Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

A Lay Of The Loch An' The Muirlan'

'The Short And Simple Annals of The Poor'

A lanely loch, a muirlan' broon,
A warl' o' whins an' heather,
Whaur aft, whan life was young, I strayed,
The berries blae to gather.
Sae bonnie bloomed the gowden broom,
Sae green the feathery bracken,
An' rosy brier, dear to my e'en,
Ere licht had them forsaken.
Hoo saftly, calmly, sweetly fell
That dewy, simmer gloamin',
Whan I alang the lanely loch
To muse and dream gaed roamin'.
The star o' luve her lamp had lit,
The sun's last rays were glancin'
Oot owre the wee, wee curlin' waves,
Like water-spunkies dancin'.
The wild duck stay'd her paidlin' feet
To nestle 'mang the rashes,
The loupin' braise an' perch fell back
Wi' mony plouts an' plashes;
An' there, deep anchored in the loch,
The water lilies floatin',
Like pearly skiffs to bear the crews
Whan fairies tak' to boatin'.
O! is't a maiden's mournfu' sang
That owre the loch is stealin',
In strains sae waesome an' sae sweet,
A tale o' luve revealin'?
If sae, she sings nae a' her lane:
Hark! frae that lanely dwallin'
Sweet voices mair than twa or three
The silvery chorus swallin'.
O! leeze me on that laigh wee cot,
The hame o' Wabster Johnnie;
An' leeze me on his dochters five,
A' warkrife, gude, an' bonny.
An' oh! hoo sweet at gloamin' hour
To hear thae lassies singin',
An' 'Banks an' braes o' bonnie Doon'
Alang the waters ringin'.
Noo Johnnie was a wabster gude,
An honest man an' truthfu';
Tho' saxty winters snaw'd his pow,
He leukit hale an' youthfu'.
Gude hame-spun yarn he weel could weave,
In druggit, harn, or blanket,
For cotton yarn, the feckless trash,
Nae customer he thankit.
O! weel he lo'ed his gude auld wife,
A canty, clever body,
That wrocht her wark, an' ca'd her pirns,
An' never needed toddy.
An' peace was in their lowly hame,
They lo'ed ilk ither truly;
An' love an' peace will often meet,
Whaur God is worshipp'd duly.
An' wooers aften cam' galore
To see thae lassies bonnie-
A' decent chiels-for unco strict
Anent his bairns was Johnnie.
An' wad ye ken what them befel
Whan frae the wabster's ingle
The fivesum gaed to ither hames
Wi' unco folk to mingle?
First bonnie Jean, syne couthie Jen',
An' blithesome, winsome Annie,
Were wed, an' passed wi' kind gudemen
Alang life's road fu' canny.
But Mysie, aye sae blate an' douce,
An' Nannie snell an' clever,
Baith kept their hauns to ser' themsel's
In single life for ever.
An' toddlin' wee things cam' belyve
To see their lochside grannie-
To climb the knees, an' clasp the necks
O' Aunties May an' Nannie.
An' time an' tide, that bide for nane,
Brocht changes grit an' mony,
An' scored the broo, an' dimm'd the een,
An' boo'd the back o' Johnnie.
The treddles noo cam' to a staun,
The lay nae mair gaed duntin',
An' by the fire he maistly sat,
His cutty seldom luntin'.
The sisters saw wi' tearfu' een
That grannie's health was failin',
An' tended her wi' muckle care,
For she was sairly ailin'.
The twa, sae pleasant in their lives,
In death were undivided-
Ae heart, ae hope on yirth, ae hame
In Heaven by grace provided.
Three owks between the sair-worn clay,
To mither yirth's safe keepin'
Were gi'en. Lang ha'e the aged pair
Been in her bosom sleepin'.
The loch is lanely noo nae mair;
Whaur heather, broom, an' bracken
Ance clad the muir, the yellow corn
By wastlin' win's is shaken;
An' Johnnie's cot the iron hoof
O' railroad desecration
Has trampit doun-see, there's the line,
An' there's the railway station.
160 Total read