugs.
Ilk day be doctor to yersel;
Troke nane wi crabbit frumps;
An daur the warld wi blythesome airs,
An briskly jink the dumps.
It's true, there's nane, we ever ken,
Can diddle a' life's cares;
We'll get oor portion wi the lave,
An dree its dunts an sairs;
But dinna lat them soor the mind:
They'll tak a turn or lang;
An keep yer whussle aye tuned up,
An ready for a sang.
The grainin an the gruntin kind,
Wi a' their whillywha,
Are peelie-wairsh an feckless folks
An never fit ava.
But sic as lift a cantie hairt
Abuin the fyke an fash,
An shouther forrit, weel or waur,
Are sonsy chiels, an gash.
It's halesome leevin, sturdy wark,
An guid for ye an me,
To redd the ferlies frae oor feet,
An tramp it blythe an spree.
Sae, airt the sun, an face the shine,
Whaure'er a blink o't shows;
An aftener than we guess, we'll jink
The doctor's bottle-brose.

JENNY WILLOCKS

Ye'll ne'er tine ocht by daein a guid turn.

--Scottish proverb.

NA! ye wadna ken auld Jenny-
Jenny Willocks was her name:
Weel, awa back 'mang the saxties,
There she stey't next-door my hame.
Jenny's biggin was a sma' ane,
Jist a cosie but-an-ben,
Staun'in straucht fornent the play-grun'
O the bairns, at the toon-en'.
But, I'se wad, in a' yer life-time-
An I'm speakin nane ower big-
That ye never passed the door-cheek
O a hoose mair snod an trig.
Jenny's man haed been a bailiff
On the laun's o Corrievent;
An the laird gied her a pension,
An socht naething for her rent.
Sae, her awmries werena scrimpit,
An her wallet wisna lean:
Gin ye crackit wi her neibours,
"Losh!" they said, " the body's bien."
Weel, aweel! I trow maist likely
That they werena far frae richt;
But I've something else to tell ye,
Lass, afore we say Guid-nicht.
Ye'll hae kent, nae dout, a hantle,
Wha haed routh o this warld's gear;
Wha haed gowd come trowin till them
In a humplock ilka year;
Wha haed mair than Jenny Willocks
Ever dream't that she micht see;
Wha haed ten times mair than Jenny
Ever thocht sic walth could be;
But they kent-na hoo to pairt wi't:
Na! they ne'er haed ocht to spare;
An the mair o't that they gruppit
Aye they wantit mair an mair.
Baith their hairt an pooch they steekit
'gainst their nearest neibour's need:
Oot their walth they could gie naething,
For their cauldrife, glaumin greed.
Ay! ye say ye've kent o sic-like:
Sae, I daursay, hae we a';
But, effeirin till auld Jenny,
She was nocht like that ava.
Tho she haedna feck o fortune-
Jist a bittock 'buin the scant-
Baith her pooch an hairt were open,
Gleg ower onything like want:
Gin she heard o ony neibour
On the edge o bein bare,
She was yont afore the gloamin
Wi a something she could spare:
She was there wi tea an sugar;
Wi a hauf-croon to get breid:
"An ye'll tell me," she says kindly,
"Gif there's ocht else ye micht need."
An she made nae sang aboot it:
Ne'er a ane heard Jenny say
Wird o mooth anent the thochtfu,
Couthie actions she wad dae.
But, I'se wadger, they were mony;
Mony blessin's on her name-
Mair than she hersel heard tell o-
Raise frae this an that bit hame.
Dowie hairts, an lives forjeskit
By the trauchle an the sair,
Kent her blythesome, halesome helpin,
An her tentie, loesome care.
Darksome days the wumman brichten't:
Days o lanesomeness an fear
Got the gliff o Jenny's kindness,
Got the blink o Jenny's cheer.
She was "Guid auld Jenny Willocks"
Throu the crack o ane an a':-
Noo it's mony, mony years syne,
Since auld Jenny slipp't awa.
But I mind - Eh, me! my lassie-
I was then a lass mysel,
At the schuil, wi that soor craitur,
Crabbit Dominie Dalzell.
Fegs! we could hae thrawn his thrapple,
Or we could hae clour't his heid:-
But hoot-toot! - I'm aff my story,
An I'm like to loss the threid.
But tak tent! Ae day at play-time,
We haed quat oor playin splore,
An haed airtit ower by Jenny,
At the cheek o Jenny's door.
She was smilin, an the licht o't
Glintit a' athort her face:
"Ye're a hantle o braw lassies,
Ye're a credit to the place.
"An," quo she, "nae dout yer mithers
Think the very same, I ween,
Whan they see the glisk o simmer
Dancin in yer bonnie een.
"An ye've a' yer life foment ye-
A' the comin, unkent years;
A' their uncos o experience;
A' their houps, an a' their fears:
"An I wonner what ye'll mak o't-
Mak o this graun' gift o life?
Wad ye herken till the coonsel
O an auld an thowless wife?
"Jenny kens - I'm mair than auchty-
But I ance was young like ye;
An I wadna be for tellin
Ocht that's onything but true.
"Haud ye yont the straucht-gaun airtins;
Keep yer gangins in the licht;
Swee the thochts, that ye'll be thinkin,
By the pure an by the richt.
"Dinna lippen yersels muckle;
Mak yer tryst wi Him abuin,
An He'll bield ye a' fou brawlie,
Till, like me, yer days are duin.
"Dinna think, as thocht by mony,
That, ower a' thing, gear excels;
Dinna dream that ye'll be happy,
Gin ye leeve to please yersels.
"Leeve for ithers, for yer neibours;
Leeve for kindness, I wad say;
An for ilka bit o service
Oot o love, that ye can dae.
"Leeve to bring a glint o sunshine
Intil hairts whaur it's some scant,
An the glint o that same glorie
In yer ain ye'll never want.
"Tak ye that frae Jenny Willocks:
Set it ben in-by yer hairt:
Gang yer weys, my bonnie lassies:
Leeve a braw, unselfish pairt;
"An ye'll ken the heichest blessin,
For,"-quo she, jist whaur she stude-
"For ye'll never line a bodle
By a turn at daein guid."

HAME

Hame's a hamely wird.

--Scottish proverb.

O, HAME'S a hamely wird:
Ye ken yersel
Hoo, ower the hairt, it flings
A couthie spell;
An waukens winsome thochts,
That never dwine,
Aye keppin glints o love
Frae auld langsyne.
The hame o youth's bricht days
O sunshine spun,
Whaur scowth o life was oors
Wi pranks an fun.
The hame o faither's law,
An mither's smile,
That daur't us, baith alike,
'Gainst wrang an guile.
The fauld that happit weel
Frae gurly cares,
An steekit oot, a blink,
The big warld's sairs.
The bield o happy times-
A memory sweet!
As lang as life hauds up
Oor daunerin feet.

****

Ay, ay! lat's dauner on
Wi blythesome leuk;
We'll meet again aroon'
The ingle-neuk:
Gif nae mair here on earth,
Then there, Abuin,
Whan a' life's darg is ower,
Life's warsle dune.
An in that Hame, whaur cares
Nane ever ken,
We'll hear the hame-ower tryst,
"Come, walcome, ben."
Sae, airt the wey to God:
Trust aye the same.
O, Hame's a hamely word-
We're gangin HAME.