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Poem by Robert Nicoll


Our Auld Hearthstane


WHERE ance the cozie fire was bien
    The winter rain-drap owrie fa's;
My father's floor wi' grass is green,
    And roofless are the crumblin' wa's.
Auld thochts, auld times, upon my heart
    Are backward rowin' ane by ane:
We'll bow our boughs and hae a crack
    About them on our auld hearthstane!

Our laigh cot-house I mind fu' weel:
    On ae side mither spinning sat,
Droning auld sonnets to her wheel
    And purring by her side the cat.
Anent was sair-toil'd father's chair,
    Wha tauld us stories, sad and lane,
O' puir folk's waes, until we wished
    Them a' beside our cosh hearthstane,

And when the supper-time was o'er,
    The BEUK was tane as it should be,
And heaven had its trysted hour
    Aneath that sooty auld roof-tree:
Sync ilka wean was sung to sleep
    Wi' sangs o' deeds and ages gane;
And rest was there until the sun
    Cam' blinkin' on our auld hearthstane.

Auld stane, had ye a heart to feel,
    Ye wad been blithe as ony kitten,
To hear o' ilka sang and reel,
    And prank made up while round ye sittin'.
How days o' feastin' cam' wi' speed,
    When dubs were hard as ony bane,
How Pace, and Yule, and Halloween
    Were keepit round our auld hearthstane.

When winter nights grew white and lang,
    The lads and lasses cam' wi' spinning,
And mony a joke and mony a sang
    Gaed round while wheels were busy rinning.
And syne whan ten cam' round about,
    Ilk lasses' joe her wheel has ta'en,
And courting o'er the rigs they gang,
    And leave us and our auld hearthstane!

And meikle mair I could unfauld,
    How yearly we gat rantin' kirns;
And how the Minister himsel'
    Cam duly carritchin' the bairns:
Vow, sic a face!  I tremble yet!
    Gosh guide's! it was an awfu' ane;
It gart our hearts come to our mouths,
    While cowrin round our auld hearthstane!

Weel, weel, the wheels are broken now,
    The lads and lasses auld are dead,
The green grass o'er their graves cloth grow,
    Or gray hairs theek their aged head.
My parents baith are far awa',
    My brithers fechtin', toilin' men,
It warms my heart unto them a',
    The sight o' this our auld hearthstane!

 When I forget this wee, auld house,
    When I forget what here was taught,
My head will be o' little use,
    My heart be rotten, worse than naught.
Sin' birds could sing upo' thae wa's,
    I've been in chaumers mony ane;
But ne'er saw I a hearth like this,
    No, naething like our auld hearthstane.

Hearthstane! though wae, I needna greet,
    What gude on earth wad whingeing do?
The earth has fouth o' trusty hearts,
    Let him wha doubts it speir at you.
Ae wish hae Ithat brither man,
    The world o'er, were bluid and bane,
Sic truthfu', honest, trusty chields,
    As ance sat round our auld hearthstane.



Robert Nicoll


Robert Nicoll's other poems:
  1. The Lass of Turrit Ha
  2. Minister Tam
  3. Auld Donald
  4. The Spinnin'-Wheel
  5. We'll A' Go Pu' the Heather


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