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A ratton rattled up the wa',
An' she cry'd L-d preserve her! An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a', An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night.
They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice;
For some black, grousome carlin; An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke, 'Till skin in blypes came haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlen ;
But och! that night, amang the shaws,
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burnt,
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.
* Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a bear-stack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yokefellow.
You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a south-running spring or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left 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 apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.
Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle;
Unseen that night,
Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool;
Wi' a plunge that night.
In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
In wrath that night.
* Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul water in another, leave the third empty: blindfold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand if, by chance, in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretels, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.
Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks,
An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes,
Their sports were cheap, an' cheary; 'Till butter'd so'ns*, wi' fragrant lunt, Set a' their gabs a-steerin;
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.
THE AULD FARMER'S
NEW-YEAR MORNING SALUTATION
TO HIS AULD MARE MAGGIE,
On giving her the accustomed ripp of corn to hansel in the new year.
A guid new-year I wish thee, Maggie! Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie: Tho' thou's howe-backit, now, an' knaggie, I've seen the day,
Thou could hae gaen like onie staggie
Out-owre the lay.
Tho' now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy,
A bonny gray:
He should been tight that daur't to raize thee,
Thou ance was i' the foremost rank,
A filly buirdly, steeve, an' swank,
An' set weel down a shapely shank,
As e'er tread yird;
* Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween Supper.
An' could hae flown out-owre a stánk,
It's now some nine-an-twenty year, Sin thou was my guid father's meere; He gied me thee, o' tocher clear,
An' fifty mark;
Tho' it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear,
When first I gaed to woo my Jenny,
But hamely, tawie, quiet, an' cannie,
That day, ye pranc'd wi' muckle pride, When ye bure hame my bonny bride: An' sweet and gracefu' she did ride,
Wi' maiden air!
Kyle Stewart I could bragged wide,
For sic a pair.
Tho' new ye dow but hoyte and hoble, An' wintle like a saumont-coble,
That day ye was a jinker noble,
For heels an' win'!
An' ran them till they a' did wauble,
Far, far behin'.
When thou an' I were young an' skeigh, An' stable-meals at fairs were dreigh,
How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skreigh,
An' tak the road!
Town's bodies ran, an' stood abiegh,
An' ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow, We took the road aye like a swallow: At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' speed;
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow,
Whare'er thou gaed.
The sma', droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle; But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle, An' gar't them whaizle.
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O' saugh or hazle.
Thou was a noble fittie-lan',
On guid March-weather,
Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han',
For days thegither.
Thou never braindg't, an' fech't, an' fliskit, But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, An' spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket, Wi' pith and pow'r,
"Till spritty knows wad rair't and risket, An' slypet owre.
When frosts lay lang, an' snaws were deep, An' threaten'd labour back to keep,
I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap
Aboon the timmer;
I ken'd my Maggie wad na sleep
For that, or simmer.
In cart or car thou never reestit;
But just thy step a wee thing hastit,
Thou snoov't awa.
My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a'; Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw; Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa,
That thou hast murst