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L I *. ?\ / |\




Rolling in his mind
Old Waifs of Rhyme

Tennyson's "Brook"






The present edition of WAIFS OF RHYME is the outcome
of requests by friends in humble life, the life which the
Author, through various causes, knows best.

When the RHYMES came from the Printers hands, in 1887,
they were intended solely for private circulation, as indicated
in the Prefatory Couplets, repeated here, the prevailing motive
of Publication at all being the acknowledged impatience of the
writer in making copies of this and that special WAIF.
The private circulation design was overruled by voices to which
there was grateful reason the Author should listen, with the
result that the booklet got, in Publisher's phrase, out of print
in a couple of days, and can now, it appears, be only obtained,
at a somewhat prohibitive price. Hence, and with the above
opening explanation, this new issue.

The first edition of the WAIFS had an introductory, " One
Word" In now prefixing ANOTHER WORD, the Author
desires to repeat that there must be scores of things of like



character from the same pen floating about here and there , but
as they took form through momentary promptings, so they,
apparently, found no abiding place in print. At any rate they
are not at command. It may be noted, however, that the pieces
here included from Page 63 are additions to the original

If these wandering WAIFS OF RHYME afford some amuse-
ment to folks strange to our Northern ways, and bring back to
others pleasant blinks from LANG SYNE, they will have fully
answered their purpose :

"I softly trill my sparrow reed,

Blest if but one should like the twitter,
Humbly I lay it down to heed,
A music or a minstrel Jitter. "

Aberdeen, Christmas, 1890.



WAIFS ... ... ... i

BONNIE DEESIDE ... ... ... ... 2

DAY DREAMING ... ... ... ... 3

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1856) ... ... ... 4

REMEMBRANCE ... ... ... ... 8

TAM TEUCHIT ... ... ... ... 9

SUMMER TIME (Part Song) ... ... ... 10

THE TIFF ... ... ... ... ... n

To ANE FAR AWA' ... ... ... ... 12

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1856) ... ... ... 13

OUR PURVEYOR ROYAL ... ... ... 17

A FACTORY LASSIE'S SANG ... ... ... 19

To ... ... ... ... ... 20

VOLUNTEER ADDRESS ... ... ... ... 21

BRIDAL SONG ... ... ... ... 23

THE PLOUGH... ... ... ... ... 25

SADLY IN A VALE ALONE (Madrigal) ... ... 26

THERE'S AYE SOME WATER, &c. ... ... 27

DRAMATIC EPILOGUE (1859) ... ... ... 29

LIVE AND LET LIVE ... ... ... ... 32

To CELIA ... ... ... ... ... 33

AGGIE'S NEW GOON ... ... ... ... 34

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1865) ... ... ... 35

Ho! GROOM BRING FORTH, &c. (Part Song) ... 37

THE LAIRD o' MORKEU ... ... ... 38

COME, LADY, AND GLADDEN, &c. ... ... 40

NAY! NEVER SAY, &c. (Part Song) ... ... 41

HOOTY-TOOTY (Part Song) ... ... ... 42



MILK AND SCONES ... ... ... ... 43

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1880) ... ... ... 44

A VAGRANT VALENTINE ... ... ... 47

BRIDAL SONG ... ... ... ... 48


VOLUNTEER PROLOGUE (1865) ... ... ... 50

WITH THE FLEET ... ... ... ... 53

MY PRINCESS OF THE HILL ... ... ... 55

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1873) ... ... ... 57

WICKET, BAT AND BALL ... ... ... 60

A MEMORY ... ... ... ... ... 62

KATE o' KIRKHILL ... ... ... ... 63

To J. T. ... 64

SCENE IN THE CIRCLE ... ... ... 65

PEACE OFFERINGS ... ... ... ... 68

A CRICKET LAY ... ... ... ... 69

THE FLOWING CATARRH ... ... ... 72

THE FARMER'S LIFE ... ... ... ... 73

W. S. 74

DRAMATIC ADDRESS (1890) ... ... ... 75

THE QUEER CARLE ... ... ... ... 77

DEE AND DON ... ... ... ... 81


WAIFS of a wilful fancy ; fruit of varied years :
Gladsome with fond memories ; chastened by sad tears.

