Page images
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Ilk hoary hunter mourn'd a brither ; Ilk sportsman youth bemoan'd a father ; Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,

Marks out his head, Whare Burns has wrote, in rhyming blether

Tam Samson's dead !

There low he lies, in lasting rest; Perhaps upon his mouldering breast Some spitefu’muirfowl bigs her nest,

To hatch an' breed ; Alas! nae mair he'll them molest!

Tam Samson's dead !

When August winds the heather wave, And sportsmen wander by yon grave, Three volleys let his memory crave,

O'pouther an'lead, Till echo answer frac her cave,

Tam Samson's dead !

When winter muffles up his cloak, And binds the mire like a rock ; When to the loughs the curlers flock,

Wi' gleesome speed, Wha will they station at the cock ?

Tam Samson's dead ! He was the king o'a' the core, To guard, or draw, or wick a bore, Or up the rink like Jehu roar

In time of need; But now he lags on death's hog-score,

Tam Samson's dead! Now safe the stately sawmont sail, And trouts bedropp'd wi'crimson hail, And eels weel kennd for souple tail,

And geds for greed, Since dark in death's fish-creel we wail

Tam Samson dead!
Rejoice, ye birring paitricks a';
Ye cootie moorcocks, crousely craw;
Ye maukins, cock your fud fu’ braw,

Withouten dread;
Your mortal fae is now awa',

Tam Samson's dead ! That woefu’ morn be ever mourn'd, Saw him in shootin graith adorn’d, While pointers round impatient burn'd,

Frae couples freed; But, och! he gaed and ne'er return'd!

Tam Samson's dead !

Heaven rest his saul, whare'er he be ! Is th' wish o' monie mae than me; He had twa faults, or may be three,

Yet what remead? Ae social, honest man want we :

Tam Samson's dead !


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.


* When this worthy old sportsman went out last muir1w) 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.

ta certain preacher, a great favourite with the million. Tide the Ordination, stanza ii.

• Another preacher, an equal favourite with the few, who was at that time ailing. For him, see also the OrdiDati a, stanza ix.

Go, fame, and canter like a filly, Through a' the streets an’ neuks o’ Killie,* Tell every social, honest billie

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

Tam Samson's livin.

* Killie is a phrase the country folks sometimes use for Kilmarnock.


Then first and foremost, through the kail,

Their stocks* maun a' be sought ance ; The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough They steek their e'en, an'graip an’ wale, understood ; but for the sake of those who are unac

For muckle anes an' straught anes. quainted with the manners and traditions of the country

Poor hav'rel Will fell afl the drift, where the scene is cast, notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night,

An' wander'd through the bow-kail, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of An pow't for want o’ better shift, Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a A runt was like a sow-tail, striking part of the history of human nature in its rude

Sae bow't that night. state, in all ages and nations: and it may be some en. tertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such should

V. honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,

They roar and cry a' throu'ther

The vera wee things, todlin, rin,
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,

Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther;
The simple pleasures of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,

An' gif the custoc's sweet or sour,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art

Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
GOLDSMITH Syne coziely, aboon the door,

Wi' cannie care they place them

To lie that night.
UPON that night, when fairies light,

On Cassilis Downanst dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a',
On sprightly coursers prance;

To pou their stalks o' corn it
Or for Colean the route is ta’en,

But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;

Behint the muckle thorn :
There, up the cove, to stray an' rove

lle grippet Nelly hard an' fast;
Amang the rocks and streams,

Loud skirl'd a' the lasses ;
To sport that night.

But her tap-pickle maist was lost,

When kiuttlin in the fause-house

Wi’ him that night.
Amang the bonnic winding banks,

Where Doon rins, wimpling clear,
Where Bruceş ance ruled the martial ranks,

The auld guidwife's weel hoordet nits
An' shook his Carrick spear,

Are round an' round divided,
Some merry, friendly countra folks,

An' monie lads' an' lasses' fates
Together did convene,

Are there that night decided :
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,

Some kindle, couthie, side by side
An' haud their Halloween

An'burn thegither trimly ;
Fu' blythe that night.

