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And lang may every Douglas rue,
An' ban the deed for ayeThat deed was done at Liddel bower,
About the break of day.
AULD ETTRICK JOHN.
This, and the four songs that follow, are all compositions of my early youth, made for the sphere around the cottage hearth and the farmer's kitchen-ingle, without the most distant prospect of any higher distinction. Therefore, with all the hankerings of early youth, even in my own estimation they are below par in poetical merit, and ought not to have been here. But they have been such general favourites among the class for which they were framed, for the last thirty years, that to them the leaving out of these songs would make a petrifying blank; it would be like a parent denying the first of his offspring. For the sakes, therefore, of the shepherds, cottagers, and rosy servant maids, these homely songs are preserved, while scores of more polished ones are left out; for nothing can be more satiating than a whole volume of songs all of the same grade.
THERE dwalt a man on Ettrick side,
An honest man I wat was he,
A year afore the thretty-three.
He wed a wife when he was young,
But she had dee'd, and John was wae; He wantit lang, at length did gang
To court Nell Brunton o' the Brae.
Auld John cam daddin' down the hill,
His arm was waggin' manfullye,
As aft he keek'd aside to see;
On ilka leg a ho had he,
His breeks they hardly reach'd his knee;
His coat was thread about wi' green,
The moths had wrought it muckle harm, The pouches war an ell atween,
The cuff was fauldit up the arm; He wore a bonnet on his head,
The bung upon his shoulders lay, An' by its neb ye wad hae read
That Johnnie view'd the milky way:
For Johnnie to himsell he said,
As he came duntin' down the brae, “ A wooer ne'er should hing his head,
But blink the breeze an' brow the day;". An' Johnnie said unto himsell,
“ A wooer risks nae broken banes;
I'll tell the lassie sic a tale
gar her look twa gates at anes.”
But yet, for a' his antic dress,
His cheeks wi' healthy red did glow; His joints war knit and firm like brass,
Though siller-grey his head did grow. An' John, although he had nae lands, Had twa gude kie amang
the knowes; A hunder punds in honest hands,
An' sax-an-thretty doddit yowes.
An' Nelly was a sonsy lass,
Fu' ripe an' ruddy was her mou', Her een war like twa beads o' glass,
Her brow was white like Cheviot woo;
Her cheeks were bright as heather-bells,
Her bosom like December snaw, Her teeth war whiter nor egg-shells,
Her hair was like the hoody craw.
John crackit o' his bob-tail'd yowes ;
He crackit o' his good milk-kie, His kebbucks, hams, an' cogs o’ brose,
An' siller out at trust forby; An'aye he show'd his boordly limb,
As bragging o' his feats sae rare, An' a' the honours paid to him
At kirk, at market, or at fair.
Wi' sicklike say he wan the day,
Nell soon became his dashin' bride; But ilka joy soon fled away
Frae Johnnie's canty ingle side; For there was fretting late an' air,
An' something aye a-wanting still, The saucy taunt an' bitter jeer
Now, sic a life does unco ill.