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[The following Poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, Noles are added, to give some account of the principa. charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state in all ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such should honour the Author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.]
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasures of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.-Goldsmith. UPON that night, when fairies light On Cassilis Downans' dance, Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze, On sprightly coursers prance; Or for Colean the rout is taen, Beneath the moon's pale beams; There up the Cove," to stray an' rove Amang the rocks an' streams,
To sport that night.
Amang the bonnie winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin',w clear,
Where Bruce ance rul'd the martial ranks
Some merry, friendly, countra folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou2 their stocks,
An' haud their Halloween
Fu' blythe that night.
s Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings, are all abroad on their baneful, midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary.
t Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the earls of Cassilis.
u A noted cavern near Colean-house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies. w Meandering.
2 The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were earls of Carrick.
z Pull, or pluck.
The lasses feat,a an' cleanly neat,
Whyles fast that night.
Then first and foremost, thro' the kail,
An' wander'd thro' the bow-kail,°
Sae bow't that night.
Then straught or crooked, yirds or nane,
a Nice, trim.
e Loyal, true, faithful.
Discover, or shew themselves.
e Spruce, neat. The garter knotted below the knee with a couple of loops. h To talk boldly.
g Very bashful.
i The first ceremony of Halloween is, pulling each a stock, or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with. Its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and the taste of the custock, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority o placing the runts, the names in question.
Shut their eyes. Grope and choose, or pick. m For large and straight ones. n A half-witted talkative person. o Cabbages.
9 Stem of cabbage, or colewort.
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour,
Wi' cannie care, they 've placed them
The lasses stawb frae 'mang them a'
The auld guidwife's' weel hoordet nits
An' monie lads' an' lasses' fates
Some start awa' wi' saucy pride,
y The stalk of the kail, or colewort.
z A kind of knife. c They go to the barn-yard and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed any thing but a maid.
d To turn a corner.
Supposed to have allusion to something of which ladies are said to be very careful. g Cuddling.
h When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green, or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c. makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind; this he calls a fause-house. k Hoarded.
i Mistress of the house.
Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire, and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.
Jean slips in twa wi' tentie e'e;"
He bleez'd owre her an' she owre him,
As they wad ne'er mair part!
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart
Poor Willie wi' his bow-kail-runt,r
While Willie lap an' swoor by jing,
Nell had the fause-housey in her min'
Unseen that night.
But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell; She lea'es them gashin's at their cracks, And slips out by hersel':
n With watchful eye.
p With a puff, or bounce. r Cabbage-stalk.
o Would not.
The chimney. t Demure.
u Pet, crabbed humour.
False-house; see a foregoing note.
Tasted, or kissed.
d Mouth, of lips. g Talking.
She thro' the yard the nearest taks
An' ay she win't," an ay she swat,"
To spier that night.
Wee Jenny to her graunie says,
'Ye little skelpie limmer's face!
h Groped in the dark.
7 Frighted. Dallying, trifling. r To inquire.
k Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the pot a clue of blue-yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread; demand, Wha hauds! i. e. Who holds An answer will be returned from the kiln pot, by naming the christian and surname of your future spouse. m Wound, did wind. n Did sweat. p Pot. q The end of a beam. Take a candle, and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say, you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjugal companion to be will be seer in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder. Puffed out the smoke. A column of smoke. A hot cinder. y Worsted. z A technical term in female scolding.