Page images
[ocr errors]

THE WYFE OF AUCHTERMUCHTIE. And priend als meikle in hir lap

Micht serve thrie honest men at nune. [This poem (as Lord Hailes remarks)

6 is ** a favourite among the Scots.” It af. Says-Jok, will thou be maister of wark, fords a very good specimen of the native

And thou sall haud, and I sall kall; and rustic humour with which our grave I'se promise thé ane gude new sark, forefathers loved to relax the usual austerity Outhir of round claith or of small. of their deportment. It has been well pre- Scho lowsit the oxin aught or nine, served both by writing and tradition. In And hynt ane gad-staff in hir hand : Fife and some other parts of the country, it Vp the gudeman raise aftir syne, is still current as a popular ballad ; and it And saw the wyf had done command. has been twice edited from the Bannatyne

7 MS., first by Allan Ramsay in his ever

He cawd the gaizlines furth to feid, green, and afterwards by Lord Hailes. The

Thair wes bot sevensum of them all; former published it, according to his usual

And by thair cumis the greedie gled, practice, with additions and alterations of And cleiket vp fyve, left him bot twa : his own; the latter adhered correctly to his

Than out he ran in all his mane, original. The present edition is taken from

Sune as he hard the gaizles cry; the same Ms. but collated with another, Bot than, or he came in againe, and apparently, an older copy, in the Ad.

The calfes brak luse and soukit the ky. vocates' Library, from which several altera.

8 tions, and the whole of the 11th stanza, The calfes and ky met in the lone, have been supplied. ]

The man ran with ane rung to red;

Than thair comes ane ill-willie kov 1

And brodit his buttok quhill that it bled, IN Auchtermuchtie thair wond ane man, Than up he tuik ane rok of tow, A rach husband, as I hard tauld,

And he satt down to sey the spinning; Quha weill could tippill out a can,

I traw he loutit owre neir the lowe; And naither luvit hungir nor cauld : Quo he, this wark hes an ill beginning. Quhill ance it fell upon a day,

9 He yokkit his pleuch vpon the plaine ; Then to the kirn he next did stoure, Gif it be true, as I heard say,

And jumlit at it quhill he swat : The day was foull for wind and raine. Quhen he had rumblit a full lang hour, 2

The sorrow scrap of butter he gatt. He lousit the pleuch at the landis end,

Albeit na butter he could gett, And draife his oxin hame at evin ;

Yet he wes cummerit with the kirne; Quhen he cam in he lukit ben,

And syne he het the milk owre het, And saw the wif baith dry and clene

And sorrow a drap of it wald yirne.

10 Sittand at ane fyre beik and bauld, With ane fat sowp, as I hard say:

Then ben thair cam ane greidie sow, The man being verry weit and cauld, I trow he kund hir littil thank, Betwein thay twa it was na play.

For in scho schot hir ill-fard mow, 3

And ay scho winkit and ay scho drank.

He cleikit vp ane crukit club, Quoth he, Quhair is my horsis corne ?

And thocht to hit her on the snout ;
My ox hes naithir hay nor stray;

The twa gaizlines the glaidis had left,
Dame, ye maun to the pleuch the morn,
I sall be hussy, gif I may.

That straik dang baith their harnis out.

11 Gudeman, quoth scho, content am I

He set his foot


the To take the pleuch my day about,

spyre, Sa ye will rewll baith calvis and ky,

To have gotten the fleshe doun to the pat,

Bot he fell backward into the fyre, And all the house baith in and out.

And clourd his croun on the keming stock. 4

He hang the meikle pat on the cruik,
But sen that ye will hussyskep ken, And with twa canns ran to the spout,
First ye maun sift and syne maun kned ; Or he wan back againe (alaik)
And ay as ye gang but and ben,

The fyre burnt all the boddom out.
Luk that the bairnis fyle not the bed ;

12 And ay as ye gang furth and in,

Than he laid kindling to the kill, Keip weill the gaizlines fra the gled;

Bot scho start all vp in ane low; And lay ane saft wysp to the kill ;

Quhat evir he heard, quhat evir he saw, We haif ane deir ferme on our heid.

