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Poem by Richard Gall

Elegy on Pudding Lizzie

She's gane ! she's gane!ower true the tale ! 
She's left us a' to sab and wail! 
Auld Clatterbanes has hit the nail
                Upo' the head;
Deil o' his carcass mak a flail,
                Sin Lizzie's dead!

Oh Death ! oh Death! thou'rt void o' feeling ! 
For wi' thy deadly whittle stealing 
Through gentle hald, or hamely sheiling
                Wi' divet rigging, 
Thou send'st the best o' bodies, reeling,
                To their cauld bigging. 

Hadst thou but claughted wi' thy claw 
A lord, a duke, or baith the twa, 
The skaith, I trow, had been but sma
                Ane might forgie ye;
But Lizzie thus to steal awa,
		Oh, wae be t'ye!

Auld Reekie's callants, mourn wi' me; 
Your waes, alake! are sair to dree:
Oh, mourn the days - the days o' glee,
                Now fled awa'!
I see the tear in mony an e'e
		Fu' sadly fa'.

Oh, mony a time, ance on a day,
In cheery bangs we've ta'en our way,
Ilk birkie keenly bent on play,
                Wi' hearts fu' light,    
And for a wee set care astray,
		Far out o' sight.

And when we reach'd her little dwalling,
Where tuilzied birds wi' bluidy talon,
How kind she met us at the hallan,
                Led to the ha', 
" Gude-e'en ! gude-e'en !" aye loudly bawling,
                Aud becking law.

Syne what a fyke, and what a fraising! 
" The puddings, bairns, are just in season
They're newly made - the kettle's bizzing
                Sae dinna fret;
Mair sappy anes ne'er cross'd your wizzen, 
		Although I say't."

Saul! how it sharpen'd ilka ane,
When wi' them she came todlin ben,
A' piping like a roasted hen,
                (Braw healthy eating!)
Wi' timmer pins at ilka end,
		To haud the meat in.

And then she had the knack sae weel, 
To gust the gab o' ony chiel
Wi' spiceries brought through danger's fiel',
                Frae India's coast,
And ingans, mix'd wi' gude ait-meal, 
		Auld Scotia's boast.

Thus seated round her canty ingle,
Oil, how the knives and forks wad ringle,
And cutty-spoons 'mang puddings mingle,
                Hoved up sae wally ! 
And caps and trenchers in a jingle
		A' scarted brawly.

Did ony relish cauler water ?
Na, faith, it wasna in our nature: 
Wo but to hae a wee drap creature,
                Gude papish whisky;
It beets new life in ilka feature,
		And keeps ane brisk aye.

Whan she began to crack her creed
I've seen our clmfts maist like to screed ; 
In short, at times a single thread
                Might e'en hae tied us; 
And, vow! how crouse sho cocked her head,
		Whan set beside us!

The mair the pith o' barley shone, 
The mair was heard mirth's social tone, 
And sang, and joke, and toast, gaed roun',
                Wi' glee imprinted, 
While busy time still jogged on,
		Unmark'd, untented;

Till night, her sable mantle dreeping, 
Brought Luna o'er St Anthon's peeping, 
And dowie ghaists, frae kirk-yards creeping,
                Began to wander, 
When we, frae Lizzie's kindly keeping,
		Would hamewards dander.

Oh, waes my heart! now, when she's gane, 
How sad and alter'd is the strain ! 
To pudding-feasts, and rants fu' fain,
                Nae mair we'll pap in; 
Our wames e'en to our rigging-bane
		Like skate-fish clapping.

But whisht! for mair I canna speak 
The tears come rapping down my cheek, 
To mark her grave, sae cauld and bleak,
                The green grass growing; 
Oh ! keep her safe frae hornio's creek,
		Black, sooty, lowing !

Then, oh fareweel to feasting rare,
And scrieving cracks that drave aff care !
Fareweel to ranting late and air,
                Sae blythe and frisky! 
And eke, fareweel, for ever mair,
		To lowin' whisky !

Richard Gall

Richard Gall's other poems:
  1. My Only Joy and Dearie, O'
  2. The Braes o' Drumlee
  3. The Bonnie Blink o' Mary's E'E
  4. Captain o' Kain
  5. Louisa in Lochaber

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