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Poem by Robert Nicoll


Janet Macbean


JANET MACBEAN a public keeps,
    An' a merry auld wife is she;
An' she sells her ale wi' a jaunty air,
    That would please your heart to see.
Her drink's o' the bestshe's hearty aye,
    An' her house is cosh an' clean,
There's no an auld wife in the public line
    Can match wi' Janet Macbean.

She has aye a curtsy for the laird
    When he comes to drink his can,
An' a laugh for the farmer an' his wife,
    An' a joke for the farmer's man.
She toddles but, and she toddles ben,
    Like ony wee bit queen
There's no an auld wife in the public line
    Can match wi' Janet Macbean.

The beggar wives gang a' to her,
    An' she serves them wi' bread and cheese;
Her bread in bannocks, an' cheese in whangs,
    Wi' a blithe gudewill she gi'es.
Vow! the kintra-side will miss her sair
    When she's laid aneath the green:
There's no an auld wife in the public line
    Can match wi' Janet Macbean.

Among ale-house wives she rules the roast;
    For upon the Sabbath days
She puts on her weel-hain'd tartan plaid
    An' the rest o' her Sabbath claes;
An' she sits, nae less! in the minister's seat:
    Ilk psalm she lilts, I wean,
There's no an auld wife in the public line
    Can match wi' Janet Macbean.



Robert Nicoll


Robert Nicoll's other poems:
  1. We'll A' Go Pu' the Heather
  2. The Provost
  3. The Ha' Bible
  4. Bonnie Bessie Lee
  5. Fiddler Johnnie


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