That day he had na will to wow.

Than he gaid to take vp the bairnis, The wyfe shco sat vp late at evin,

Thocht to have fund thame fair and clene; (I pray God gif hir evill to fare),

The first that he gat in his armis Scho kirnd the kirne, and skumd it clene, Was all bedirtin to the eyne. And left the gudeman but the bledoch baire :

13 Than in the morning vp scho gat,

The first that he gat in his armia, And on hir hairt laid hir disjune.

It was all dirt up to the eyne ;

Than up

The de'il cut aff thair hands, quo he, we less surprised to finde them so That filld yow all sa fou yestrein.

peaceable and submissive. At Stirling He traillit the foull sheetis down the gait, and about it, our Highlanders were Thocht to haif wascht thame on ane stane ; somewhat disorderly

, in their quarters, The burne was risin grit of spait, Away fra him the sheetis hes tane.

particularly by raising fire in two or 14

three places. Vpon our way hither

such of them as went with us took he gat on ane know head, On the gudewyfe to cry and schout;

their free quarters liberally ; and the Scho hard him as she hard him nocht,

rest who took another way to KilpaBut stoutlie steird the stottis about.

trick, have been yet ruder in killing Scho draif the day unto the nicht,

sheep and other cattel, and also in robScho lowsit the pleuch and syne cam hame; ing any loose thing they found in their Scho fand all wrang that sould bene richt,

way. We are now all quartered in I trow the man thocht richt grit schame. and about this town, the Highlanders

15 Quoth he, My office I forsaik,

only ip free quarters. It would be For all the dayis of my lyfe ;

truely a pleasant sight, were it at an For I wald put ane house to wraik

ordinary weaponshaw, to see this HighGin I war twentie dayis gudewyfe,

land crew.

You know the fashion of Quoth scho, Weill mot ye bruke your place, their wild apparel, not one of ten of For trewlie I sall neir accept it;

them had breaches, yet hose and shoes Quoth he, Feind fall tha lyaris face, are their greatest need and most clever Bot yit ye may be blyth to gett it.

prey, and they spare not to take them 16

every where: În so much that the Than up scho gat ane meikle rung,

committee here, and the councel with And the gudeman maid to the doir; Quoth he, Deme, I sall hald my tung,

you (as it is said) have ordered some For an we fecht I'll gett the waur.

thousands of pairs of shoes to be made Quoth he, quhan I forsuik my pleuch,

to stanch this great spoil. As for their I trow I bot forsuik my seill,

armes and other militaire accoutreSa I will to my pleuch agane,

ments, it is not possible for me to deFor this house and I will nevir do weill. scribe them in writing; here you may

see head pieces and steel-bonnets raisACCOUNT OF THE HIGHLAND HOST. ed like pyramides, and such as a man [In the beginning of the year 1678, (about chamber boxes ; targets and shields of

would affirme, they had only found in eighteen months before the breaking out of the most odde and anticque forme, and the memorable insurrection which led to the battles of Drumclog and Bothwelle pouder hornes hung in strings, garBridge), ten thousand Highlanders were

nished with beaten nails and plates of brought down from their mountains and burnished brass. And truely I doubt quartered upon the Western Counties, for not but a man, curious in our antiquithe purpose of suppressing the field meet- ties, might in this host finde explicaings and conventicles of the presbyterians. tions of the strange pieces of armour This Highland Host, as it was called, af.

mentioned in our old lawes, such as ter committing many disorders, and, eating up the disaffected, was ordered home bosnet, iron-hat, gorget, pesane, wamagain by the government—the undisciplin. brassers and reerbrassers, panns, leged Gael being found too ignorant and rapa- splents, and the like, above what any cious to observe on all occasions the proper occasion in the lowlands would have distinction between the loyal and • lovable' afforded for several hundreds of yeers. supporters of prelacy, and the contumacious Among their ensigns also, beside and uncourtly covenanters. The following other singularities, the Glencow men account is extracted from the Woodrow MSS. in the Advocates' Library : It ap- their ensigne a faire bush of heath,

were very remarkable, who had for pears to have been written by an eye-witness, wel spred and displayed on the head of but has no signature.

