JAMES L. PURGAVIE,
With an Introductory preface by
REV. S. MACAU LAY, L L. D.,
MINISTER OF TKAMNO.
The muse, nae poet ever fund 'er,
Till by himsel' he learned to wander
Doon by some pleasant burnie's meander,
An' no' think long.
PRISTKD BT JAMBS P. MATHEW & Co., 17 AND 19 COWGATR.
NOTE OF INTRODUCTION ... ... 5
PREFACE ... ... ... . ... ... 7
DOON BY THE BURN ... ... ... ... 9
HILL AND DALE ... ... ... ... 13
LORD CARNEGIE AS A SPORTSMAN ... ... 15
SUNDAY BIKING ... ... ... ... 16
ALLAN RAMSAY ... ... ... ... 18
SHOOTING COMPETITION .. ... ... ... 19
THE BAIRNIE ... ... ... ... ... 20
NOBLE SAM ... ... ... ... ... 23
ODE TO SPRING ... ... ... ... ... 25
WATCHING SONG ... ... ... ... 27
MY BOOTS ... ... ... ... ... 29
KINDNESS REWARDED .. ... ... 31
BEST WISHES ... ... ... ... ... 32
A TOKEN OF RESPECT ... ... ... ... 33
FRIENDSHIP'S GIFT ... ... ... 34
MY SHOES ... ... ... ... ... 36
AT MITRTHLY CASTLE ... ... ... ... 38
BIRTHDAY WORDS AND WISIIKS ... ... ... 40
WEE MARY ... ... ... ... ... 41
A REQUEST ... ... ... ... 43
THE TRANSVAAL WAR ... ... ... ... 44
A FRIEND INDEED ... ... ... 45
GONE HOME ... ... ... ... 47
WINTER ... 49
BY RRV. S. MACAULAY, LL.D., MISISTBR OF TEALINO.
MR JAMES LINDSAY PURGAVIE, the author of these
Poems, was born 41 years ago in the village of Lundie,
and he relates with interest that he was both baptised
and married in the manse of that parish. His father
was a working contractor, and his mother, whose name
was Peebles, was a native of Kingsbarns, Fifeshire.
He received his education at Lundie School, and had
for his teachers Mr J. L. Roy and Mr Duncan Jamie-
son. At the early age of thirteen he began to work,
but continued to attend school during the winter season
until he reached the age of eighteen. His first regular
employment was estate work at Lundie and Fowlis,
where he assisted at planting trees, draining, and
quarrying. At the age of twenty he became a keeper
on Camperdown estate. In 1885 he came to Tealing
to act as gamekeeper on the estate of Mr Fothringham
of Fothringham, which position . he still continues
to hold. As may be inferred from some of the verses
which follow, he is a married man not unacquainted
with the ways of bairns.
He began to rhyme partly to pass the time and
partly for amusement. He has often spent the night
on the hillside watching for some unwary member of
the poaching tribe, and he has tried to relieve the
tedium of waiting and watching by putting some of his
thoughts and experiences into verse.
Two things are obvious about the pieces here brought
together. There is nothing in them to hurt anyone's
feelings nothing is set down in malice or with a covert
sting ; throughout there is a playful genialty which
does the author much credit. We note also that the
writer does not attempt any very ambitious flight. He
describes nature as he has seen her, and life as he has
found it. He tells us what he has himself seen and
felt. Long may he live and more may he write !
The pieces now published were composed at various
times ; they were sent to friends, who were both pleased
and amused ; and they are now collected and issued
TEALING, March 1900.
A FRIEND I come, and as a friend
In friendly manner meet me ;
I cannot boast an air refined
A simple rustic greet me.
Your learning may see much amiss
The rhymes are rough, I grant you ;
But rugged Nature sanctions this
To Nature back I want you.
With homely speech, in homely style,
In homely fashion, hear me ;
To criticise is not worth while
Come down and sit quite near me.
You have a noble mind and will,
A soul that shines out clearly ;
I also feel the manly thrill
Of those who live sincerely.
