Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Rhymes For The Times: I

I've juist been thinkin', neebour Johnie,
Gif that the warl had mendit ony-
Since, for the wurkin' man's disasters,
We've got sae mony sa's an' plaisters.
I've leukit laigh-I've leukit heigh-
The gude time comin's unco driegh;
There's routh o' teachers, schules, an' beuks,
Chapels an' kirks in a' the neuks,
Academies an' institutions,
Wi' scientific contributions,
On whilk ye may pit a' reliance,
An' muckle tauk on social science,
Mechanics, engineerin', minin',
The gate o' cleanin' an' refinin'
Oor hooses, streets, oor coorts an' closes,
An' a' that hurts oor health an' noses;
'Bout chemistry, steam, gas, an' win',
The vera lichtnin's luggit in,
An' music, paintin', architecture,
A' weel rede up in mony a lecture.
We meet tae argue what we think,
We meet tae cow that horrid drink,
We meet tae read, recite, an' sing,
An' mony a queer conceitie thing.
Noo, wurkin' men yersel's respec',
Nor leeve in ignorance an' neglec';
Ye've means, but want the wull tae use them,
Ye whiles neglec', an' whiles abuse them;
Ye hae nae time for e'en'in' classes;
Ye've time tae drink, an' see the lasses-
Staun at hoose-en, or change-hoose door,
An' smoke, an' swear, an' raise a splore,
An' play at cards, or fecht wi' dougs,
An' whiles tae clout ilk ither's lugs;
O wad ye no be muckle better,
Tae read a beuk, or write a letter?
Had ye the wull, wi' beuk an' pen,
Ye'd fin' the way tae mak' ye men.
An' mithers, dae ye ken the poo'rs,
The strength for gude or ill, that's yours,
An' that the gabbin', todlin' things,
That's hingin' be yer apron strings,
Wull be a millstane roun' yer neck
Tae droon yer sauls, if ye neglec'
Tae win their hearts, an' train their min',
In a' that's virtuous, gude, an' kin'?
Yer lassocks, that ye tak' sic pride in,
Hae muckle need o' carefu' guidin';
Mislippent sair they've been, I ween-
They gang ower muckle oot at e'en;
An' fallows are grown sae misleart,
The glaikit things micht weel be feart,
For aften dule an' burnin' shame
Comes poisonin' mony a puir man's hame,
An' gars ye greet, an' rage, an' flyte,
An' the puir faither maist gang gyte;
An' puir aul' Scotlan' hings her heid
An' bids ye leuk tae this wi' speed;
Her bonnie lassocks, bune a' ithers,
She bids you guard-O mithers! mithers!
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