a staff, such as might have affrighted a

Roman eagle. But, sir, the pleasant“ A Copie of a Letter from the Host

ness of this shew is indeed sadly mixabout Glasgow.

ed and marred; for this unhallowed, We arrived here about 8 or 9 dayes and many of them unchristened, rabagoe: At our first coming we observ- ble, beside their free quarters, wherein ed that the countrey had been much they kill and destroy bestial at their terrified with the report of it, and pleasure, without regaird to the com. therefore had carried and conveyed mands of some of their discreeter offaway much of their goods ; nor were cers, rob all that comes to hand, whi.

[merged small][ocr errors]

ther in houses or in the highwayes; so said to be but whips, wherewith this that no man maye passe saifly from country is scourged, in respect of the house to house; and their insolencie in scorpions intended for Ayrshire ; and the houses where they are quartered some of the committee being spoke to fills poor women and children with about the abuse of free quarters, said, terror, and both men and women with that the quarters now taken were but great vexation. They make also ex- transient quarters, but after the returns cursions in tens and twelves upon other made about the Band, there would be places, and specially under cloud of destructive quarters ordered against its night, and break into houses with refuisers. Ỹet I would not have you bended pistols and naked swords, curs- think that all those Highlanders being and swearing that they shall burne have after the same manner. No, there and kill if all be not readily given that is a difference both among the men they demand. I hear not yet of any and leaders. And the M. of Athol's killed by them, but severals are grieve men are generally commended both as ously wounded and beaten ; and in the best appointed and best behaved. effect, the poor people's lives, goods, Neither do I hear of any great hurt and chastities, are exposed to the cruel- as yet done by the E. of Murray's ty of these strange locusts. Many of men in Cathcart parish : but all of the countrey people have left and aban- them take free quarters, and that at doned their houses and all to their their own discretion.

The standing mercy The other day I heard, that, forces have hitherto carried pretty reat the burying of a child, the burial gularly, and appear very ready on all company was assaulted by some of these occasions to restraine and correct the ruffians ; and, after a great scuffle, Highlanders' insolencies, of which I the mortcloth was robbed off the cof. could give you several instances; but fine, and that notwithstanding all that when these men, who were lately this their officers could do to hinder or re- people's only persecutors, are now comcover it. They tell me also, that some mended by them for sobrietie, and in of these savages, not knowing what the effect are looked on by many of them coffine meaned, as being a thing with as their guardians and protectors, you them not usual, would have broken it may easily judge what is the others' open and searched it, if not restrained deportment. Feb. 1, 1678. by their neighbours. In some places (Woodrow MSS. 4to. vol. xcix. 29.) they beginne to exact money over and above their victuals, and also to make the people pay for dry quarters (that is, for men that they have not), and for From A Mock Poem upon the Expeassistant quarters (that is, where they

dition of the Highland Host; by COL.

CLELAND. Edit. 1697. contract and make the places they leave free pay

in money, and yet the places When this was done their ranks were broken; that they lye upon do really maintain

Some ran for dring their drought to slocken: all.) I am furder told, that evil com- Some were chasing hens and cocks, pany is like to corrupt good manners; Some were loosing horse from yocks; and that even many of the militia Some with snapwarks, some with bowes, forces and Perthshire gentlemen be- Were charging reers of toops and ewes ; ginne to take free quarters. But it is Their stomacks so on edge were set, like that a little more time with our

T'hat all was fish came in the nett; march westward will furnish much Trumpets sounded, skeens were glanceing, more matter of this kind; for the Some cryed, here to her Laird and Lady,

Some were Tonald Cowper danceing : marches are indeed the sorest and most

Some to her mother and her daddie, afflicting to the poor people, seeing And Sir King too_if the Laird please that partly for the service, partly un- Then up with plaids der pretence thereof, horses are forced, Some were stealing, some were riveing, and many of them not restorad ; as Some were wives and lasses grieving : likewise there is little order kept in the Some for cold did chack and chatter ; march, but they run out and spread Some from plaids were wringing water :

Yea to be short, moe different postures, themselves over the countrey and catch all that they can lay hold upon; for in

Than's sewed on hangings, beds, and bol. these occasions, whatever thing they Moe various actings modes and stances, can get is clear prey, without any fear Than's read in Poems or Romances.