Doon Dp fbc Burn.
TAOON by the burn I tak' a turn
~^^^ In summer for a troot;
It 's braw to stare an' see them there,
Aye jinkin' in an' oot.
The sport is fine wi' rod an' line,
An' hooks, an' bait, an' reel ;
When burnie broon comes tum'lin' doon,
Oh, then to fill the creel !
A big hill shoo'er a heavy pour
A burnie doon in spate
A red worm lure the troots are sure
To mouth the temptin' bait.
10 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
Withoot a doot the reel rins oot ;
A tit, a tug I feel.
Bravo 1 I shout, a sonsy trout ;
Great scot ! a slimy eel !
Oh, what a drop to my fond hope
That wriggler on the line I
I 'd raither like a big loch pike,
Than that lang serpentine !
Let 's try again, I 'm fidgin' fain,
To lift oot mony a beauty :
The sky is dull, an' dark's the pool,
The very thing for trootie.
In summer time when fishin 's prime,
A' ither sports are tame ;
It pleases weel, a heavy creel,
When makin' tracks for hame.
Doon by the burn I tak' a turn,
In winter for a jook ;
When earth looks braw wi' frost an' snaw,
I seek the sheltered nook.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 11
Delichtsome fun, \vi* dog an' gun,
An' spirits blythe an' gay ;
Wi' stealthy stalk on frosty track,
To overtake the prey.
I see a pair doon in their lair,
Four hunder yards ahead ;
Come on, guid dog, awa* ye shog,
To heel, and lightly tread.
Boo doon an' creep alang the steep,
To get upon their flank ;
The crusty snaw at ilk fitfa'
Croaks oot like ony crank.
At last I get near whaur they sit,
An' ower the brae I look :
A sicht I see that fills the e'e
A bonnie drake and jook.
A lood quack-quack, an' then a crack
Soonds through the stilly air :
A canny fa' amang the snaw
There lie the bonnie pair.
12 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
In winter-time, when frost and rime
Mak' other pleasures tame,
Gi'e me sic fun wi' dog an' gun
An' a weel-filled bag o' game.
Doon by the burn I like a turn
At a' times o' the year ;
To coort the muse can I refuse
Amidst sic hearty cheer ?
As by it wings, ilk season brings
A beauty a' its ain,
An' thochts refined flit thro' the mind-
To keep them I am fain.
The clinkin' rhyme at sic a time
Fa's quickly into line ;
Be what it may it comes to stay,
An' a' in order fine.
It comes at will, an' strange the thrill
When fresh life-thochts are given.
Doon by the burn I tak' a turn,
An' earth seems like a heaven.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 13
ill and Dak*
A SPORTING DITTY.
"HpWAS on an autumn morning
We met at Lumley Den,
With beaters, keepers, dogs, and guns,
And right true noblemen.
And first we scoured the hill and heather
To drive the scattered birds together
Down to the fertile lands below,
The open way they had to go.
Then next we visited a field,
Well knowing that it there would yield
Partridges in numbers plenty.
Cartridges in scores fell empty.
Hares scampered off on lightest heel,
But something from that tube of steel
Poured through them like a Beecham's peel,
And turned them up and made them reel.
14 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
The rabbits they were worse to hit,
So nimble were they, and they 'd flit
So quickly past you that you 'd need
A smart snap-shot to make them bleed.
The big game-bags were getting tight :
To all it was a pleasant sight
To see them filling up so soon
Before the cheery hour of noon.
A welcome rest, and luncheon time
At one P.M., to fill our wyme
With bread and butter, beef and beer,
To put us all in better cheer ;
And after that a glass of whisky
To heat us up and make us frisky.
Where is the sport that can compare
With such a day of pleasure rare ?
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 15
Cord Carnegie as a Sportsman.
[Suggested by a grand day's partridge shooting.]
A MARKSMAN true, he is a treat,
His gun he handles clean and neat;
Collected, cool, and calm his air,
Who as his equal can compare ?
