Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Aul' Scotlan'

Aul' Scotlan'! lan' o' cakes an' sang,
O' gude pease scones an' kebbuck whang,
Yer crumpy farls o' ait meal cake,
An' barley bannocks, wha wull bake?
It's no the wife that curls her nose
At cogs o' sowens or cadger's brose,
An' uggs at lang-kail, and wud skail
In dub or sheugh the water kail.
The tea-pat at the ingle lowe
Stauns, beekin' syne wi' laif or row,
Or bakes an' jam, she gusts her gab.
The callans-Geordie, Tam, and Rab-
Wi' no ae hair on chin or cheek,
Gang puffin' oot tobacco reek;
In bed at twal instead o' ten,
An' think that swearin' mak's them men.
Waesucks, there's nocht but dress an' daffin',
An' rinnin' here and there, an' yaffin',
Wi' haveral tongue, 'mang lassocks gilpie.
The aul' fock, turnin' grey an' shilpie,
Fin' oot ower late that want o' trainin'
Tae wark, an' wit, the mither hainin'
Her dochter, while fu' sair she toils,
Is juist the thing that lassocks spoils.
The warl's sair altert. In my day,
Afore my hair grew thin an' grey,
A wife wad thocht it sin and shame
If that she brang nae siller hame.
The warkman's wage was geyan sma',
And sae the wife tuk pirns tae ca',
Or wrocht at the tambourin' tent,
Tae eke the wage an' help the rent.
In hairst she keepit up her rig,
An' left the wee bairns wi' the big;
An' wi' her fee bocht claes an' shoon,
An' keepit aye their heids abune.
The bits o' lassocks, blate and douce,
Wur learnt tae wurk an' red the hoose;
A stripit toush, an' plaidin' coat,
Maist feck o' a' the duds they got.
A towmond ye micht ta'en tae seek,
Nor seen a pipe in callan's cheek,
Or heard an aith. They kept the neuk
Ilk nicht whan faither tuk the beuk,
An' ran at biddin', wrocht their wark,
An' gat their schulin' efter dark.
There's been an unco grit ado,
An' muckle cry an' little woo,
Aboot what big fock ca' the masses-
Whilk means, ye ken, the wurkin' classes;
Tae gie them lear, an' learn the weemin
The airts o' cookery an' cleanin'.
An' noo, ye Scottish wives an' mithers,
This speaks to you abune a' ithers-
Ye maun be geyan sair to blame,
An' weel I wat I think great shame,
That ony man should need tae tell ye
Tae clean your hoose, an' tent your belly
Wi' weel-made-ready halesume meat,
An' tae be carefu' and discreet.
A' this is very gude an' needfu',
But, Oh! ye should be unco heedfu'
Tae airt yer bairns tae a' that's richt,
An' frae a' ill tae warn and fricht;
An' aye be shure ye gie a sample
O' what ye bid in your example.
Your wark's afore ye, never swither-
Be juist a true, gude Christian mither!
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