WAIFS with little reason, perchance of doubtful rhyme ;
Spurrings of good comradeship to hasten tardy time.

WAIFS of changeful humour, of bright and cloudy hours,
Treasured love and sorrow, mingled thorns and flowers.

WAIFS scarce worth the storing. Friend, take them as they stand.
They may recall, in days to come, a humble " vanish'd hand."



When the birk tree like silver is shining,

And the broom on the brae gleams like gold :

When the stag for the deep pool is pining,
And the shorn ewe seeks shelter nor fold :

! then would I roam o'er the heather,
Where often I've wandered in pride,

And twined fern and blue-bell together
Sae blithesome on bonnie Deeside.

1 can see the grey auld Kirk o' Crathie
Balmoral and lythe Carnaquheen !

In the glen glints the hill-shepherd's bothie,

Wi' dark Lochnagar far abeen.
I know not the journey before me !

I care not what troubles betide !
While memory thus can restore me

The joys o' lang-syne on Deeside.

The gloamin' brings back days departed,

I see weel-kent faces ance mair ;
They come, the beloved and leal-hearted,

From silence to solace my care.
Oh ! stay happy dreams of life's morning,

Ye visions of past hours abide,
For ever ye bring in returning

New blessings frae bonnie Deeside.



! that you and I were nutting
In some pleasant English glade,

Our shelter from the summer's sun

The hazel tree's dim shade,
With the woodlark and the linnet gay singing overhead.

Even now my fancy pictures

The spot I long to see,
The home of thy blithe early days

Ere first I looked on thee
And your sweet voice woke up feelings I deemed were dead in me.

1 can trace the path thy footsteps

Made glad with childish mirth ;
(To me there seems no holier place

On this fair bounteous earth
Than the valley of thy girlhood the cottage of thy birth).

Then I think that we are straying

Silent 'mid that happy scene,
And there comes a peal of bridal bells

From yon old church by the green,
And I muse, had we but earlier met, of what there might have been.

'Twas a web of fancy's weaving

Stray, olden, golden gleams
Of youth's warm spring deceiving ;

Hope's sun now colder beams,

And my love-thoughts, and my longings, are but vain and idle




[SCENE. An Apartment with table, sofa, &c. Casket on table,
and books lying around. Mrs. Pollock sitting reading.
After a pause she speaks.]

Ah ! well-a-day ! 'tis utterly in vain,

I've scanned these volumes o'er and o'er again,

In hope to find some simple hint or cue

Might aid me in returning thanks {advances to audience] to you.

But no, 'tis fruitless all, "Love's Labour's Lost,"

And language fails me when I need it most.

True, I have found much measured phrase ; but cold,

And foreign to the heart that would unfold

In words, brief, pointed, easily understood,

How much it feels of deepest gratitude

To those now round me who for years on years,

Have felt my gladness, ay ! and shared my tears.

But this, you'll say, is scarce the time for weeping,

And Mrs. P. is used to public speaking :

Ay ! true again ; but feelings, fancies twine,

And memories crowd amain from Auld Langsyne.

But let that pass. My friends, it seems an age
Since first I trod this dear familiar stage
Since first, when tended by a father's hand,
I formed the youngest of a once famed band ;
Since first, when but a girl, I strove to gain
Your approbation and strove not in vain.


Since first I fell in love I may reveal it

With you, and you, and you [points round theatre] ; why now

conceal it?

Ah, me ! how many scenes these words renew,
Since first I sought your "hands," and found you true.
Then I got lots of vows, love gifts, and letters,
From youths who raved 'bout Cupid's wings and fetters.
Some of these billet-doux lie by me yet,
And one there is I never could forget.