* The first ceremony of Halloween is, pulling each a III.

stock, or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,

with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with: its being

big or lille, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and Mair braw than when they're fine;

shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,

or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is Hearts leal, an’ warm, an' kin':

tocher, or fortune; and the laste of the custoc, that is, the The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,

heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural iemper and Weel knotted on their garten,

disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their

ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs,

above the head of the door: and the Christian names of Gar lasses hearts gang startin

the people whom chance brings into the house, are, accord. Whyles fast at night. ing to the priority of placing the runts, the names in


+ They go to the barn-yard and pull each, at three seve* Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and ral times, a stalk of oals. If the third stalk wants the other mischief-making beings, are all abroad on their top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the baneful, midnight errands; particularly those aërial | party in question will come to the marriage bed any thing people the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand but a maid. anniversary.

# When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too + Certain lille, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the green, or wel, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cas. &c., makes a large apartinent in his stack, with an opensilis

ing in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind: this I A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove he calls a fause-house. of Colean: which, as Cassilis Downans, is famed in § Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies. lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in

§ The famous family of that name, the ancestors of the fire, and accordingly as they burn quietly together, Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of or start from beside one another, the course and issue of Carrick.

the courtship will be.

Some start awa wi'saucie pride,

And jump out-owre the chimlie

Wee Jenny to her grannie says,
Fu’ high that night.

“Will ye go wi' me, grannie?

I'll eat the apple* at the glass,

I gat frae uncle Johnie ;"
Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;

She fuff’t her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
Wha 'twas she wadna tell;

In wrath she was sae vap'rin,
But this is Jock, an' this is me,

She noticed na, an azle brunt
She says in to hersel:

Her braw new worset apron
He bleezed owre ber, an' she owre him,

Out through that night.
As they wad never mair part;
Till fuff! he started up the lum,

And Jean had e'en a sair heart

“ Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
To see't that night.

How daur you try sic sportin,

As seek the foul thief ony place,

For him to spae your fortune ?
Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,

Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie ;

Great cause ye hae to fear it;
An' Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,

For monie a ane has gotten a fright,
To be compared to Willie :

An' lived an' died de
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fing,

On sic a night.
An' her ain fit it burnt it ;

While Willie lap, and swoor by jing,

“ Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,
'Twas just the way he wanted

I mind't as weel' yestreen,
To be that night.

I was a gilpey then, I'm sure

I was na past fyfteen :

The simmer had been cauld an' wat,
Nell had the fause-house in her min',

An' stuff was unco green;
She pits hersel an' Rob in ;

An'aye a rantin kirn we gat,
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,

An'just on Halloween
Till white in ase they're sobbin:

It fell that night.
Nell's heart was dancin at the view,

She whisper'd Rob to look fort:

“Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen, Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonnie mou,

A clever, sturdy fallow;
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

He's sin got Eppie Sim wi' wean,

That lived in Achmacalla :

He gat hemp-seed,+ I mind it weel,

An' he made unco light o't;
But Merran sat behint their backs,

But monie a day was by himsel,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;

He was sae sairly frighted
She lea'es them gashin at their cracks,

That vera night.”
And slips out by hersel :
She through the yard the nearest taks,

An' to the kiln she goes then,

Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck,
An' darklins grapit for the bauks,

An'he swoor by his conscience,
And in the blue-clue* throws then,

That he could saw hemp-seed a peck ;
Right fear't that night.

For it was a' but nonsense ;

The auld guidman raught down the pock, XII.

An'out a handful gied him;
An'aye she wint, an'aye she swat,

Syne bad him slip frae 'mang the folk,
I wat she made nae jaukin;

Sometimes when nae ane seed him :
Till something held within the pat,

An' try't that night.
Guid 1-d! but she was quakin!

