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Poem by Robert Nicoll


The Dominie


CAM' ye e'er by our toun?
    Danced ye e'er upon its green?
The smeeky hames o' our toun
    Sae blithesome, ha'e ye ever seen?
There's rantin' chields in our toun
    The wabster, smith, an' monie mae;
But 'mong the lads o' our toun
    The foremost is the Dominie!

'Bout a' auld-farrant things he kens
    The Greeks and bluidy Romans too;
An' ithers wi' auld warld names
    That sairly crook a body's mou'.
He kens the places far awa'
    Where black folk dwall ayont the sea;
An' how an' why the starnies shine
    Is weel kent to the Dominie!

Wi' meikle words an' wisdom nods
    The fleggit fearfu' bairns he rules;
An' he can tell the Hebrew names
    O' aumries an' three-leggit stools!
A dead man's skull wi' girnin' teeth
    Frae out the auld kirkyard has he:
For droll an' gey an' fearsome things
    There's nane can match the Dominie.

O' beuks a warld he has read,
    An' wi' his tongue can fight like mad,
Till ither folk he sometimes mak's
    That they will neither bind nor haud:
And if they're dour and winna ding,
    Their settlin' soon he does them gi'e
Wi' words o' queer lang-nebbit speech
    Sae learned is the Dominie!

There's yon auld soger, wha has been
    Where oranges like brambles hing,
There's ne'er a ane the clachan o'er
    Can crack like him 'bout ony thing:
They say that wi' the deil he deals!
    It may be sae; but even he
Maun steek his gab when clinkin' ben
    At e'enin' comes the Dominie!

An' sic a face he does put on
    On Sabbath when he sings the psalm!
The auld wives of the parochin
    Are thinkin' him a gospel lamb.
At weddin's, when the lave are blithe,
    Wi' auld folk doucely sitteth lie
Till Minister an' Elders gang;,
    But syneup bangs the Dominie!

Frae cheek to chinfrae lug to lug
    The lasses round he kisses a',
An' loups an' dances, cracks his thoums,
    Nor hamewith steers till mornin' daw;
An' whiles at e'en to our door cheek
    He comes an' sleelie winks on me,
Yestreen, ayont the kailyard dyke,
    I 'greed to wed the Dominie!



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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