His manly form, his vision bright,
His steady nerve gives rapid sight ;
The whirring birds to shelter flying
Soon on the heath are lifeless lying.
He measures distance at a glance ;
His deadly aim has no askance ;
The covey falls in twos and threes,
And all is done with perfect ease.
For him to shoot 'tis no disgrace :
He never needs to screw his face,
To damn his powder or his lead :
Whate'er he aims at tumbles dead.
Above, beneath, behind, before,
Down they must come to his 12 bore.
16 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
[Reply to a friend who sent an invitation to pay him a visit
on Sunday and go to church.]
F roads are dry I '11 mak' a shy
To run alang on Sunday,
But if they 're wet a pound I bet
I will not be till Monday
On wheels that day.
You ken I sometimes ride a bike ;
When roads are guid a spin I like,
But when it dings on wind an' rain
The pleasure 's gane, then comes the pain
Richt sair that day.
Would like to be in time for church,
But chance may cause the bike to lurch
An' mak' a puncture in the tyre
Wi' broken glass, nail, thorn, or briar,
Upon that day.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 17
Some ugly thing, set like a trap,
Upon the road may cause mishap,
An' cut the girds, an' mak' them slack
When crossin' ower 't they gi'e a crack
Richt lood that day.
I'll be wi' you, if a' goes well,
Sometime afore they ring the bell ;
The hour I think 's half-past eleven
When folk to worship God in heaven
Convene that day.
If bikes were used for means of grace,
They 'd be a blessin' to the race ;
But used for selfish ends, pell-mell
They carry on to ruin an' hell
Sad sicht that day.
Oh ! did you ever see the like,
A man an' woman on ae bike !
Ten miles to church awa' they course
As weel upon a bike 's a horse
For guid that day.
18 HILLSIDE MUSIXGS.
[On returning his poems to a friend.]
"TT 7ITH thanks I now return your book.
From board to board I 've gi'en 't a look ;
In fact I 've scanned its pages through,
And now I'm much obliged to you.
I do not think it ill spent time
To read such heartenin' thoughts in rhyme.
He was a master in the art,
And nobly did he play his part.
His genial, homely, cheery muse,
Like blink of sunshine, can infuse
A happiness in heart and dwallin'.
I'm much in love with honest Allan.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 19
EPISTLE TO MR Gow, DUNDEE.
T^v EAR Mr Gow, I 'm proud to say
^^^ That at the great match yesterday
I, with your Schultze and number six,
Gave some a fricht and some their licks.
No doubt some champion shots were there,
But, faith, I gave them all a scare.
From first to last, all through the fight,
Schultze fairly beat their Ballastite.
Your Schultze is strong, and swift, and clean,
With little noise, no smoke is seen ;
Where penetration is the test
I always think it is the best.
20 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
A SANG o' THE FIVE SENSES.
'"PO put in rhyme noo I'll contrive
Wee bonnie baby's senses five,
An' mak' them in fine order run
To please mysel' I '11 do 't for fun.
Wee baby blue een,
Toddlin' up an' doon the green,
Facie washed and handies clean,
Bonnie baby blue een.
Clear the road, noo, ane an' a',
An' gi'e 'im room to rin.
There he goes ! Tak' care ; he '11 fa',
An' then we '11 hear a din ;
Toddlin' up an' toddlin doon
A' day lang, the lichtsome loon.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 21
Wee baby sma' ears.
There come to me strange thochts an' fears :
God grant he may ha'e mony years,
Bonnie baby sma' ears.
Clear the road, &c.
Wee baby little tongue.
Jeely piece when sangie 's sung ;
Roond the hoose has laughter rung,
Bonnie baby little tongue.
Clear the road, &c.
Look at baby's face and handy
A' besmeared wi' stour, an' candy
Sent frae guid auld Uncle Sandy,
An' mammie had 'im sic a dandy.
Clear the road, &c.
22 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
Rubbin' nosie ! ay, yer sleepy.
Mammie, bath her little sweepie,
Cuddle doon syne in yer creepie,
Dainty little man.
Bonnie baby little nosie,
See his cheekies red and rosy,
Soon will he be sleepin cosy,
Cuddlin' into mammie's bosie,
Bless the little man.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 23
\0n sending a copy of Samuel Noble's poems, " Rhymes
and Recollections," to a friend.]
A WITTY man is sailor Sam.
His " Rhymes and Recollections "
Are packed as fu' as they can cram
Wi' humorous reflections.
He sings o' country, hame^ and wife
Wi' a' a poet's ardour ;
He seeks to cheer the gloom o' life
Wi' love, life's great rewarder.
For actions mean an' low an' base
He has the lash sarcastic,
But for a' guid his jolly face
Is radiantly elastic.
Nae doot wi' me ye will agree
When his braw book ye end it :
There 's smeddum lurkin' in the e'e
O' the birkie that has penned it.
24 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
Suppose we whummle ower his name,
An' put Sam after Noble !
As Noble Sam we '11 send him hame,
In Fame's braw gaucy cobble.
Read through the bookie, an' ye '11 find
The upward road aye airtit.
If no' in gold, he 's rich in mind,
An' kind an' feelin' hertit.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 25
Ode to Spring.
T TAIL. February! art thou here
To usher in the Spring ?
The shortest month of all the year,
Rare pleasures you do bring.
The crocuses and snowdrops white
In plentitude abound,
The clusters here from left to right
Smile sweet above the ground.
Their beauteous petals charm the eye
Beneath the sheltering trees,
Nodding their heads responsively
To every passing breeze.
They bid us all be of good cheer
Through cold and stormy days ;
Though blustering March may wild appear,
They tune our hearts to praise.
The genial showers with April come.
To burst the golden grain,
And birds and bees harmonious roam
The glorious world again.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 27
[Composed while night watching, and recited to my
comrades there and then.}
T ADS, I 'm thinkin' on a plan
To catch that slouchin' man
By my faith he 's gi'en us bother for a while
We '11 gae up to yon high gate
And in secret there await
If we 've patience we may nab him at the style.
Should we chance to get 'im there
Busy tryin' to net a hare,
We '11 a' surroond the hakin', poachin' loon ;
And although it 's midnicht eerie
We '11 conduct him doon to Perie,
Wha'll then escort him safe to Forfar toon.
I 've nae doot ye '11 a' agree
That before oor Sheriff Lee
He '11 get his due reward there in oor sicht ;
For the Sheriff sternly says,
" Go to prison sixty days,"
And we'll a' in chorus say, " It serves him richt."
28 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
I suppose ye ken the man ?
Just our local Quarry Dan,
A rakin', poachin' chield as a' can tell 's ;
By my faith, we'll let him know
That he 's been to us a foe,
And then he '11 cool his heels in Forfar cells.
Did we tak' him to Dundee
No' at a' pleased would we be,
For the Sheriff there's a lenient man, ye ken.
Frae his lofty, high position
He just gi'es an admonition,
And what effect has that on poachin' men ?
So tak' tent, ye poachin chaps,
Have a care o' gates an' slaps,
For the gamies noo are watchin' oot at nicht;
Should they chance to get you nettin',
Or just lookin' for a settin',
They may gi'e you something sourer than a fricht.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 29
AN OWRE TRUE TALE.
"TV TAK' them strong and mak' them neat,
Mak' them braw to fit my feet ;
Draw them tight in every steek,
That they may keep my soles frae weet.
As far as I can richt remember,
My boots were ordered in September :
October month has since gone past,
And not a boot yet on the last ;
And now November 's nearly gone,
And bootless I am still, ochone !
My present pair are water-lippers,
The soles are fa'in' frae the uppers.
30 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
My boots to hand with morning post.
By jove they 're grand but what 's the cost ?
I fear the sum will not be small
For your good workmanship with awl.
The soles, the tackets, rings, and leather,
Weel shaped, weel built, an' put th'gether :
From taecaps to the heels behind
They charm my e'e an' please my mind.
