Fegs aye! they’d na be sweir to rule
A lad sae newly frae the schule
Gin my auld bonnet crooned a fule!
But oh! Jehovah’s unco’ kind!
Whaur wad this doited pairish find
A man wi’ sic a powerfu’ mind?
Sae, let the pairish sleep at nicht
Blind wi’ the elders’ shinin’ licht,
Nor ken wha’s hand keeps a’ things richt.
It’s what they canna understan’
That brains hae ruled since time began,
An’ that the beadle is the man!
As I gae’d doon by the twa mill dams i’
The water-hen cam’ oot like a passin’ wraith
And her voice cam’ through the reeds wi’ a sound of warnin’,
“Aye, bird, tho’ ye see but ane ye may cry on baith!”
As I gae’d doon the field when the dew was lyin’,
My ain love stood whaur the road an’ the mill-lade met,
An it seemed to me that the rowin’ wheel was cryin’,
An turn, man, turn, for ye ken that ye lo’e her yet!”
As I gae’d doon the road ‘twas a weary
For the ill words said yest’re’en they were aye the same,
And my het he’rt drouned the wheel wi’ its heavy beatin’.
“Lass, think shame,
It’s no for me to speak, for it’s you to blame!”
As I gae’d doon by the toon when the day was
The Baltic brigs lay thick by the soundin’ quay
And the riggin’ hummed wi’ the sang that the wind was singin’,
For there’s mony a load on shore may be skailed at sea!”
* * * * * *
When I cam’ hame wi’ the thrang o’
the years ’ahint me
There was naucht to see for the weeds and the lade in spate,
But the water-hen by the dams she seemed aye to mind me,
“Aye, bird, but my een grow dim, an’ it’s late—late!”
O Alec, up at Soutar’s fairm,
You, that’s sae licht o’ he’rt,
I ken ye passin’ by the tune
Ye whustle i’ the cairt;
I hear the rowin’ o’ the wheels,
The clink o’ haims an’ chain,
And set abune yer stampin’ team
I see ye sit yer lane.
Ilk morn, agin’ the kindlin’ sky
Yer liftit heid is black,
Ilk nicht I watch ye hameward ride
Wi’ the sunset at yer back.
For wark’s yer meat and wark’s yer play,
Heid horseman tho’ ye be,
Ye’ve ne’er a glance for wife nor maid,
Ye tak nae tent o’ me.
An’ man, ye’ll no suspec’ the truth,
Tho’ weel I ken it’s true,
There’s mony ane that trails in silk
Wha fain wad gang wi’ you.
But I am just a serving lass,
Wha toils to get her breid,
An’ O! ye’re sweir to see the gowd
I braid about my heid.
My cheek is like the brier rose,
That scents the simmer wind,
An fine I’d keep the wee bit hoose,
’Gin I’d a man to mind!