Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Spunkie

O, what's come o'Spunkie; can naebody tell
Whaur it dances an' blinks at e'en on the fell?
It's lang since I saw the bit flickerin' licht
Skippin' roun' the bog holes an' mosses at nicht.
The lichts o' langsyne are noo laid on the shelf,
An' maybe they've smoor't the wee wannerin' elf,
Or sous'd the bit Spunk in some broun mossy stank,
Sae deep that it canna win up to the bank.
Oor auld faithers thocht that some uncanny thing
Gaed dancin' wi' Spunkie, puir bodies to bring-
Wha tint the richt gate, in the dark howe o' nicht-
Into danger an' dool wi' his cheatrie licht.
A tale aboot Spunkie I here hae to tell,
It was frae my mither's ain lips that it fell:
Her grannie, she said, a guid mither an' wife,
Had followed the imp to the loss o' her life.
On the muir she had wanner't ae misty hairst nicht,
An' saw no far distant a waverin' licht;
That licht is a lamp in some winnock, thocht she,
I wonner wha aughts it, but sune I sall see.
She never cam' hame, but they trackit her feet
To the moss; it was there wi' death she did meet,
In a boggy well-e'e owre heid she had sunk,
Beguil'd by the licht o' the wannerin' Spunk.
Auld Spunkie's sair wyted for mony misdeeds.
His wild licht ne'er guides us, but aften misleads;
Whan wanner't in darkness an' oot o' the way,
It dances and dazzles to lead us astray.
There's mony a Spunkie that dazzles oor een,
An' dances before us to ruin, I ween;
Tak' tent o' the Spunkie that wilders the brain-
That leads ye to danger, to poortith, an' pain.
There's a licht frae abune, sae steady an' pure,
Sae true, we may follow, frae danger secure;
That licht never dazzles or leads us astray,
In the darkest o' nichts it shines on the way.
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