Page images
PDF
EPUB

But to our tale: Aew market night,
Tam had got planted unco right,
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow souter2 Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter;
And ay the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi' favours secret, sweet, and precious;
The souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus;
The storm without might raira and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himself amang the nappy;
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure;
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious.

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow-falls in the river,
A moment white-then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,

That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form

Evanishing amid the storm

Nae man can tether time or tide;

The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

That hour of night's black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he takes the road in,

As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

w One.
z A shoemaker.

x Fire-place.

a Roar.

[ocr errors][merged small]

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling show'rs rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd:
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg
(A better never lifted leg),

Tam skelpite on thro' dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;

Whylesd holding fast his guid blue bonnet
Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whyles glow'ringf round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogless catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Where ghaists and houletsh nightly cry.-
By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman' smoor'd ;*
And past the birks and meikle stane,m
Whare drunken Charlie brak 's neck bane;
And thro' the whins," and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fandp the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.-
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll;
When glimmering thro' the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze;

Thro' ilkar bores the beams were glancing;
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.-
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!

What dangers thou canst make us scorn!

c Galloped.

f Looking.

d Sometimes.
Spirits, hobgoblins.

[ocr errors]

e Humming a tune. h Owls.

i A travelling pedlar. Was smothered.

m A large stone. n Furze.

p Found. 9 Above.

r Every.

7 Birch trees.

A heap of stones.
A hole in the wall.

Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;

Wi' usquabae," we'll face the Devil!-
The swats sae ream'd" in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'd na Deils a bodle.x
But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd,
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
She ventur'd forward on the light;
And, vow! Tam saw an uncoy sight;
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion brent newa frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.

A winnock-bunkerb in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge;
He screw'd the pipes and gartd them skirl,
Till roof an' rafters a' did dirl.f—
Coffins stood round like open presses,
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantrips slight,
Each in its cauld hand held a light,-
By which, heroic Tam was able
To note upon the halyh table,

A murderer's banes in gibbet airns;1
Twa span-lang, wee,k unchristen'd bairns;
A thief, new cutted fra a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' bluid red rusted;
Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife a father's throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o' life beraft,

The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;

[blocks in formation]

Three lawyers' tongues turn'd inside out,
Wi' lies seam'd like a beggar's clout,
And priests' hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinking, vile, in every neuk:
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',

Which ev'n to name wad be unlawfu:

As Tammie glow'r'd," amaz'd, and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
The piper loud and louder blew ;
The dancers quick and quicker flew ;

They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,p

And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark.s

Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans
A' plump and strapping in their teens ;
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen,'
Been snaw-white seventeen-hunder linen ;"
Thirw breeks o' mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair,
I wad hae gi'en them aff my hurdies,*
For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies !!

But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags2 wad speana a foal,
Lowpingb an' flinging on a crummock,c
I wonder did na turn thy stomach.

But Tam kenn'd what was what fu' brawlie,d There was ae winsomee wench and walie,

That night inlisted in the core,

(Lang after kenn'ds on Carrick shore!

For monie a beast to dead she shot,

And perish'd monie a bonnie boat,

p Till every old woman was in a reeking sweat. q Cast off her rags.

# Greasy flannel. u Linen of the finest quality. w These.

n Stared.

o Caught.

r Tripped.

s Shirt.

a To wean.

b Leaping.
d Full well.
g Seen or known.

The loins, &c.

Gallows hags.

One hearty.

y Plural of burd-a damsel.

CA cow with crooked horns.
f Jolly.

And shook baith meikle corn and bear,b
And kept the country-side in fear),
Her cutty-sarki o' Paisley harn,k
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.'
Ah! little kenn'dm thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft" for her wee Nannie,
Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),
Wad ever grac'd a dance o' witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r;
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r;
To sing how Nannie lapp and flang
(A souple jad she was and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,
And thought his very een enrich'd;
Ev'n Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain,"

And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main :
Till first ae caper, synes anither,
Tam tint his reason a' thegither,

And roars out, Weel done, Cutty-sark!"

And in an instant a' was dark:

And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,w

When plundering herds assail their byke ;*
As open pussie's mortal foes,

When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,

When Catch the thief! resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,

Wi' monie an eldritch skreech and hollow.

A Much corn and barley. 7 Proud of it.

p Leaped.

i Short shirt.

h Paisley linen. m Thought, or knew. n Bought. o Two pounds Scotch-3s. 4d. sterling. q Looked on with rapture.

r Manifested a fidgetty kind of joy or pleasure.

Then.

w In a great fuss.

t Lost.

A bee-hive.
z Frightful, ghastly.

u Short shirt.

y A hare.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »