AND OTHER POEMS
Lately published, by the same Author,
POEMS AND SONGS.
Second Edition, price 5s.
" It contains genuine poetic ore, poems which win for their author a place
among Scotland's true sons of song, and such as any man in any country
might rejoice to have written." London Review.
" We are delighted to welcome into the brotherhood of real poets a
countryman of Burns, and whose verse will go far to render the rougher
Border Scottish a classic dialect in our literature." John Bull.
" There is, also, no little humour in the poem entitled ' My Little Wife,'
coupled with the expression of a manly, protecting fondness, which shows
the making of a true gentleman in this honest, hard-working miner, en-
dowed with one of the noblest gifts of heaven. He is capable, however, of
better things than he has yet done, and we shall be much surprised if we
are deceived in the expectations we have formed of his future career. "
" Had it far less vigour and far less refinement, this book would he wel-
come in its thorough genuineness. Contrary to what might have been ex-
pected, the refinement predominates, as far as language is concerned ; and
the sentiment, even in describing the homeliest scenes, is pure and elevated,
fresh with genial humour, and a fancy that now and then stands on the very
threshold of imagination." Scotsman.
" Some of these poems and songs are so remarkable for natural beauty
and tenderness, while others are so wonderful for their delicacy and grace,
that the world will be astounded to be told that they are the production of
a son of toil, whose soul has been depressed by the fear of want, and who
thus sings of himself." Caledonian Mercury.
"We have no hesitation in saying that, since the days of Burns and
Tannahill, there has not arisen a singer who could mould our ' guid braid
Scotch ' language, and set our Scottish scenery and our Scottish manners
and feelings to music, as Da,vid Wingate has done." John o 'Groat Journal.
"There is a delicacy and grace about these poems truly wonderful ; in-
deed, their general excellence is astonishing. With great felicity of ex-
pression the words seem to grow out of the thought as gowans spring from
the earth. All is natural, nothing is forced; spasm there is none."
"We might go on transferring the greater portion of the book to our
columns, but with one more extract we prefer sending our readers to the
volume itself, in which they will find an elevation of sentiment and a
purity of expression such as would do honour to writers moving in circles
far removed from scenes like those amid which this Lanarkshire collier has
climbed to literary distinction." Sunderland Herald.
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, Edinburgh and London.
ANNIE W E I E
AND OTHER POEMS
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
AUTHOR and FRIEND present : between them a table
strewn with MS.
Friend. These, then, I suppose, are your new Poenis.
Autlwr (with a sigh}. Yes.
Friend. Where is your Preface ?
Author. I have written none. I expect you will do that
Friend. Me, sir ! I don't know what you ought to write
AutJwr. That's precisely my own position.
(After a pause^
It would never do to copy the old one, I suppose I
Friend. Hardly, I am afraid. They would be sure to
accuse you of poverty in invention, and that would be
Auilwr. Too near the truth to be pleasant. But I have
nothing else to say.
Friend. Thank the gentlemen of the Waverley Burns
Club for the interest they have taken in your new Volume.
In particular, thank their Secretary
Author (impatiently). I tell you they don't want thanks,
and I question if their Secretary would open the Volume
if he suspected it said a word on the subject.
Friend. "Well, there are other gentlemen not of the
W. B. C. to thank for kind exertions.
Author. Sir, they are all friends who have wrought for
love, and they don't want thanks. They know I am
Friend. What about the Public ?
AutJtor. I'm sure I can't tell.
(A long pause.)
Friend (suddenly, with animation). I have it.
Friend. Don't write any Preface.
Author (in great glee). The very thing. Nobody can
object to the style in that case. I don't know how much
I am obliged to you.
Friend. Nonsense ! I am glad to be of use.
Author. Then we say, No Preface !
Friend. No PREFACE !
ANNIE WEIR. A TALE, . . . - . . . 1
A DAY AMANG THE HAWS, 17
SONG LONELY STREAM, 24
A DEATHLESS LOVE, .'...... 26
THE FIRST GUID DAY, 31
GRATITUDE, . . .' 35
THE STREAMLET, . , : 38
GIBBIE'S LAMENT, . 45
VERSES TO A (SUPPOSED) FOSSIL FISH, . . .49
THE MARIGOLD, 55
JOHN FROST, 57
AULD ARCHIE BELL, .61
A CANDLEMAS RHYME, .66
A MOTHER'S WAIL, 81
TO A LARK, OX HEARING ONE SING EARLY IN FEBRUARY, 85
THE CROWS' CHORUS, .89
SONG LET US DREAM TOGETHER, 92
ROBIN 0' RAPLOCH. A BALLAD, 94
INNOVATION. A DREAM, . . . . . .106
A STRUGGLE, . . . . . . . .135
ELEGY ON TAM, A NOTORIOUS POACHER, . . . . 139
JEAN TAMSON'S DREAM, . . . . , .147
TO MRS H. WILSON, . . . . . . .154
ABRAHAM, . .'.. . . . . . .159
THE BIRDIE, . . . . . . . .166
THE SIN O' SANG, . ' . .171
TO COUNCILLOR WILSON, GLASGOW, . . . . 17- r >
OCTOBER THE GREEN HILLSIDE, ..... 183
THE CHIELD GOT o' WARK, ...... 188
A RAMBLE, ......... 191
THE BETTER LAND. WILL AND GEORDIE, . . .194
NOTES TO ANNIE WEIR, ....... 202
AND OTHER POEMS.
BY a burn, that dimpling crept,
'Neath the leaves that o'er it slept
In the balmy breezeless eve, sat an old man, thin and
And two children at his side,
Sunny-faced and merry-eyed,
Aweary with their sport, on the green sward lay :
And while from the poplar tall
Fell the "blackbird's madrigal,
While the wagtail on the boulders chirruped near,
And the thrush sang down the dell,
In the thorn above the well,
The story of his youth they sought to hear.
" Uncle Eeuben, long ago,
When the fields were white with snow,
And the glen with gleaming icicles was gay,
Well we mind that even then
You went daily from the glen
To sit among the tombs on yonder brae.
" And when the spring had come,
And the bees began to hum,
And morn came with her chalice filled with dew,
Still the graveyard had its charm
Long you sat, when days were warm,
But why you went at all we never knew.
ANNIE WEIR. 3
" Once we asked you why you went,
And what your lingering meant,
Oh ! ' Not to-night,' you answered ' not to-night.'
"Would it pain you now to tell,
While yon labour-closing hell
Sounds sweetly, and the sky is golden "bright 1
" We'll "be silent as the thrush
That is listening in yon hush,
The while her mate with rapture cheers the dale :
Uncle Eeuhen, will you not ? "
And the old man, so besought,
Assenting, thus began the promised tale :
" And sae ye wish to ken
"Why I daily leave the glen
To spend a lonely hour in the auld kirkyaird,
That nestles 'neath the limes
That, since the olden times,
Hae a solemn shadow flung owre its billowy swaird.
4 ANNIE WEIR.
" Be still, and ye shall hear ;
But if ye hae nae tear
To drop owre sorrow's tale, or sigh to heave,
Then to your play begone,
And leave me here alone
To paint anew my heaven my old dream -web to
" Owre bye, near yonder bank,
Where the coltsfoot's growing rank,
And the binweed thrives where the bere should be ;
Where the rigs are hower" yet,
Langsyne there was a pit,
And auld anes owre ayont it were twa or three.
" 'Twere owre lang a tale to tell,
How, in thae times, aft it fell
That sic pits, wi' bounds unmarked, and of water
Were but traps for maids and men ;
The pent flood now and then,
Wi' ruin in its roar, bursting through.
ANNIE WEIR. 5
" In the pit near yonder bank,
"Where the coltsfoot grows sae rank,
And the binweed thrives sae weel, 'twas mine to toil ;
And there earth's dearest maid,
Like a glow-worm in the shade,
Made an Eden o' the gloom wi' her smile.
" Oh ! she was fairer far
Than the go wan or the star,
In the green glades o' earth or the blue o' heaven,
And gentler than the dove ;
And her heart's first love,
In its freshness and its faith, to me was given.
" She wasnae seventeen,
But at work she lang had been,
And up the weary stairs wi' her coal-creel laden, 6
Day by day, wi' trembling limb,
In the twilight dim, c
For her frail old father's sake, clamb the peerless
6 ANNIE WEIR.
" That her silken auburn hair,
Snawy hauns, and face so fair,
Should be daily soiled sae sair I aye was mourning ;
But my Annie at her wark,
Aye as lichtsome as the lark,
Gaed singing to the stair, and sang returning.
" Oh ! sweet's the laverock's trill
In the cloud that crowns the hill,
And the hidden blackbird's sang in the hazel bush at
But ne'er sae sweet nor dear
As the sang o' Annie Weir,
In the darkness o' the pit heard hersel' unseen.
" Ae morn ae summer morn
When white was every thorn
When the barley braird was silvered wi' the dew,
Sweet was every scene and soun',
And but few I mind gaed doun,
But I and Annie Weir were o' the few.
ANNIE WEIR. 7
" Frae the ithers far awa'
We toiled our ainsels twa
Strange fears that day came owre me now and then ;
Aften down my pick I flang,
Listening eerie for her sang,
And thinking she was lang o' coming ben. d
" Tak' yonrsels in fancy doun,
And frae the waste e aroun'
Let this sudden cry o' terror strike the ear
' Oh ! the water's broken in !
To the stair for safety rin ! '
And fancy a' the fears o' Annie Weir.
" She heard the awesome din,
And she saw the others rin
She saw them to the stair for safety flee ;
She heard the distant rush
0' the water's coming gush,
Looked upward, and the sunshine filled her e'e.
Her foot was on the stair,
But, oh ! I wasnae there ;
Sae, flinging aff her creel, she flew for me.
8 ANNIE WEIR.
" In the shearing/ 1 was thrang
Crooning Annie's faVrite sang
(A lay of humble love and its reward),
When from the silent waste
Cam' the voice o' ane in haste,
And ' Eeuben, Reuben, rin !' I wondering heard.
" 'Oh, Eeuben, Eeuben, rin !
For the water's broken in !
They a' cam' to the bottom but yoursel'.
Oh ! Eeuben, haste ye fast,
For it's coming like a blast, 9 '
And how we're to win oot I canna tell.'
" Though I trusted she was wrang,
Yet I didna tarry lang,
But hurried out my frichted burd to meet,
And we ran to win the stair,
Oh ! but lang ere we were there,
The black and stoury flood h was at our feet.
ANNIE WEIR. 9
" Turning roun' wi' frantic speed
O* nae danger taking heed,
Through the waste for safety's path we sought in vain,
Then eerie, bruised and sair,
Haun' in haun' and in despair,
To the road that best we kent we came again.
" We didna tear our hair,
But it surely was despair,
That made us ither's hauns sae wildly tak' ;
For our heavy hearts aye sunk,
As wi' hollow, dismal, clunk,
The water slowly rose and drove us back.
" For hope .there was nae room,
There we saw and kent our doom,
skill, nor faith, nor prayer could scaur' t awa,
It would creep up pace by pace,
And to reach the farthest face
It could but tak' a day, or maybe twa.
10 ANNIE WEIR.
" ' Come, Annie, let's gae ben,
A' our sorrows soon will en',
For us nae earthly morn can hae a breakin',
We'll our watch in patience keep
Oh ! that we could but sleep,
Ere owre us creeps the flood, and never waken.'
" ' Oh ! Keuben, Eeuben Shaw,
T the' nae way out ava ?
~WT this ae feeble light on our white faces streaming,
Maun we our hopes resign
And our dear lives tyne ?
Oh ! waefu' waefu' end o' a' our gouden dreaming ! '
" Sae in the first wild hour
Did we our wailing pour,
Nor thought how e'en the feeble light would fail us
Nor that the flood might stay,
Far frae us on the brae,
And yet a sterner foe ere lang assail us.
ANNIE WEIR. 11
" Let your fancy, if it can,
Paint us sitting worn and wan,
Watching owre our last bit candle as it flared its dying
Fled our guardian Angel seemed,
And till then we had not dreamed,
That ony darker shade could fa' on our despair.
" Like parents owre a child,
That its hindmost smile hath smiled,
Owre the glowing loweless wick low we leaned wi'
And gently blowing strave
The lowe alive to save,
And chase away the gloom for ae brief moment mair.
" But we gently blew in vain,
So we raised our een again
At ance, I kenna why nor what we wished to see ;
But I saw and see it noo
Beaming memory's mazes through,
The old sweet look o' love and trust in Annie's ee.
" But the wick a faint dull red
In its ain white ase half hid,
Lang glowed and seemed a soul that the Fates were
loath to sever;
Then it dwindled to a spark,
That a star seemed in the dark
A star that sudden set to rise no more for ever.
" And then no more was seen,
Save as we strained our een,
To bless our longing hearts wi' anither look o' ither,
Ae flash we thought we saw,
But it could be nocht ava',
Save the ee o' frenzied Hope as she left us a'thegither.
" Oh ! ne'er before since Light
Half his kingdom won frae Night,
Had the darkness of the pit haen a dreariness sae drear ;
For the shadow seemed to clasp
With a stifling, chilling grasp,
While uncannie feet we heard on the water drawing near.
ANNIE WEIR. 13
" How the laneness grew mair lane,
When a' note o' time was gane ;
HOAV our hearts sank now and then, and to die we laid
How the hours crept into days ;
How we prayed and warbled praise,
That wakened in the waste a sadly solemn soun';
" How the hunger pang we bare
When the water was our fare ;
How we tried to be contented with our cheer ;
How the flood rose to our feet ;
How it stood, and durstnae weet
The garments o' the Angel, Annie Weir;
" How we heard sweet music swell,
If asleep we briefly fell,
And, waking, heard what seemed the hum o' bees ; *
How we closer crept in awe
When the phosphor-light * we saw,
That seemed a spirit sitting 'mong the trees ;
14 ANNIE WEIB.
" How the old folks were our thought
How to want they might be "brought ;
How the God aboon would surely guide them through ;
What we would hae done ava,
Had our number no been twa,
And how a solace aye from that we drew ;
" How the fearfu' thought that death
Mightnae come at ance to baith,
Made the sore-tried reason reel, and the blood with
A' this, and mickle mair,
Ye the telling o' maun spare,
For the memory o't awakens horror still.
" But the end at last drew near :
At my side lay Annie Weir,
And murmured lowly, ' Eeuben, part maun we.
Oh ! how wearied I hae grown,
Like a hunted bird that's flown,
Despairing, lang, across a biel'less lea.
ANNIE WEIR. 15
" ' Oil ! sweet it was to dream
We at ance should cross the. stream
Whase shores are Earth and Heaven, but 'twinna be ;
A' my dreaming's been in vain ;
I the stream maun cross alane,
And ye your weary doom alane maun dree.'
" Then she seemed asleep to fa',
And I thought she was awa',
When, hark ! 'twas surely voices in the waste
(It sae like a fancy seemed,
That I thought I had but dreamed),
'Twas the searchers coming cautious in their haste.
" Frae another, ebber' pit
I can tell ye where it's yet
Three weary days they, hour aboot, had redd ; m
Like giants had they toiled,
And success had on them smiled,
For safely to the sunshine were we led.
16 ANNIE WEIR.
" Annie Weir and I were wed,
But her bloom for aye was fled ;
Ae year she lived, and ere she was a mither,
She was laid in yon kirkyaird,
'Neath the greenest o' its swaird,
And oh ! that we were ance again thegither."
A DAY AMANG THE HAWS.
WHEN the beech-nuts fast are drappin',
And the days are creepin' in,
When ilk carefu' mither's thinkin'
0' the winter's hose and shoon ;
When the mornin' "bells loud ringin'
To the Fast-day worship ca's,
Out comes the city callan'
For his day amang the haws.
0' the dangers that await him
^"e'er a troublous thought has he,
Nought cares he for the tearin'
He his claes is sure to gie;
But the light o' comin' pleasure
On his heart like sunshine fa's,
For dear as stolen waters
Is a day amang the haws.
18 A DAY AMANG THE HAWS.
Frae the mill where stourie "jennies "
Kound him aye are whirrin' thrang ;
Or the forge where ponderous " Condies "
Dunt and did the hale day lang;
Or the press-room's inky regions,
And the gaffer's cuff and ire ;
Or the needle, or the Hngle,
On he plods through mud and mire.