[Goes to casket on table and takes out an old letter.
It was so greenly soft, so full of Hymen's fire
The writer was a bard, and thus he struck his lyre :

[Reads from letter]
"Grant me, Apollo, all thy power,

That I may fitly praise her ;
Fortune, I ask no other dower,

Than just the charming Fraser."
Isn't that very innocent and pretty?
But mark the next verse of the fond youth's ditty,

[Reads] " Her form it is divinely fair,"
That line, I'll vow, he must have stolen somewhere !
[Reads'] "Her form it is divinely fair,

Her eyes sharp as a r&zer;
They've cut into my inmost heart,

And there reigns sweet Miss Fraser."
Ay ! once I " reign 'd," you see, and had my day,
But those fond times are past I've lost my sway,
For all love notes are now addressed expressly
To Langley, Jackman, or Miss Clara Leslie.
Yet, why complain ? Although these things are o'er,
Some joys I have will last for evermore,
Fond cherish'd thoughts that while in time I grew
From Girl to Wife, ye aye were kind and true.


Whate'er my fate where-'er my steps might roam,

Here still I found a welcome and a home. \Goes to casket.

Within this casket treasured tokens lie

That link us all in one strong mutual tie ;

Symbols of seasons fled still prized and dear

Some tempt a smile, while others claim a tear.

Rare hoarded things I would be loath to miss,

Records of days departed, such as this

[Displays large bill inscribed

Of later years I do not need to tell,
The parts I've played ye know them all full well.
I've had my share of sorrow and of gladness
Our brightest hours have all a tinge of sadness
I bow submissive hold the proverb true
" Ilk blade o' grass keps its ain drap o' dew."

[Prompters bell rings.

But, hark ! I'm called, the Prompter's bell has rung,
(When loosed, stop if you can a woman's tongue) !
Just let me say and proudly too, with reason
We're winding up u a most successful season."
No doubt we had our jars and opposition,
Yet there's no cause to mourn "a sad condition."
We've had to face of small guns quite a storm
"Grand" Musical displays "Great" Do-Re-Mi reform.
The College Question, too with prosy Lectures
From Parsons, Doctors, Editors, and Rectors
Parochial Cab-hires Railway competition-
Mackenzie's Act and WombwelPs "^jribition."
Poses Plastiques bewitching raree-shows,
And other ways in which the money goes.
Yet, spite of all these matters to contend with,
I have a very pleasing tale to end with :


Ye have been kind therefore let me be frank,
The Funds are up we stand well at the bank !

And now I'm done yet ere I quit the scene,
One word at parting of our friend M 'Lein.
He's gained your favour and approving smiles,
He's earned my gratitude and shared my toils,
Breathed words of comfort wrought with willing hand
Divined my wishes your enjoyment planned.
From saddest woe some soothing balm is won
I lost a Husband, but I found a Son.

And now, kind friends once more a brief farewell,

[Prompter's bell rings sharply.
Time's up for hark ! the final warning bell.
May-day is here, and we must haste away
To other spheres our mimic parts to play.
Blithe Summer and fair Peace have come together,
The sword is sheathed, the swallow's winging hither.
When "wintr'y winds" drive Autumn from the plain
Here will we pitch our tent and sport again,
With new-culled sweets we'll speed to pleasure you :
Till then we part. Adieu ! [to Boxes. ] Adieu ! [to Pit.] Adieu !

[to Gallery.]



"Though parted, I shall never forget the days when I felt you had^the power
to make me do anything."

Were I a perfect Artist, with skill of brain and hand,

I would set that simple legend in scroll of purest gold ;
With pearls from the utmost depths and gems from furthest strand,
And its splendour should endazzle with a brilliancy untold :
So beautiful and rare,
So exquisite and fair,
And its sheen would never darken nor its loveliness grow old.

Had I the Poet's genius, the Singer's sacred fire,

I would set that simple legend in verse to never die ;
The music should take birth as from some old prophetic lyre,
And the Poet and the Singer in richest strain should vie
Now softly sweet, now loudly grand,
Even as from full seraphic band :
And the hymning chords should echo like the harmonies on high.

Though no Artist skill be mine, nor gifted Minstrel power,

I have set that simple legend on a life-enduring page :
Within my ever faithful breast 'tis treasured as a dower,
To be erased nor altered by tempest nor by age :
To last and ever linger
Till Time's defacing finger
Breaks the memory of a hopeless love, a lone heart's heritage.



I winder gin the hairst Meen shines wi' sic a glarin' licht
On ither toons and pairishes as she glower'd doon here yestreen?

I'm sure a' owre the steadin' 'twas far mair day than nicht
I kenna hoo aboot this time they aye sen' sic a Meen !

Some o' oor chaps were greezin' beets, twa-three were readin' books,

And a' my airt I couldna get Jinse furth amang the stocks.

I like the Simmer weel eneuch, and I like the Winter tee ;

The ane brings leefy hidin' holes the tither's dark as pitch,
Sae that a tryste ye safe may haud and nae gleg body see,

But losh me when the hairst begins ye scarce can heeze or hitch ;
The Meen lichts up a' corners, steals roon the dykes and neuks,
And sit fat side ye like ye're seen if oot amang the stooks.

On Feersday last the maister raise I saw 'tween four and five,
Sae thinkin' he wad weir-awa gey early till his bed,

I tell't Jinse that we had a chance, if she wid but contrive

To slip oot, whan her wark was deen, ahint the auld neep shed

We'd jink the lave, and baffle them, for a' their wiles and crooks

To catch us, and we'd hae an 'oor oorsels amang the stooks.

Jinse cam': O ! she wiz bonnie : if ye'd only seen her hair
A' glancin' dark and wavy, wi' a ribbony roon her neck ;

I think that I could look at her until my een grew sair,

Espeeshly whan she's on yon goon a white-like tartan check ;

They brag aboot braw ladies in their dresses tuck'd wi' hooks,

They're better in fine drawin'-rooms than oot amang the stooks.


Weel, as I said, Jinse cam', and we sat kindly doon thegither,
And happy were we there oor lanes, tho' I didna' like the Meen :

We spoke aboot the klyack nicht, then neist aboot the weather,
And syne a sid stack in my teeth, and I wid steal a preen,

Sae I wiz slippin' roon my airm, whan baith oor wits forsook's

For wha appears but auld Sauchtoon gaun danderin' 'mang his stooks !

* We'll leid the morn, we'll leid the morn ' (he mutters to himsel),
*For tho' the corn's a thochty weet, 'twill mak' the meal the free-er.

Peer Jinse, her wee bit heart I fand wiz beatin' like a bell,
She kent it wid be flittin' term if he should chance to see'er.

When jist in time, the cunnin' Meen behint a black clood jouks,

And in a jiffy we were aff, safe oot amang the stooks !

I said afore I liket weel the Winter and the Simmer,

And I winna' say a wird against the Owtum or the Spring ;

But I'm dootfu' o' a glarin' Meen, she mines me on some limmer
That seeks to spy oot fairlies and syne clype ilka thing :

Yet hairstin, whan the crap is gweed, wirk ye wi' scythes or heuks,

Has mony joys and neen mair dear than coorthV 'mang the stooks.

(Part Song Words).

Soft falling showers refresh the flowers,

The lark aloft is singing ;
While blithe and free across the lea

The school-boy's laugh is ringing,
The kine are browsing on the wold,

The rose the morn perfumeth,
The violet sweet and marigold

In mead and garden bloometh.



Ye manna grip me roun' the waist,

Ye needna dawt my broo ;
Nor sail ye press yer cheek to mine,

And syne slip to my moo :
I maybe like it weel eneuch

But ye deet to Crissy Dollar,
Sae Sandy lat me be besides

Ye're brackin a' my collar !

Ye needna speer what's ailin' me
Ye ken fine what I mean ;

Be quate I winna lat ye noo !
Fa wiz ye wi' yestreen ?

O, I ken a' aboot it lad-
Sandy it's a shame

To tak' up wi' sae mony mair
There, now ! ye've split my kame.

