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Poem by Robert Nicoll


Minister Tam


A WEE raggit laddie he cam' to our toun,
Wi' his hair for a bannethis taes through his shoon:
An' aye when we gart him rise up in the morn,
The ne'er do-well herdit the kye 'mang the corn:
We sent him to gather the sheep on the hill,
No for wark, but to keep him from mischief an' ill;
But he huntit the ewes, an' he rade on the ram!
Sic a hellicat deevil was Minister Tam!

My auld Auntie sent him for sugar an' tea,
She kent na, douce woman! how toothsome was he;
As hamewith he cam' wi't he paikit a bairn,
An' harried a nest doun amang the lang fern;
Then, while he was restin' within the green shaw,
My auld Auntie's sugar he lickit it a':
Syne a drubbin' to miss, he sair sickness did sham:
Sic a slee tricksy shangie was Minister Tam!

But a carritch he took, when his ain deevil bade,
An' wi' learnin' the laddie had maistly gaen mad;
Nae apples he pu'ed now, nae bee-bikes he smoored,
The bonnie wee trouties gat rest in the ford,
Wi' the lasses at e'enin' nae mair he would fight
He was readin' and spellin' frae mornin' to night:
He grew mini as a puddock an' quiet as a lamb,
Gudesakes! sic a change was on Minister Tam!

His breeks they were torn an' his coat it was bare;
But he gaed to the school, an' he took to the lear:
He fought wi' a masterfu' heart up the brae,
Till to see him aye toilin' I maistly was wae.
But his wark is now endit,our Tammie has grown
To a kirk wi' a steeplea black silken gown,
Sic a change frae our laddie wha bare footed cam',
Wi' his wig white wi' pouther is MINISTER TAM!



Robert Nicoll


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


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