Frae the lane where Vice holds revel,
Where beneath fair Virtue's shield,
Like birds escaped the snarer,
Aye a gratefu' few find bield;
Frae the stench that kens nae sweetenin',
And the din that has nae pause,
To the freshness and the freedom
0' a day amang the haws.
Think ye thus 1 " The graceless callan'
To the kirk should rather gang;
Does his mither never warn him
That sic Fast-day traikin's wrang ?
A DAY AMANG THE HAWS. 19
If her heart is for him pleadin',
Kennin' weel how sair he's wrought,
For the customs o' her faithers
Has she ne'er a reverend thought 1"
Oh, rather thus excuse her :
" She was born amang the hills,
And she minds the autumn grandeur
0' the thorns beside the rills ;
There are memories fresh frae girlhood
Crowdin' fast to plead his cause,
And she canna keep the callan'
Frae his day amang the haws."
Like a flood the rain's been pourin',
But the sun beams through at last,
As amang a host o' ithers
Frae the town he hastens fast ;
On the whinny slopes o' Cathkin,
Or on Pollock's woody knowes,
He already roams in fancy
Where he kens the haw-tree grows.
20 A DAY AMANG THE HAWS.
On the bitter blast that's brewin'
He looks west wi' hopefu' ee,
For he kens the woods frae keepers
In sic weather will be free.
If the bells around him ringin'
Whisper whiles o' broken laws,
"Oh!" he thinks, "there's surely pardon
For ae day amang the haws."
Fu' boldly has he ventured,
And in darin' weel has thriven,
He the ripest, richest branches
Frae the;sweetest trees has riven.
See his jacket hangs in tatters,
Owre his hands the bluid-draps steal ;
But his mither mends fu' neatly,
And his scarts again will heal.
Frae his hair the rain is dreepin',
But he never thinks o' harm,
For Pleasure, wanderin' wi' him,
Wi' her mantle keeps him warm.
A DAY AMANG THE HAWS. 21
How his heart wi' pride is swellin',
As he near the city draws,
For he kens he comes joy-laden
Frae his day amang the haws.
Wha thinks he frae his ramble
Winna better come, but worse,
"Wi' its memory hangin' owre him
Like an angry father's curse ?
In Nature's face what is there
That a city bairn should fear ?
In the woodland's autumn whisper
Is there ought he shouldna hear ?
Wha kens what heavenly music
May be stirred his breast within,
As the sapless leafs faint rustlin'
Turns the sparklin' ee aboon,
While his fancy paints the Painter
0' the million-tinted shaws,
And the poet-spark is kindled
In his soul, amang the haws ?
22 A DAY AMANG THE HAWS.
Oh ! keepers, spare the callan'
And sweet dreams ye shall not lack
For the wee things' sake that weary
Wait the wanderer's coming back ;
They hae shared the city's hardships,
And o' plenty little ken
Let them taste in rich abundance
0' the spoils o' hill and glen.
Owre the priceless feast they'll linger,
Till their lips and teeth grow brown ;
Or wi' the ruddy treasure
In their bosoms cuddle down.
Oh, there's nane the joy can measure,
That a boon sae sma' may cause !
Tears are dried and sorrow's lightened
Wi' a day amang the haws.
And ye whase lot is coosten
Aye amang the caller air,
Wha on a gift sae common
May a thought but seldom wair,
A DAT AMANG THE HAWS. 23
Oh ! think if Heaven had placed ye
Far frae glen and mountain stream,
Where the woods are things o' fancy,
And the yorlin's sang a dream
Oh ! think how ye would weary-
But to hear ae laverock sing,
And to watch the matron peesweep
Chase the hawk wi' daring wing
How wild would he your longin'
For the breeze on hills that blaws !
How muckle would ye venture
For ae day amang the haws !
SONG LONELY STEEAM.
WHEN the ice that hangs adorning
Yon grey rocks that o'er thee frown,
Loosened in the Maze of morning,
Gaily glancing, topples down ;
While thy brown flood's foaming free,
Lonely stream, I'll come to thee.