* Take a candle, and go alone to a looking-glass; eat But whether 'twas the deil himsel,

an apple before it, and some traditions say, you should Or whether 'twas a bauken,

comb your hair, all the time; the face of your conjugal Or whether it was Andrew Bell,

companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping She did na wait on talkin

over your shoulder. To spier that night.

† Steal out unperceived, and sow a handful of hempseed; harrowing it with any thing you can conveniently

draw after you. Repeat now and then, “Hemp-seed, I * Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee.” Look the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot a clue of blue over your left shoulder, and you will see the appearance yarn; wind it in a new clue of the old one; and, towards of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. the later end, something will hold the thread; demand Some traditions say, "come after me, and shaw thee," sha hauls ? i. e. who holds ? an answer will be returned that is, show thyself: in which case it simply appears from the kiln-poi, by naming the Christian and surname Others omit the harrowing, and say, "come aster me, and of your future spouse.

harrow thee."




He marches through amang the stacks,

They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice :
Though he was something sturtin ;

They hecht him some fine braw ane;
The graip he for a harrow taks,

It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice,*
An' haurls at his curpin :

Was timmer propt for thrawin:
An' every now an' then he says,

He taks a swirlie, auld moss-oak, “ Hemp-seed, I saw thee,

For some black, grousome carlin ;
An' her that is to be my lass,

An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
Come after me and draw thee,

Till skin in blypes came haurlin
As fast this night.”

All's nieves that night.

He whistled up Lord Lenox' march

A wanton widow Leezie was,
To keep his courage cheerie ;

As canty as a kittlen;
Although his hair began to arch,

But och! that night, amang the shaws,
He was sae fley'd an eerie :

She got a fearfu' settlin!
Till presently he hears a squeak,

She through the whins, an' by the cairn,
An' then a grane an' gruntle ;

An’owre the hill gaed scrievin,
He by his shouther gae a keek,

Whare three lairds' lands met at a burnt
An' tumbled wi' a wintle

To dip her left sark sleeve in,
Out-owre that night.

Was bent that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
In dreadfu' desperation !

As through the glen it wimplet:
young an' auld came rinnin out,

Whyles round a rocky scar it strays;
To hear the sad narration :

Whyles in a wiel it dimplet;
He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,

Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Or crouchie Morran Humphie,

Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle ;
Till stop ! she trotted through them a';

Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
An' wha was it but Grumphie

Below the spreading hazel,
Asteer that night!

Unseen that night.

Meg fain wad to the barn gaen,

Amang the brachens, on the brae,
To win three wechts o’naething ;*

Between her an' the moon,

The deil, or else an outler quey,
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in :

Gat up an' gae a croon:
She gies the herd a pickle nits,

Poor Leezie's heart mais lap the hool;
An’twa red cheekit apples,

Ncer lav'rock height she jumpit,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,

But mist a fit, an' in the pool
In hopes to see Tam Kipples

Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
That vera night.

Wi'a plunge that night.

She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
An' owre the threshold ventures ;

The luggies threef are ranged,
But first on Sawnie gies a ca',
Syne bauldly in she enters;

* Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a Bear

stack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom A ratton rattled up the wa',

of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearAn’ she cried L-d preserve her,

ance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow. An' ran through midden-hole an'a',

+ You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to An' pray'd wi' zeal an' fervour,

a south running spring or rivulet, where "three lairds' Fu’fast that night.

lands meet," and dip your lest shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to

dry. Lie awake; and some time near midnight, an appa* This charm must likewise be performed unperceived, rition, having the exact figure of the grand object in quesand alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, tion, will come and turn the sleeve, as is to dry the other taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger | side of it. that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors, and + Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used water in another, leave the third empty: blindfld a in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are we call a wecht ; and go through all the attitules of letting ranged: he (or she) dips the left hand: if by chance in down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, the bar of matrimony a maid ; if in the soul, a widow; if in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marriage at all. It is repented three times, and every marking the employment or station in life.

time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »