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THE WYFE OF AUCHTERMUCHTIE. And priend als meikle in bir 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 l’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.
The calfes and ky met in the lone,
And brodit his buttok quhill that it bled,
And he satt down to sey the spinning ; Quha weill could tippill out a can,
I tro,w 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. Sittand at ane fyre beik and bauld,
10 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,
And thocht to hit her on the snout ;
The twa gaizlines the glaidis had left,
That straik dang baith their harnis out. I sall be hussy, gif I may.
11 Gudeman, quoth scho, content am I
He set his foot vpon the spyre,
To have gotten the fleshe doun to the pat, And all the house baith in and out.
Bot he fell backward into the fyre,
And clourd his croun on the keming stock. 4
He hang the meikle pat on the cruik,
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. 5
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 armis, · And on hir hairt laid hir disjune.
It was all dirt up to the eyne ;
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 Than up 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 robe Scho 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
only in free quarters. It would be Quoth he, My office I forsaik, 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,
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: In so much that the Than up scho gat ane meikle rung, committee here, and the councel with And the gudeman maid to the doir;
you (as it is said) have ordered some Quoth he, Deme, I sall hald my tung, 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 de.. For this house and I will nevir do weill. scribe them in writing; here you may
see head pieces and steel-bonnets rais
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 memorable insurrection which led to the most odde and anticque forme, and the battles of Drumclog and Bothwell- pouder hornes hung in strings, gar. Bridge), 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, .eat. ing up the disaffected, was ordered home bosnet, iron-hat, gorget, pesane, wamagain by the government.--the undisciplin. brassers and reerbrassers, panns, leg. ed 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 about Glasgow.
ness of this shew is indeed sadly mix
ed and marred; for this unhallowed, We arrived here about 8 or 9 dayes and many of them unchristened, raba agoe: At our first coming we observe 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 comtherefore had carried and conveyed mands of some of their discreeter offiaway much of their goods ; nor were cers, rob all that comes to hand, whis
ACCOUNT OF THE HIGHLAND HOST.
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. Yet 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 griev. 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. contract and make the places they leave
CLELAND. Edit. 1697. free pay in
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
That 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 restored ; 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 : themselves over the countrey and
catch Yea to be short, moe different postures, all that they can lay hold upon; for in Than's sewed on hangings, beds, and bol.
stures : 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. of recovery. And yet all these are
All nature sinks opprest,
And labour shuts his weary eye
In the mid-day hour of rest.
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,
Seemed water changed to snow.
And all the scene appears
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
The gayest village of the gay
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 Is slumbering not on nature's breast
Peace doomed to last for ever. 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!
as in despite
Into the church-yard's cold recess,
From that region of delight.
Last summer, from the school-house door,
When the glad play-bell was ringing,
In dance of rapture singing!
The village-maid would stand,
The cold cup from her hand ; - 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,
-Even now a soft and silvery haze
Hill-VillageTree is steeping Some solitary maid,
In the loveliness of happier days, As she was wont at eve, should go
Ere rose the voice of weeping !
When incense-fires from every hearth
Sweet Spire! that crown'st the house of God!
While through a cloud the softened light.
On thy yellow dial burns. On-on-through woful images
Ah, me! my bosom inly bleeds
To see the deep-worn path that leads
In silent blackness it doth tell
How oft thy little sullen bell -So high upon the slender bough
Hath o'er the village toll'd its knell,
In beauty desolate.
Such spire hath risen in softened light
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
Than God's house on the earth.
That very bell hath ceased to toll
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.
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 sunOf 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 Vines What is it to that lovely sky
Round the grove of the orange--the green If all her worshippers should die !
myrtle bowerAs happily her splendours play
By Castle and Conventorby Town and by On the grave where human forms decay,