When the wintery tempest, fluting
'Mong the beeches, o'er thee blows,
Or, the ivied ash uprooting,
Bridges thee with broken boughs ;
In thy boulder nooks to dream,
Then I'll seek thee, lonely stream.
When the coltsfoot flower is thrusting
All aside its way that barred ;
SONG LONELY STREAM. 25
When the hawthorn bud is bursting,
When thy banks are primrose-starred,
While thy linnets chant their glee,
Then be sure I'll come to thee.
A DEATHLESS LOVE.
OH, sing that plaintive sang, dear May
Ance mair ere life I tyne ;
There's no in all the world, dear bairn,
A voice sae sweet as thine.
Alang life's path I've tottered lang,
The broken arch is near ;
And when I fa' I fain would hae
Thy warbling in my ear.
Oh, sing again that plaintive sang !
It waukens memories sweet,
That slumbered in the past afar,
Whare youth and bairn-time meet.
A DEATHLESS LOVE. 27
I roam through woods wi' berries rich,
Or owre the breezy hills
Unwearied, wander far to dream
Beside love-hallowed rills.
Sit owre beside me, winsome bairn,
And let me kiss thy brow ;
Wi' baith thy warm wee hauns press mine
Oh, would the end come now !
Or would but 'tis a sinfu' wish,
As sinfu' as it's vain ;
We could not sit for ever thus,
Nox thou a child remain.
There's nane I love like thee, dear bairn
Thou ken'st nae why, I ween :
Thou only hast thy grannie's smile,
Thou only her blue een ;
Thou only wilt the village maids
Like her in sang excel ;
Thou only hast her brow and cheek,
Wi' rosy dimple dell.
28 A DEATHLESS LOVE.
It's mony a weary year since she
Was 'neath the gowans laid,
Yet aft I hear her on the "brae,
And see her waving plaid :
And aften yet, in lanely hours,
Returns the thrill o' pride
I felt when first we mutual love
Confessed on Lavern side.
They say there's music in the storm
That tower and tree o'erturns,
And beauty in the smooring drift
That hides the glens and burns ;
And mercy in the fate that from
Our fond embraces tears
The angel o' a happy hame
The love o' early years :
But he whase house the storm has wrecked,
No music hears it breathe.
Wha e'er saw beauty in the drift
That happed a frien' wi' death 1
A DEATHLESS LOVE. 29
Or wha, when Fate wi' ruthless haun',
His life's ae flower lays low,
Can breathe a grateful prayer, and feel
There's mercy in the blow ?
Sae thought I when her een I closed ;
And, though the thought was wrang,
It haunted me when to the fields
My meals nae mair she brang.
And aften by the lone dyke-side
A tearfu' grace was sain ;
And aft, alas ! wi' bitter heart,
The books at e'en I taen.
Nane think how sadly owre my head
The lang, lang years hae passed
Nane ken how near its end has crept
The langest and the last ;
But I fu' brawly ken, for, May, ]
Your grannie came yestreen,
And joy and hope were in her smile,
And welcome in her een.
30 A DEATHLESS LOVE.
Sit near me, May sit nearer yet
My heart at times stauns still :
"Tis sweet to fa' asleep for aye
By sic a blithesome rill
My thoughts are wanderin', bairn. The veil
0' heaven aside seems drawn ;
The deepenin' autumn gloamin's turned
To summer's brightest dawn.
My een grow heavy, May, and dim
What unco sounds I hear !
It seems a sweeter voice than thine
That's croonin' in my ear.
Lean owre me wi' thy grannie's face,
And waefu' glistenin' ee ;
Lean kindly owre me, bairn, for nane
Maun close my een but thee.
THE FIKST GUID DAY.
IT is the showery April ;
The spring-time has "begun,
And o' the coroin' summer
There's a promise in the wun'.
The hawthorn "buds are burstin',
The birds in chorus gay
A hymn o' thanks are warblin',
For the first guid day.
The breeze is warm and westlin',
The firs sae saftly rustlin',
To doves among them nestlin',
Say, "Winter's passed away;"
While clouds o' downy lightness
Float on in snowy whiteness,
As if to aid the brightness
0' the first guid day.
32 THE FIRST QUID DAY.