Weel, if yer tellin' true and say

Ye dinna care for Crissy
I'll no be angry ony mair,

And ye may tak' ae' kissie :
On Sunday nicht I'll meet ye tee

Tho' my feelin's ye've been hurtin,
And weer the bonnet that ye like

But ye mauna crush its curtain.



I'll sing a sang to thee, Tom,

Though far frae me and hame ;
For leal thochts come o' thee, Tom,

At the whisper o' thy name.
The waves may beat, the winds may blaw,
The Simmer bloom and Winter snaw,
But morn or nicht sail brak nor fa'
That yer' nae dear to me, Tom.

'Tis years, O ! langsome years, Tom,

Since last I saw yer' face ;
And sometimes I hae fears, Tom,

Anither fills my place.
But hap what will, or come what may,
I'll ne'er forget or blame the day
I promised to be thine for aye,

For thine I hope to be, Tom.

Ye'll read this simple sang, Tom,

In yer hame across the sea ;
And ye'll ken I'm thinking lang, Tom,

To look again on thee :
To hear yer kindly voice ance mair,
To hear ye praise my face and hair,
To hear ye say that nane shall share

Yer heart and hame, but me, Tom.




[SCENE A Parlour. Mrs. Pollock enters at stage door> and
advancing to the middle of the stage, looks cautiously off at
the wings.'}

They're busy there [points behind scenes'], so I've stolen out a


To try a speech if I could but begin it ;
I fain would say how much I thank you all,
For thus responding to our early call,

! pleasant 'tis to look around and see
So many faces brimming o'er with glee ;

The Pit quite crammed the Boxes, they will do,

And of the Gods Gods ! what a jolly crew !

Some come to laugh at little Elliot's frolic,

And not a few to welcome Mrs. Pollock.

For many griefs your presence makes amends

Who could be dumpish with such "troops of friends ! "

Friends, young and old wedged everywhere so tight,

And all to grace us on our Opening Night :

Thanks, patrons, thanks each kindly heart and face

O, "may your shadows never here be less."

Dear, generous friends, but four short months are past,
Since in a scene like this we parted last,

1 promised then, from "fields and pastures new,"
To cull fresh sweets to tempt and pleasure you,


So I have roamed like some blithe busy bee

(Forgive the self-complacent similie),

And, stored, brought home a goodly "swarm" with me;

At least / think so you will justly try,

And let us know the verdict by-and-by.

I hope they'll stand the test and so may thrive,

And bring much honey to our little hive.

Old Time proves all things he will prove this too

Meanwhile, pray tell me, will the Theatre do ?

[Points round Theatre.

The Queen Bee roved, but when across the Border,
She left not drones to put the house in order !

If I can read aright those nods and smiles,
Your taste approves the artist's careful toils.
Our labour thus has not been spent in vain,
So now a word about our year's campaign.
We purpose, then, if Fortune plays us fair,
To bring forth novelties both " rich and rare "
Love Dramas where some interesting maiden
Is woo'd forsaken then with anguish laden,
In tears, and sighing sore with hapless moan,
Wins you to make her sorrow half your own.
Then changed the theme, we'll paint in martial story,
How Britons climbed steep "Alma's hill to glory ! "
And when chill Christmas comes, by trick and rhyme,
We'll frighten Care with merry pantomime,
Yet ever keeping open ears and eyes,
For rising "stars," in home and foreign skies.
All this we'll do, and more, if ye prove heedful,
And keep the wheels agoing with the needful !
Trusting our mimic efforts ne'er may fail
"To point a moral, or adorn a tale."


But while devising new, be not afraid
The grand old drama's power shall ever fade.
Shakespere but second since the world began
To fathom Nature, or to measure Man
Shakespere, immortal ! thy life-glowing page
Shall still shed lustre on the modern stage !
Even now, methinks, thy chief creations rise,
And tread these boards in old familiar guise.
See ! who approaches 'tis the fiendish Jew
" The pound of flesh I here demand my due ;
I stand for judgment." [Gives imitations.

