Robert Fergusson ( )


The Daft-Days


Now mirk Decembers dowie face
Glowrs owr the rigs wi sour grimace,
While, thro his minimum of space,
              The bleer-eyd sun,
Wi blinkin light and stealing pace,
              His race doth run.

From naked groves nae birdie sings,
To shepherds pipe nae hillock rings,
The breeze nae odrous flavour brings
              From Borean cave,
And dwyning nature droops her wings,
              Wi visage grave.

Mankind but scanty pleasure glean
Frae snawy hill or barren plain,
Whan winter, midst his nipping train,
              Wi frozen spear,
Sends drift owr a his bleak domain,
              And guides the weir.

Auld Reikie! thourt the canty hole,
A bield for many caldrife soul,
Wha snugly at thine ingle loll,
             Baith warm and couth,	
While round they gar the bicker roll
             To weet their mouth.

When merry Yule-day comes, I trou,
Youll scantlins find a hungry mou;
Sma are our cares, our stamacks fou
              O gusty gear,
And kickshaws, strangers to our view,
              Sin fairn-year.

Ye browster wives, now busk ye braw,
And fling your sorrows far awa;
Then come and gies the tither blaw
              Of reaming ale,
Mair precious than the well of Spa,
              Our hearts to heal.

Then, tho at odds wi a the warl,
Amang oursels well never quarrel;
Tho Discord gie a cankerd snarl
             To spoil our glee,
As langs theres pith into the barrel
               Well drink and gree.

Fidlers, your pins in temper fix,
And roset weel your fiddle-sticks;
But banish vile Italian tricks
               Frae out your quorum,
Not fortes wi pianos mix 
               Gies Tulloch Gorum.

For nought can cheer the heart sae weel
As can a canty Highland reel;
It even vivifies the heel
               To skip and dance:
Lifeless is he wha canna feel
               Its influence.

Let mirth abound, let social cheer
Invest the dawning of the year;
Let blithesome innocence appear
               To crown our joy;
Nor envy wi sarcastic sneer
               Our bliss destroy.

And thou, great god of Aqua Vitae!
Wha sways the empire of this city,
When fou were sometimes capernoity,
               Be thou prepard
To hedge us frae that black banditti,
               The City Guard. 



Robert Fergusson's other poems:
  1. Ode to the Gowdspink
  2. To the Tron-Kirk Bell
  3. The Sitting of the Session
  4. To Sir John Fielding, on his Attempts to Suppress The Beggars Opera
  5. Elegy on the Death of Scots Music


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