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Poem by Janet Little


On Halloween


Some folk in courts for pleasure sue,
	An some ransack the theatre:
The airy nymph is won by few;
    Shes of so coy a nature.
She shuns the great bedaubd with lace,
    Intent on rural jokin
An spite o breeding, deigns to grace
    A merry Airshire rockin,
			Sometimes at night.

At Halloween, when fairy sprites
    Perform their mystic gambols,
When ilka witch her neebour greets,
    On their nocturnal rambles;
When elves at midnight-hour are seen,
    Near hollow caverns sportin,
Then lads an lasses aft convene,
    In hopes to ken their fortune,
			By freets that night.

At Jennet Reids not long ago,
    Was held an annual meeting,
Of lasses fair an fine also,
    With charms the most inviting:
Though it was wat, an wondrous mirk,
    It stoppd nae kind intention;
Some sprightly youths, frae Loudon-kirk,
    Did haste to the convention,
			Wi glee that night.

The nuts upon a clean hearthstane,
    Were placd by ane anither,
An some gat lads, an some gat nane,
    Just as they bleezd the gither.
Some sullen cooffs refuse to burn;
    Bad luck can neer be mended;
But or they a had got a turn,
    The pokeful nits was ended
			Owre soon that night.

A candle on a stick was hung,
    An tid up to the kipple:
Ilk lad an lass, baith auld an young,
    Did try to catch the apple;
Which aft, in spite o a their care,
     Their furious jaws escaped;
They touchd it ay, but did nae mair,
     Though greedily they gaped,
			Fu wide that night.

The dishes then, by joint advice,
     Were placd upon the floor;
Some stammerd on the toom ane thrice,
     In that unlucky hour.
Poor Mall maun to the garret go,
     Nae rays o comfort meeting;
Because sae aft shes answered no,
     Shell spend her days in greeting,
			An ilka night.

Poor James sat trembling for his fate;
     He lang had dreed the worst ot;
Though they had tuggd and ruggd till yet,
     To touch the dish he durst not.
The empty bowl, before his eyes,
     Replete with ills appeared;
No man nor maid could make him rise,
     The consequence he feared
			Sae much that night.

Wi heartsome glee the minutes past,
     Each act to mirth conspired:
The cushion game performd at last,
     Was most of all admired.
From Janets bed a bolster came,
     Nor lad nor lass was missing;
But ilka ane wha caught the same,
     Was pleasd wil routh o kissing,
			Fu sweet that night.

Soon as they heard the forward clock
      Proclaim twas nine, they started,
An ilka lass took up her rock;
      Reluctantly they parted,
In hopes to meet some other time,
      Exempt from false aspersion;
Nor will they count it any crime,
      To hae sic like diversion
			Some future night.



Janet Little


Janet Little's other poems:
  1. Written January First, 1792
  2. An Extemporary Acrostic
  3. The Rival Swans
  4. A Young Ladys Lamentation
  5. The Captivated Soldier


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • James Fisher On Halloween ("The sun was neulins doun the lift")

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