I 've had them on, they fit me fine ;
I '11 soond yer praise for auld lang syne
In rhymin' ware, a good credential.
Though slow to come, they 're most substantial.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 31
[On sending a bit of pork to a friend.]
T^vEAR Mr James, I 'm proud to tell
My pig I killed this day mysel',
And herewith send to you a share,
Trustin' you '11 a' enjoy it rare.
It's better, far than meat that 's cann'd,
So now do take it off my hand.
Your cabbage leaves and stocks so fine
Did help to fatten up my swine,
And just because you gave them free
Accept this gift of pork from me.
The puddings and the potted head
Require some time before they 're made,
But when they 're made you '11 have some too,
Just for your kindness to my soo.
32 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
[To a blacksmith friend, along with horse's hoojs to
be dressed and mounted.]
HP HE hoofs of a horsie I send you herewith
To dress up, to mount, and complete,
For to nae ither man than to Charlie the smith
Would I lippen to do them up neat.
May your bellows lang blaw and your anvil lang ring,
An' soondly at nicht may you sleep ;
May routh o'Jguid cheer ilka day with it bring,
An' hale at the heart may you keep.
I 've tried to express my best wishes in metre
You ken weel the heart o' the " Keeper "-
They micht ha'e been neater an' very much sweeter,
But excuse an auld cronie an' nieper.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 33
A token or Respect.
[On presenting a pipe to a friend.]
~\ T THEN at your work or at the fire,
J ust use your cutty, clay, or briar ;
But when you Ve business into town,
Be sure you take your meerschaum down.
Ne'er take your pipe without its case
When not in use, then that 's its place.
Unless you have a mind to smoke it,
Be sure and keep it in your pocket.
And when you go a holiday,
Then leave behind your common clay ;
Enjoy life with the better sort,
And this love-gift with pleasure sport.
A meerschaum straight, with silver plate,
We thought it best to give you, mate,
Out of respect, with right goodwill,
So please accept, and smoke your fill.
34 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
\On presenting a walking stick to Mr David Nicol, Fothring-
ham, on his leaving for Pearsie, Kirriemuir.]
T N parting from you it is fair
That I should pay respect that 's due :
At trystin' time ye aye were there,
And aye sae trusty, leal, and true.
So please accept this stick from me,
And use it when you go from home
For pleasure dressed, bound for Dundee,
Or when you into Kirrie roam.
It 's no' a heavy, big work horse,
Nor yet is it a Shetland pony :
A roadster bred, that was its source
You '11 find it nobby, brown, and bonny.
Noo dinna let this rhyme be ravellin',
The breed o' this shalt is a cleavelin'.
So take it when you go a swell,
And if you strike wi 't, mind have mercy.
May health and wealth aye with you dwell
Through many happy years at Pearsie.
36 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
1. Woe! unto you shoemakers, for you make
promises that you do not fulfil.
2. How long must a customer wait for that which
he expecteth, but which never cometh ?
3. How long must he smother his anger and control
his temper when your refuges of lies are overturned ?
4. Verily, the patience of Job would fail if tried by
at last ! I '11 droon my anger,
An' rashly speak o' you nae langer.
You mak' a job, though lang aboot it,
An' for a snob your praise I '11 toot it.
I 'm pleased to write aboot my feet,
At lang length made secure frae weet ;
Wi' tackets a' arranged in threes
Dash 't, I now walk wi' perfect ease.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 37
No man need wish for better goods
To tramp through fields or dens or woods ;
The soles are fine an' firm an' broad
The very thing for hill or road.
They '11 suit me weel for kirk or market,
For stane or wooden floor or carpet,
I '11 even try them on the bike :
Where'er I gang I '11 be wiselike.
38 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
At Itturtblp Castle.
'LL always remember
The sixth of November
Eighteen hundred and ninety-nine,
All care laid aside,
To Murthly I hied,
And a heart full of pleasure was mine.
Few estates can compare
With the Castle grounds there,
And the Tay rushing onward in spate
Was a sight truly grand
Through the beautiful land
It charmed me both early and late.