Soft, we have a change,
The sweetest love tale in the drama's range
'Tis Romeo to fair Juliet fond plaint makes,

As angel "light 'through yonder window breaks."

" It is my lady, O ! it is my love,

O, that she knew she were !

She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that ?

Her eye discourses, I will answer it.

I am too bold ; 'tis not to me she speaks :

Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,

Having some business, do entreat her eyes

To twinkle in their spheres till they return.

What if her eyes were there, they in her head ?

The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,

As daylight doth a lamp ; her eyes in heaven

Would through the airy region stream so bright

That birds would sing and think it were not night."

But hark ! who calls with such impetuous force :
"A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse ;
I think there be six Richmonds in the field,
Five have I slain to-day."

The bell hath pealed,


And hush ! the Thane's wife dreaming comes this way.
She speaks "Out damned spot ! out, out, I say,
Fie, my Lord, fie ! a soldier and afeard ?

Come, come, come, come, to bed, to bed, to bed."

Scarce hath she left when, lo ! the clang of swords
Rings from the plain with loud and angry words ;
Macbeth's at bay he fights "Lay on MacdufF,
And damned be he that first cries hold, enough."

But I presume yorfve quite enough of this
Though, really, you must own, 'twas not amiss.
Yet if 'twere wanted I might change the scene,
And give a touch of Melnotte and Pauline ;
Or coming nearer home, with Highland fire and vigour,
Mount plaid and plume, and shout, "my name's Macgregor.'

But all this by-and-by 't is getting late,
The Prompter beckons [looks out} will not longer wait.
On things in general, I need scarcely touch,
There's nothing stirring, or, at most, not much ;
There are no mighty questions to propound
The Links are quiet, and the Czar is crown'd.
Just one word more Walk from the city forth,
A bounteous harvest decks the kindly earth ;
The ruddy reaper sweating o'er his scythe,
With steady stroke keeps all the field full blithe ;
The farmer smiles to see the laden wain
Hie cheerily homewards with the golden grain.
Now, look within our harvest has begun
Shall we smile proudly when the season's done ?
Shall we reap richly have a fair reward
For studious midnights, and for labour hard ?
That lies with you, and there I let it lie,
Hoping the best, and with that hope Good-bye !



I ken a winsome wifikie that keeps a snug bit shoppie,
(It's nae ane o' the temptin' kind whaur ye may get a " droppie,")
For ever brisk and business-like wi' mony gweed things packit
If hungry Frenchmen e'er come here they will be sure to sack it.
Gin ye wad learn its whaur-aboots gang up the Windmillbrae
But the number or the corner I mauna print or say,
For that wad be ower personal, and I might for my folly
Lose baith the service and respect o' blithesome Jeannie Jolly.

O, Jeannie's skill is dear to me, and will be evermair

And lang, I pray, that Jeannie's life auld ruthless Time may spare ;

For whaur's a cook o' Jeannie's worth sae tidy and sae keen

As sharp and bright, frae morn till night, as ony new made preen ?

If ye gaze into her window and yer moo it disna water,

Your thrapple maun be gizzand, like a chiel's fresh aff the batter ;

The bairns stan' roun't in boorichies, and whisper aft "O, golly,

I wiss I bide-it aye in there wi' happy Jeannie Jolly.

Feich ! fa wid live on blubber stuff, and cauld ice made to jelly ?
I pity folk that maun tak' things enough to freeze their belly
Their salads vile o' eggs and ile mixed up in sic a mess,
I canna think hoo Christian men daur ower them say a grace !
Tairts, turtle soops, and sic like trash to me were ne'er a treat,
Nor yon green gear a frien' o' mine ca's "just kye's common meat."
To see hoo fashion hardens folk it's really melancholy
Ye'll get nae sic unnateral stews fae kindly Jeannie Jolly,


Jist study Jeannie's stock-in-trade : Look at the pottit-heid

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Online LibraryWilliam CarnieWaifs of rhyme → online text (page 1 of 5)