Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE WHITE WINTER - HUGHIE SNAWED UP, by JAMES LOGIE ROBERTSON
First Line: Man, but it's vexin'! There's the law
Last Line: As heretofore!
Alternate Author Name(s): Haliburton, Hugh
Man, but it's vexin'! There's the Law
For five months noo been white wi' snaw;
An', when we lookit for a thaw,
An' lowser weather,
It's gaitherin' for anither fa',
As black as ever!
It's no' alane that fother's dear,
Yowes stervin', an' the lambin' near,
An' Winter owre the Ochils drear
Drivin' unstintit, --
But, Lordsake! what's come owre the year?
An' what's ahint it?
Wha kens but what oor aixle tree
'S been slew'd aboot, or dung ajee,
An' aff thro' space awa' we flee
In a daft orbit?
Whilk mak's the seasons, as we see,
Be sair disturbit.
Wha kens but what we've seen the heel
O' Simmer in a last fareweel?
Nae mair green gowany braes to speel
Wi' joyfu' crook,
Nor dip in Devon, whaur a wiel
Invites to dook!
What aince has been may be aince mair,
An' aince -- as learned clerks declare --
This planet's fortune was to fare,
In ages auld,
Thro' regions o' the frigid air,
Past kennin' cauld.
Nae doot but this was centuries gane,
When human cretur' there was nane,
An' this auld warld, her liefu' lane,
Bowl'd thro' the nicht,
Wi' tangles hingin' fra a mune
That was her licht.
An eldritch scene that licht display'd!
There lay the continents array'd,
Like corpses o' the lately dead,
In a cauld sheet,
Wi' icebergs sittin' at their head
An' at their feet!
What aince has been may happen twice, --
It's weel kenn'd we hae little ch'ice;
An' if it be the Age o' Ice
Return'd aince mair --
Faith, tak' this present for a spice,
It offers fair!
The snaw a' owre lies sax feet deep;
Ae half oor time we're howkin' sheep;
We haena haen a blanket sleep
Sin' the New Year;
An' here we're at oor hin'most neep,
An' term-time near!
It's juist as bad wi' ither folk:
A shepherd's missin' wi' his flock;
An eagle's ravagin' the Knock;
An' nearer hame,
A dearth o' whisky's at the Crook,
An' aumries toom.
The gates are blockit up a' roun' 's,
Silent are a' the seas an' soun's,
An' at the very trons in toons,
It's hoch deep lyin':
In fac', the Winter's broken boun's,
There's nae denyin'.
It may be -- for we're grown sae wice,
We're no' juist to be smoor'd like mice,
It may be that by some device
We'll fricht the snaw,
An' gie this threaten'd Age o' Ice
The ca' awa'!
Some braw electrical machine
Amang the cluds may intervene,
Send licht an' heat, an' change the scene
The warld throughoot;
An' burn oor skins, an' blind oor een,
Wi't a', nae doot!
Come back, come back, oor ain auld sun,
Thy auld-appointed path to run;
An' a' the freits that were begun
To shore us ill
Shall, in the crackin' of a gun,
Flee owre the hill.
Then, as of auld, when skies are clear,
An' springin' corn begins to breer,
Those joys your shepherd's heart shall cheer
That charm'd of yore;
An' life on Devon be as dear
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