And the echoing sound
Of the trains as they bound
Through the woods in their glory and might,
Over rivers and rills,
Skirting mountains and hills,
To me was a source of delight.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 39
The ricochet shocks
As the sound struck the rocks
Distant far from the hunter who fired ;
The bang and the flame,
And the motionless game
All these sights and sounds I admired.
The toll and the swell
Of the grand Chapel bell
Every hour of the day and the night,
It tolled out the time,
And inspired me to rhyme
These few heartfelt lines I indite.
40 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
Birtbdap Words and Wisbes.
AY a' that's guid watch o'er you,
May hope aye gang before you,
May mercy aye restore you
When thochtless you stap wrang ;
May ilka birthday find you
Mair godly, an' remind you
That life here canna bind you
To Heaven we should belang.
Remember your birthdays, both women and men ;
Remember we 're promised but threescore and ten ;
Remember more given mean labour and sorrow ;
Remember the call, and prepare for the morrow.
M ay all your life be bright,
Y our character a light
W hich leadeth others right.
I nspired with noble zeal,
S tand out that all may feel
H ere lives one true as steel.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 41
A LAMENT FOR A NEIGHBOUR'S CHILD.
T TUSHED is the din at our hearthstone,
The cheer at our fireside,
And home and hearts are dark and lone,
Since our wee Mary died.
With aimless steps from room to room
We wander everywhere,
But all is emptiness and gloom
Wee Mary is not there.
In dreams we hear her pattering feet
Upon the nursery floor;
We see her running forth to meet
Her father at the door.
Her wisdom was above her years,
Her looks were grave and wise ;
We could not bear to see the tears
Bedim her bright blue eyes.
42 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
But when we saw grim death appear,
How pale the face she wore ;
Our cherished hope was changed to fear ;
We knew then all was o'er.
Her artless words, her winning ways,
We love to muse upon ;
And grief and joy alternate sways
Our hearts while all alone.
O parents, dry your \veeping eyes :
God hears the mourner's prayer ;
Wee Mary's soul 's in Paradise,
Where all is bright and fair.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 43
Better beg your account than be begged for it.
by sendin' my account,
Just by return o' post;
I 'm sure 'twill be a big amount,
Still, I must bear the cost.
We canna want oor milk an' meal,
Whatever else may flee :
They keep us always strong an' weel,
Far better than the tea.
An' mony thanks for your kind thocht,
Ne'er pressin' me for siller ;
We 've lang been freends, for lang I 've bocht
Frae good John Todd the miller.
Lang rin the burnie past your door,
An' lang supply your wheel
Wi' drivin' pooer to mak' the flour
An' grind your famed aitmeal.
44 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
Cbc Cransoaal Wan
S~\ H ! that this awful war would cease,
That we again might live in peace
So sighs the nation ; yet with this
There blends the cry for righteousness.
We long for peace, but stronger grows
The British spirit to oppose
All tyranny that enslaves the race,
And gives not freemen freedom's place.
We long for peace, but rather far
Than freedom die we welcome war.
When truth and justice go before,
We '11 fight as warriors fought of yore ;
And when the ruthless foe shall cease,
We '11 welcome honourable peace.
HILLSIDE MUSINGS. 45
fl Friend Indeed.
[On sending a Postal Order.]
TTEREWITH you'll find enclosed four bob-
In other words, a double florin ;
To be in debt 's an awful job,
A thing I do detest and scorn.
Yet innocently I was led
The ither day into this debt,
So please now, Mr Aitkenhead,
This, with best wishes, do accept.
And many thanks for trusting me
So kindly in this sma' transaction ;
As sure 's I 'm here I will not lee
I left my hame withoot a fraction.
46 HILLSIDE MUSINGS.
You understand, though, all the same,
The reason I applied to you :
The man I trysted never came
To pay me money that was due.
Excuse this hurried note in rhyme,
I haste to pay the debt I owe ;
I '11 give you news another time,
Meanwhile accept this P.O.O.