Bethankit! what a bonny creed! What mair would ony Christian need?- The braw words rumm'le ower his heid, Nor steer the sleeper; And in their restin' graves, the deid Sleep aye the deeper.
NOTE. - It may be guessed by some that I had a certain parish in my eye, and this makes it proper I should add a word of disclamation. In my time there have been two ministers in that parish. Of the first I have a special reason to speak well, even had there been any to think ill. The second I have often met in private and long (in the due phrase) "sat under" in his church, and neither here nor there have I heard an unkind or ugly word upon his lips. The preacher of the text had thus no original in that particular parish; but when I was a boy, he might have been observed in many others; he was then (like the schoolmaster) abroad; and by recent advices, it would seem he has not yet entirely disappeared.
VI - THE SPAEWIFE
O, I wad like to ken - to the beggar-wife says I - Why chops are guid to brander and nane sae guid to fry. An' siller, that's sae braw to keep, is brawer still to gi'e. - IT'S GEY AN' EASY SPIERIN', says the beggar-wife to me.
O, I wad like to ken - to the beggar-wife says I - Hoo a' things come to be whaur we find them when we try, The lasses in their claes an' the fishes in the sea. - IT'S GEY AN' EASY SPIERIN', says the beggar-wife to me.
O, I wad like to ken - to the beggar-wife says I - Why lads are a' to sell an' lasses a' to buy; An' naebody for dacency but barely twa or three - IT'S GEY AN' EASY SPIERIN', says the beggar-wife to me.
O, I wad like to ken - to the beggar-wife says I - Gin death's as shure to men as killin' is to kye, Why God has filled the yearth sae fu' o' tasty things to pree. - IT'S GEY AN' EASY SPIERIN', says the beggar-wife to me.
O, I wad like to ken - to the beggar wife says I - The reason o' the cause an' the wherefore o' the why, Wi' mony anither riddle brings the tear into my e'e. - IT'S GEY AN' EASY SPIERIN', says the beggar-wife to me.
VII - THE BLAST - 1875
It's rainin'. Weet's the gairden sod, Weet the lang roads whaur gangrels plod - A maist unceevil thing o' God In mid July - If ye'll just curse the sneckdraw, dod! An' sae wull I!
He's a braw place in Heev'n, ye ken, An' lea's us puir, forjaskit men Clamjamfried in the but and ben He ca's the earth - A wee bit inconvenient den No muckle worth;
An' whiles, at orra times, keeks out, Sees what puir mankind are about; An' if He can, I've little doubt, Upsets their plans; He hates a' mankind, brainch and root, An' a' that's man's.
An' whiles, whan they tak heart again, An' life i' the sun looks braw an' plain, Doun comes a jaw o' droukin' rain Upon their honours - God sends a spate outower the plain, Or mebbe thun'ers.
Lord safe us, life's an unco thing! Simmer an' Winter, Yule an' Spring, The damned, dour-heartit seasons bring A feck o' trouble. I wadnae try't to be a king - No, nor for double.
But since we're in it, willy-nilly, We maun be watchfu', wise an' skilly, An' no mind ony ither billy, Lassie nor God. But drink - that's my best counsel till 'e: Sae tak the nod.
VIII - THE COUNTERBLAST - 1886
My bonny man, the warld, it's true, Was made for neither me nor you; It's just a place to warstle through, As job confessed o't; And aye the best that we'll can do Is mak the best o't.
There's rowth o' wrang, I'm free to say: The simmer brunt, the winter blae, The face of earth a' fyled wi' clay An' dour wi' chuckies, An' life a rough an' land'art play For country buckies.
An' food's anither name for clart; An' beasts an' brambles bite an' scart; An' what would WE be like, my heart! If bared o' claethin'? - Aweel, I cannae mend your cart: It's that or naethin'.
A feek o' folk frae first to last Have through this queer experience passed; Twa-three, I ken, just damn an' blast The hale transaction; But twa-three ithers, east an' wast, Fand satisfaction,
Whaur braid the briery muirs expand, A waefu'an' a weary land, The bumblebees, a gowden band, Are blithely hingin'; An' there the canty wanderer fand The laverock singin'.