Puir Jeemsie dee’d. In a’ their braws
The faim’ly cam’ as black as craws,
Men, wifes, an’ weans wi’ their mamas
That scarce could toddle!
They grat—an’ they had cause to greet;
The wull was read that garred them meet—
The U. P. Kirk, just up the street,
Got ilka bodle!
I mind, when I dream at nicht,
Whaur the bonnie Sidlaws stand
Wi’ their feet on the dark’nin’ land
An their heids i’ the licht;
An the thochts o’ youth roll back
Like wreaths frae the hillside track
In the Vale o’ Strathmore;
And the autumn leaves are turnin’
And the flame o’ the gean-trees burnin’
Roond the white hoose door.
Aye me, when spring cam’ green
And May-month decked the shaws
There was scarce a blink o’ the wa’s
For the flower o’ the gean;
But when the hills were blue
Ye could see them glintin’ through
An the sun i’ the lift;
An the flower o’ the gean-trees fa’in’
Was like pairls frae the branches snawin’
In a lang white drift.
Thae trees are fair and gay
When May-month’s in her prime,
But I’m thrawn wi’ the blasts o’ time
An my heid’s white as they;
But an auld man aye thinks lang
O’ the hauchs he played amang
In his braw youth-tide;
An there’s ane that aye keeps yearnin’
For a hoose whaur the leaves are turnin’
An the flame o’ the gean-tree burnin’
By the Sidlaws’ side.
There’s a tod aye blinkin’ when the nicht
Blinkin’ wi’ his lang een an’ keekin’ roond an’ roon’,
Creepin’ by the fairmyaird when gloamin’ is to fa’,
And syne there’ll be a chicken or a deuk awa’—
Aye, when the guidwife rises, there’s a deuk awa’!
There’s a lass sits greetin’ ben the hoose
For when the guidwife’s cankered she gie’s her aye the blame,
An’ sair the lassie’s sabbin’ an’ fast the tears fa’,
For the guidwife’s tint her bonnie hen an’ it’s awa’—
Aye, she’s no sae easy dealt wi’ when her gear’s awa’!
There’s a lad aye roamin’ when the day
A lang-leggit deevil wi’ his hand upon the gate,
And aye the guidwife cries to him to gar the toddie fa’,
For she canna thole to let her deuks an’ hens awa’—
Aye, the muckle bubbly-jock himsel’ is ca’d awa’!
The laddie saw the tod gang by an’ killed him
wi’ a stane
And the bonnie lass that grat sae sair she sabs nae mair her lane,
But the guidwife’s no contentit yet, her like ye never saw!
Cries she—“This time it is the lass, an’ she’s awa’!
Aye, yon laddie’s waur nor ony tod, for Bell’s awa’!”
The land is white, an’ far awa’
Abune ae bush an’ tree
Nae fit is movin’ i’ the snaw
On the hills I canna see;
For the sun may shine an’ the darkness fa’,
But aye it’s nicht to me.