Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Our Local Scenery

Smoorin' wi' reek an' blacken'd wi' soot,
Lowin' like Etna an' Hecla to boot,
Ought o' our malleables want ye to learn?-
There's chappin' an' clippin' an' sawin' o' airn;
Burnin' an' sotterin', reengin' an' knockin';
Scores o' puir mortals roastin' an' chokin'.
Gizzen'd an' dry ilka thrapple an' mouth,
Like cracks in the yird in a het simmer drouth;
They're prayin', puir chiels, for what dae ye think?
It's no daily bread, it's drink, 'Gi'e us drink!'
'Callan,' quo' I, 'ye maun rin like a hatter,
Bring up twa pails fou o' clear caller water;
Be aff, noo, ye imp! come back at a canter,
Keep oot o' the store, or I'll fell ye instanter!'
Wae on the store an' the publican's bar,
It's no a haet better-sometimes it's waur;
Men, when they're het, hoo they sweat an' they swear,
Coup up the whisky an' toom doun the beer.
While droonin' their brains an' toomin their purses
The verra air rings wi' oaths an' wi' curses.
It's no just a pay or an orra bit fuddle-
Aft in a day they guzzle an' muddle.
The puir wifie says there's little comes till her,
It's the drink, it's the drink that licks up the siller.
Licks up the siller! wha is't that can count,
Reckon an' add up the fearfu' amount
Wasted on drink at ilk airn-makin' station-
Drink, ever drink, the curse o' our nation?
An' O siccan Sabbaths! O siccan weans!
Rantin' an' playin' an' castin' o' stanes.
Hearken, thae toddlin' bit things hoo they swear;
Had I wings like a doo I wadna be here-
I wad flee far awa' an' seek oot a rest
Whaur drinkin' an' swearin' nae mair wad molest.
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