Page images

I ken'd my Maggie wad na sleep

For that, or simmer.
In cart or car thou never reestit;
The steyest brae thou wad hae fac'd it:
Thou never lap, and sten't and breastit,

Then stood to blaw;
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 nurst;
They drew me thretteen pund an' twa,

The very warst.

Monie a sair daurk we twa hae wrought,
An' wi' the weary warl' fought!
An' monie an anxious day, I thought: 1

We wad be beat;
Yet here to crazy age we're brought,

Wi' something yet.


An think na, my auld, trusty servan',
That now perhaps thou's less deservin,
All'thy auld days may end in starvin,

For my last fou,
A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane

Laid by tor you.
We've worn to crazy years thegither ;
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither ;
Wi' tentie care I'll fit thy tether :

To some hain'd rig,

Whare ye may nobly rax your leather,

Wi? sma'fatigue.



An unco mournfu' Tale
As Mailie, an' her lambs thegither,
Where ae day nibbling on the tether,
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch,
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch ;
There, groaning, dying, she did lie,
When Hughoc* he came doytin by.

Wi' glowrin een, an' lifted han's
Poor Hughoc like a statue stan's ;
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, waes my heart! he could na mend it!
He gaped/wide, but naething spak,
At length poor Mailie silence brak.

O thou, whase lamentable face
Appears to mourn my woefu' case !
My dying words attentive hear,
An bear them to my Master dear.

"Tell him, if e'er again he keep
As muckle gear as buy a sheep,
O, bid him never tie them mair
Wi' wicked strings o' hemp or hair !
But ca’ them out to park or hill,
An' let them wander at their will;

* A Neighbour herd-callar.

So may his flock increase, an' grow
To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo?!

« Tell him he was a master kin',
An' ay was gụid to me and mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him.

“ O, bid bim save their harmless lives
Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives !
But gie them guid cow-milk their fill,
Till they be fit to fend themsel;
An' tent them duly, e'en an' morn,
Wi'teats o' hay an' rips o' corn.

“ An’ may they never learn the gaets
Of ither vile wanrestfu' pets !
To slink thro' slaps, an’


an' steal,
At stacks o' pease, or stocks o' kail.
So may they, like their great forbears,
For manie a year come thro' the shears ;
So wives will gie them bits o' bread,
An' bairns greet for them when they're dead.

My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir,
O, bid him breed him up wi' care !
An', if he live to be a beast,
Ty pit some havins in his breast !
An' warn him, what I winna name,
To stay content wi' yowes at hame 3
An' no to rin an' wear his cloots,
Like ither menseless, graceless brutes.

“Anniest my yowie, silly tbing, Gude keep thee frae a tether-string ! 1), may thou ne'er forgather up Wi'ony hlastit, moorland toop;

[ocr errors]

you baith;

But ah keep mind to moop an' mell
Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel !

“ And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath,
I lea'e my blessin wi'
An' when you think upo' your Mither.
Mind to be kin' to ane anither.

“ Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail, To tell my master a' my tale; An' bid him burn this cursed tether, An', for thy pains, thou’se get my blether."

This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, An' clos'd her een amang the dead.

Lament in rhyme, lament in prose,
Wi' saut tears trickling down your nose ;
Our bardie's fate is at a close,

Past a' remead ;
The last sad cap-stane of his woes;

Poor Mailie's dead!

It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear, Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear

The mourning weed : He's lost a friend and neebor dear,


In Mailie dead.
Through a' the toun she trotted by him,
A lang half-mile she could descry him ;
Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him,

She ran wi' speed;
A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam nigh hi!

Than Mailie dead.

I wat she was a sheep o' sense, An' could behave hersel wi' mense ; I'll say't she never brak a fence,

Thro' thievish greed ; Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence

Sin' Mailie's dead.

Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe, Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,

For bits o' bread; An' down the briny pearls rowe,

For Mailie dead.

She was nae get o' moorland tips, Wi' tawted ke, an' hairy hips ; For her forbears were brought in ships

Frae yont the Tweed : A bonier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips

Than Mailie dead. Was worth the man wha first did shape That vile, wanchancie thing--a rape ! It maks guid fellows girn an gape,

Wi' chockin bread ; An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape,

For Mailie dead.

O, a' ye bards on bonie Doon!
An' who on Ayr your chanters tune!
Come join the melancholious croon

O' Robin's reed !
His heart will never get aboon !

His Mailie dead.


« PreviousContinue »