And yet all these are


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

stures :

of recovery.






All nature sinks opprest,

And labour shuts his weary eye
A Reverie.

In the mid-day hour of rest.
SWEET Village ! on thy pastoral hill

Yet let the soul think what it will, Arrayed in sunlight sad and still,

Most dirge-like mourns that moorland rill! As if beneath the harvest-moon,

How different once its flow ! Thy noiseless homes were sleeping !

When with a dreamy motion gliding It is the merry month of June,

Mid its green fields in love abiding, And creatures all of air and earth

Or leaping o'er the mossy linn, Should now their holiday of mirth

And sporting with its own wild din,
With dance and song be keeping.

Seemed water changed to snow.
But, loveliest Village ! silent Thou, Beauty lies spread before my sight,
As cloud wreathed o'er the Morning's brow, But grief-like shadows dim its light,

And all the scene appears
When light is faintly breaking,
And Midnight's voice afar is lost,

Like a church-yard when a friend is dying, Like the wailing of a wearied ghost,

In more than earthly stillness lying, The shades of earth forsaking.

And glimmering through our tears! 'Tis not the Day to Scotia dear,

Sweet Woodburn ! like a cloud that name A summer Sabbath mild and clear !

Comes floating o'er my soul !
Yet from her solemn burial-ground Although thy beauty still survive,
The small Kirk-Steeple looks around,

One look hath changed the whole.
Enshrouded in a calm

The gayest village of the gay Profound as fills the house of prayer,

Beside thy own sweet river, E'er from the band of virgins fair

Wert Thou on Week or Sabbath day ! Is breathed the choral psalm.

So bathed in the blue light of joy, A sight so steeped in perfect rest

As if no trouble could destroy

Peace doomed to last for ever.
Is slumbering not on nature's breast
In the smiles of earthly day!

Now in the shadow of thy trees, 'Tis a picture floating down the sky,

On a green plat, sacred to thy breeze, By fancy framed in years gone by,

The fell Plague-Spirit grimly lies And mellowing in decay !

And broods,

as in despite That thought is gone!- the Village still Of uncomplaining lifelessness, With deepening quiet crowns the hill,

On the troops of silent shades that press Its low green roofs are there !

Into the church-yard's cold recess,
In soft material beauty beaming,

From that region of delight.
As in the silent hour of dreaming
They hung embowered in air !

Last summer, from the school-house door,

When the glad play-bell was singing, Is this the Day when to the mountains What shoals of bright-haired elves would The happy shepherds go,

pour, And bathe in sparkling pools and fountains Like small waves racing on the shore, Their flocks made white as snow ?

In dance of rapture singing ! Hath gentle girl and gamesome boy, Oft by yon little silver well, With meek-eyed mirth or shouting joy, Now sleeping in neglected cell, Gone tripping up the brae ?

The village-maid would stand,
Till far behind their town doth stand, While resting on the mossy bank,
Like an image in sweet Fairy Land, With freshened soul the traveller drank
When the Elves have flown away!

The cold cup from her hand ;
O sure if aught of human breath Haply some soldier from the war,
Within these walls remain,

Who would remember long and far
Thus deepening in the hush of death, That Lily of the Land.
'Tis but some melancholy crone,

And still the green is bright with flowers, Who sits with solemn eyes

And dancing through the sunny hours, Beside the cradle all alone,

like blossoms from enchanted bowers And lulls the infant with a strain

On a sudden wafted by, Of Scotia's ancient melodies.

Obedient to the changeful air,

And proudly feeling they are fair, What if these homes be filled with life? Glide bird and butterfly. 'Tis the sultry month of June,

But where is the tiny hunter-rout And when the cloudless sun rides high That revelled on with dance and shout Above the glittering air of noon,

Against their airy prey ?


Alas! the fearless linnet sings,

As o'er the dewy turf of Morn,
And the bright insect folds its wings Where the virgin, like a woodland Fa
Upon the dewy flower that springs On wings of joy was borne.
Above these children's clay.

Even now a soft and silvery haze
And if to yon deserted well

Hill Villagewo. Treeneis steeping Some solitary maid,

In the loveliness of happier days, As she was wont at eve, should go

Ere rose the voice of weeping!
There silent as her shade

When incense-fires from every hearth
She stands a while_then sad and slow To heaven stole beautiful from earth.
Walks home, afraid to think
Of many a loudly-laughing ring

Sweet Spire! that crown'st the house of God!
That dipped their pitchers in that spring, To thee my spirit turns,
And lingered round its brink.

While through a cloud the softened light

On thy yellow dial burns. On-on-through woful images

Ah, me! my bosom inly bleeds
My spirit holds her way!

To see the deep-worn path that leads
Death in each drooping flower she sees : Unto that open gate !
And oft the momentary breeze

In silent blackness it doth tell
Is singing of decay.

How oft thy little sullen bell So high upon the slender bough

Hath o'er the village toll'd its knell,
Why hangs the crow her nest ?

In beauty desolate.
All undisturbed her young have lain Oft, wandering by myself at night,
This spring-time in their nest;

Such spire hath risen in softened light
Nor as they flew on tender wing

Before my gladdened eyes, E’er fear'd the cross-bow or the sling. And as I looked around to see Tame as the purpling turtle-dove,

The village sleeping quietly That walks serene in human love,

Beneath the quiet skies, The magpie hops from door to door ; Methought that mid her stars so bright, And the hare, not fearing to be seen, The moon in placid mirth, Doth gambol on the village green

Was not in heaven a holier sight
As on the lonely moor.

Than God's house on the earth.
The few sheep wandering by the brook Sweet image! transient in my soul !
Have all a dim neglected look,

That very bell hath ceased to toll
Oft bleating in their dumb distress When the grave receives its dead
On her their sweet dead shepherdess. And the last time it slowly swung,
The horses pasturing through the range 'Twas by a dying stripling rung
Of gateless fields, all common now, O'er the sexton's hoary head !
Free from the yoke enjoy the change, All silent now from cot or hall
To them a long long Sabbath-sleep! Comes forth the sable funeral !
Then gathering in one thunderous band, The Pastor is not there!
Across the wild they sweep,

For yon sweet Manse now empty stands,
Tossing the long hair from their eyes Nor in its walls will holier hands
Till far the living whirlwind flies

Be e'er held up in prayer. As o'er the desart sand.

From human let their course is free
No lonely angler down the lea
Invites the zephyr's breath
And the beggar far away doth roam,

Preferring in his hovel-home
His penury to death.

EARTH's loveliest land I behold in my On that green hedge a scattered row

dreams, Now weather-stained once white as snow- All gay in the summer, and drest in sun. Of garments that have long been spread,

beams And now belong unto the dead,

In the radiance which breaks on the purified Shroud-like proclaim to every eye, “ This is no place for Charity!"

Of the thin-bodied ghosts that are flitting

from hence. O blest are ye ! unthinking creatures ! The blue distant Alps, and the blue distant Rejoicing in your lowly natures

main, Ye dance round human tombs!

Bound the far varied harvests of Lombardy's Where gladlier sings the mountain lark

plain : Than o'er the church-yard dim and dark ! The rivers are winding in blue gleaming Or where, than on the churchyard wall,

lines From the wild rose-tree brighter fall Round the Ruins of Old-round the Hill of Her transitory blooms !

the What is it to that lovely sky

Round the grove of the orange the green If all her worshippers should die !

myrtle bower As happily her splendours play

By Castle and Convent by Town and by On the grave where human forms decay,



« PreviousContinue »