William Bell Scott.
O I hae come from far away,
From a warm land far away,
A southern land across the sea,
sailor-lads about the mast,
Merry and canny, and kind to me.
And I hae been to yon town
To try my luck in yon town;
Nort, and Mysie, Elspie too.
braw we were to pass the gate,
Wi gowden clasps on girdles blue.
Mysie smiled wi miminy1 mouth,
Innocent mouth, miminy mouth;
Elspie wore a scarlet gown,
grey eyes were unco gleg2.
My Castile comb was like a crown.
We walkd abreast all up the street,
Into the market up the street;
Our hair with marigolds was
Our bodices with love-knots laced,
Our merchandise with tansy bound.
Nort had chickens, I had cocks,
Gamesome cocks, loud-crowing cocks;
Mysie ducks, and
For a wee groat or a pound;
We lost nae time wi gives and takes.
Lost nae time, for well we knew,
In our sleeves full well we knew,
When the gloaming came
Duck nor drake, nor hen nor cock
Would be found by candle-light.
And when our chaffering all was done,
All was paid for, sold and done,
We drew a glove on
We sweetly curtsied, each to each,
And deftly danced a saraband.
The market-lassies lookd and laughd,
Left their gear, and lookd and laughd;
They made as
they would join the game,
But soon their mithers, wild and wud3,
With whack and screech they stoppd
Sae loud the tongues o randies4 grew,
The flytin5 and the skirlin6 grew,
At all the windows in
Wi spoons or knives, wi needle or awl,
Was thrust out every hand and face.
And down each stair they throngd anon,
Gentle, semple, throngd anon:
Souter7 and tailor,
The ancient widow young again,
Simpering behind her fan.
Without a choice, against their will,
Doited8, dazed, against their will,
The market lassie and
The farmer and his husbandman,
Hand in hand dance a thegither.
Slow at first, but faster soon,
Still increasing, wild and fast,
Hoods and mantles, hats and hose,
doffd and cast away,
Left them naked, heads and toes.
They would have torn us limb from limb,
Dainty limb from dainty limb;
But never one of them
Across the line that I had drawn
With bleeding thumb a-widdershin9.
But there was Jeff the provosts son,
Jeff the provosts only son;
There was Father Auld himsel,
Lombard frae the hostelry,
And the lawyer Peter Fell.
All goodly men we singled out,
Waled10 them well, and singled out,
And drew them by the left
Mysie the priest, and Elspie won
The Lombard, Nort the lawyer carle,
I mysel the provosts son.
Then, with cantrip11 kisses seven,
Three times round with kisses seven,
Warpd and woven
there spun we
Arms and legs and flaming hair,
Like a whirlwind on the sea.
Like a wind that sucks the sea,
Over and in and on the sea,
Good sooth it was a mad delight;
every man of all the four
Shut his eyes and laughd outright.