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'Till coward death behind him jumpit,
Now he proclaims, wi' tout o' trumpet,
When at his heart he felt the dagger, He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger, But yet he drew the mortal trigger
Wi' weel-aim'd heed;
"L-d, five !" he ery'd, an' owre did stagger; Tam Samson's dead!
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 mould'ring 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 vollies let his mem❜ry crave
O' pouther an' lead,
'Till echo answer frae her cave,
Tam Samson's dead!
Heav'n rest his saul, whare'er he be!
Yet what remead?
Ae social, honest man want we:
Tam Samson's dead!
Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies,
Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie
To cease his grievin,
For yet, unskaith'd by death's gleg gullie,
The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but, for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human na. ture 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.
Killie is a phrase the country-folks sometimes use for Kilmarnock.
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
Upon that night, when fairies light,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
To sport that night.
Amang the bonnie, winding banks,
*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 might, to hold a grand anniversary.
Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the earls of Cassilis.
A noted cavern near Colean-house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as Casilis Dowans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies.
The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were earls of Carrick.
Some merry, friendly, countra folks,
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
Fu' blythe that night.
The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine; Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe, Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin': The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs, Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs, Gar lasses' hearts gang startin
Whiles fast at night.
Then first and foremost, thro' the kail,
An' wander'd thro' the bow-kail,
Sae bow't that night.
*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 custoc, 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 housé, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question.
Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar an' ery a' throu❜ther;
The vera wee things, todlin, rin
Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther;
Wi cannie care, they've plac'd them
To lie that night
The lasses staw frae 'mang them a'
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kiutlin in the fause-houset
Wi' him that night.
The auld guidwife's weel hoordet nitst
Are round an' round divided,
An' monie lads' and lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
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.
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. They
Burning the nuts is a famous charm. 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: