James Fisher ( )

On Halloween

The sun was neulins doun the lift,
	The ky bun i the byre,
While chiels did sit in gay gude tift,
	Wi hizzies roun the fire; 
To crack broun nits was a their thrift,
	Until their teeth did tire,
An nows an thans, there cam a drift
	O younkers through the mire,
			To them that night.
When ance a gay wheen chiels were met,
	Quoth Jock, wha was right vandy,
I think I will burn gaussie Bet,
	Alang wi neighbour Sandy:
Twa nits then i the ingle set:
	Quoth a thats just the dandie;
She pussd, when she grew gay an het,
	At him; shell be a randie,
			Quoth a that night.
A gaitling unto Saney said,
	Shell be a sulky kimmer, 
Gif ye get her ye will be laid,
	I doubt, to use the timmer.
Wheesht! to the waen, then quoth its dad,
	Ye little gabin limmer, 
Or Ise soon sen ye to your bed,
	As I did ance a simmer; 
			Dye min that night?
At burning pairs right lang they wrought;
	But ane Meg Graham had hechd, 
Gif she were spard, as sure as ought,
	To see that lucky night,
She to the barn wad gang, she thought,
	An tak wi her a weight, 
An there wad winnow three times nought;
	To do this she gaed straight,
			Alane that night.
What she saw there I dinna ken, 
	But I think she repented
That she gaed there, for sic an en, 
	Her cheeks right white were painted;
She cam in wi an unco sten, 
	An near had gaen demented,
An glowrd, an shook, as she cam ben,
 	An very nearlins fainted
			Clean out that night.
Her fearfu gapes, and glowrin een, 
	Did fley auld Madge her mither,
Wha met her i the trance that een. 
	As she cam wi a fither:
She thought a spectre she had seen,
	Sae roun her a the gither 
She drew a score, an cryd, bideen!
	Avoid ye!  come na hither
			Pale ghost! this night.
Kate wha was drapping in an egg,
	mang water in a kitty, 
An looking at the same fu gleg,
	To see her house sae pretty,
Soon heard the noise an wi a fleg,
	To hide did rin some bittie; 
But in cam Madge, alang wi Meg,
	An cryd, its but your tittie, 
			Lass  dinna fright!
After this hurry a was by,
	A younker said right keen, 
I think our fortunes we will try,
	Wi water foul an clean; 
Then kinkins twa accordingly,
	Wi ilk they got bideen, 
An eke ane toom, and then did tie
	Wi napkins ithers een,
			Fu close that night.
Some plungd their hands amang the clean, 
	An thought they were fu luckie;
Next cam a taylor fidgin keen, 
	An daubled like a deucky
Amang the foul; an cryd, I ween, 
	Nae maidenhead for Jocky,1
A weel, quoth he, the like has been,
	I dinna care a buckie
			For that this night,
Some blinlans to the yard were led
	That night, to pu kail runts, 
Some pud lang straught anes, an were glad,
	An some pud wee bould bunts.
A chiel wha was na owr weel bred,
	On Kate passd some affronts, 
Syne she slipt in an gaed to bed,
	For she had taen the drunts
			Fu fair that night.
Some at a corn stack, neist did draw
	Three straes, by ane at aens, 
To see how mony they ava
	Wad ever hae o waens:
An some to winnocks gaed awa, 
	To hear their sweethearts names;
But Jean Gun got a filthy fa 
	Amang the dirt an stanes,
			Upo that night.
Meg Simm she next to try her lot,
	Steald out a clue o yarn, 
Sae straught gaed to a deep kiln pot,
	Her fortune for to learn:
Within the same she made it slot,
	An walld sae weel her arm. 
That on the greesh she maist it broke,
	Whilk did her meikle harm,
			For mony a night.
Twa neighbour cats that liked fun, 
	There, watch for mice were laying,
Sae wi the thread that she did win, 
	Did quickly fa a playing:
She thought to had he was begun,
	Sae this she fell a-saying,  
Wha hads my thread, that was weel spun?
	By ran a black tip maying,
			Whilk did her fright.
The cats too faught, an gaed great squeels,
	From a whilk she did gather, 
What hel her thread was nought but deils;
	Sae light like ony feather
She ran, the tip close at her heels, 
	Wha loose was frae his tether,
An wi his horns lent her gude reels, 
	Upo her backside leather,
			Gaen hame that night.
The door she cam in like a fool,
	An flangt to wi a blatter, 
Her heart did nearly burst the hool,
	When she cam to to clatter;
O firs, quoth she, the ghost o Cool2 
 	Has gien me mony a batter!
An tald the gate  then frae their stool, 
	Scarce ane to mak his water
			Durst rise that night.
Auld Halbert jied his wig aside,
	An seriously said, Meggy, 
On Andra Johnston3 did he ride,
	Wha seres him for a naggie?
Quoth she, to look I did na bide,
	But, fast as I coud leggie, 
I ran, yet wae did me betide,
	He lent me mony a fleggie,
			Fu fair this night.
Sunket then at the door did reel, 
	Ilks heart lap like a pliver 	
Meg rumishd owr the spinning wheel, 
	An swarfd clean a the gither.
Ilk wee bit wean fu lowd did squeel, 
	An claspd about its mither;
An scarce a hizzie or a chiel, 
	Durst part frae ane anither,
			Till fair clay light.

1 Such, or worse vulgar immodest words, are too common among young people when they convene on such a night, in order to celebrate those ludicrous customs, which are nothing but the offspring of black popery and superstition. It is to be feared parents, and masters who have the charge of servants, do not consider as they ought, the pernicious effects of such a conduct.

2 A man, I understand, some time ago laird of that ground, whom some ignorant people suppose to have appeared after his death.

3 One of Cools tenants.

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James Fisher's other poems:
  1. Epistle II. To Mr. Thomas Walker
  2. An Epistle to Mr. John Lapraik
  3. Epistle I. To Mr. Thomas Walker
  4. The Devils Advice to Swearers

Poems of another poets with the same name ( ):

  • Janet Little ( ) On Halloween ("Some folk in courts for pleasure sue")

     . Poem to print (Print)

    : 2501

    To English version

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