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Poem by Robert Nicoll


The Bailie


DOWN the street the Bailie comes
    Faith he keeps the causey-crown,
He bans the sergeants black and blue,
    The bellman gets the name o' loon.
He can speak in monie tongues,
    Gude braid Scots and hieland Erse;
The king o' Bailies is our ain,
    Sic men I fear are unco scarce!

At feasting-time the powers aboon
    At cramming try their utmost skill;
But faith the Bailie dings them a'
    At spice and wine, or whisky gill.
The honest man can sit and drink,
    And never ha'e his purse to draw;
He helps to rule this sinfu' town,
    And as it shouldit pays for a'.

And then to see him in the kirk,
    Wi' gowden chain about his neck!
He's like a king upon a throne
    I say it wi' a' meet respect.
And to the folk who fill the lafts,
    Fu' monie a fearsome look he gi'es,
To see that a' are duly filled
    Wi' terror of the dignities!

A pickle herea pickle there,
    Of borough siller Bailie gets,
And he would needit's no a joke,
    To fitly fill a Bailie's seat!
The Bailie likes the gude auld ways,
    And yet he langs for something new;
He thinks twal corporation feasts
    Within the year are unco few!



Robert Nicoll


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


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