« ForrigeFortsæt »
Now thou's turn'd out for a' thy trouble,
But house or hauld,
And cranreuch ? cauld !
Gang aft a-gley,
For promised joy.
On prospects drear !
I guess and fear.
HALLOWEEN. The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understoca ; but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes à striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all ages and nations, and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such should honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.-B.
“Yes ! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
On Cassilis Downans* dance,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
To sport that night.
Where Doon rins, wimplin', clear,
And shook his Carrick spear,
3 Fields. Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-B.
+ A noted cavern near Colean-house, called the Cove of Colean ; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of jairies.-B.
The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert Bruce, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-B.
Some merry, friendly, country-folks
Together did convene,
Fu' blithe that night.
Mair braw than when they're fine
Hearts leal, and warm, and kin':
Weel knotted on their garten,
Whiles fast at night.
Their stocks* maun a' be sought ance ;
For muckle anes and straught anes.
And wander'd through the bow-kail,
Sae bow't that night.
They roar and cry a'throu'ther ;
Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther;
Wi' joctelegs!l they taste them ;
To lie that night.
To pou their stalks o' corn:+
5 Double loops. 2 Trim. 4 Spruce.
6 Bashful. 7 Mouths, here spoken of in connection with talking powers. Close.
. 9 Grope and choose. 11 Clasp-knives. * The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a stock or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with : its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells—the husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to
is tocher, or fortune, and the taste of the custoc, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door ; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question.-B.
+ They go to the barn-yard and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats.
If the third stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid.-B.
But Rab slips out, and jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn :
Loud skirledl a' the lasses ;
Wi' him that night.
Are round and round divided,
Are there that night decided :
And burn thegither trimly;
Fu' high that night.
Wha 'twas she wadna tell ;
She says in to hersel :
As they wad never mair part ;
To see't that night.
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie ;
To be compared to Willie ;
And her ain fit it brunt it;
To be that night.
She pits hersel and Rob in;
Till white in ase they're sobbin';
3 Agreeably. 2 Cuddling.
4 Chimney. * When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet; the stackbuilder, by means of old timber, &c., makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind : this he calls a fause-house.-B.
† Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire, and, accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.-B.
She whisper'd Rob to leuk fort:
Unseen that night.
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell ;
And slips out by hersel :
And to the kiln she goes then,
Right fear't that night.
I wat she made nae jaukin',5
Guid Lord I but she was quakin'!
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
To spier6 that night.
“Will ye go wi' me, grannie ?
I gat frae Uncle Johnnie :
In wrath she was sae vap'rin',
Out through that night.
I daur you try sic sportin'
For him to spae your fortune ;
1 Stealthily kissed.
7 Cloud of smoke. 8 Cinder.
* A purely literal rendering here is of no use. “She leaves them in the full tide of confident talk” may nearly convey the poet's meaning,
Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions :-Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the pot a clue of blue yarn ; wind it in a new clue off the old one ; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread. Demand "Wha hauds?"-1.c., who holds. An answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse.- B.
Take a candle, and go alone to a looking-glass : eat an apple before it, and some traditions say, you should comb your hair all the time ; the face of your conjugal companion to be will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.-B.
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
On sic a night.
I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I wasna past fifteen ;
And stuff was unco green ;
It fell that night.
A clever, sturdy fallow:
That lived in Achmacalla :
And he made unco light o't;
That very night.” Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck,
And he swore by his conscience, That he could saw'hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense.
And out a handfu' gied him;
And try't that night.
Though he was something sturtin ; The graip' he for a harrow taks,
And haurls6 it at his curpin ;' And every now and then he says,
“Hemp-seed, I saw thee, And her that is to be my lass, Come after me, and draw thee
Ás fast this night.”
1 Young girl.
4 Timorous. 2 Harvest home
5 Dung-fork. 3 Reached. * Steal out unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and then, “Hempseed, I saw thee; hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her that is to be my true love, come after me and pou thee.” Look over your left shoulder, and you
will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Soine traditions say, “Come after me and shaw thee,” that is, show thyself: in which case it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say, after me, and harrow thee." -B.