Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE HUMOURS O' GLESKA FAIR, by JOHN BRECKENRIDGE



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THE HUMOURS O' GLESKA FAIR, by            
First Line: The sun frae the eastward was peeping
Last Line: As day was beginning to dawn.
Subject(s): Festivals; Fairs; Pageants


THE sun frae the eastward was peeping,
And braid through the winnocks did stare,
When Willie cried -- "Tam, are ye sleeping?
Mak' haste, man, and rise to the Fair;
For the lads and the lassies are thranging,
And a' body's now in a steer;
Fye, haste ye, and let us be ganging,
Or, faith, we'll be langsome I fear."

Then Tam he got up in a hurry,
And wow but he made himsel' snod,
And a pint o' milk brose he did worry,
To mak' him mair teugh for the road.
On his head his blue bannet he slippet,
His whip o'er his shouther he flang,
And a clumsy oak cudgel he grippet,
On purpose the loons for to bang.

Now Willock had trysted wi' Jenny,
For she was a braw canty quean,
Word gaed that she had a gey penny,
For whilk Willie fondly did grean.
Now Tam he was blaming the liquor;
Yae night he had got himsel' fou,
And trysted gleed Maggie MacVicar,
And faith he thocht shame for to rue.

The carles, fu' cadgie, sat cocking
Upon their white nags and their brown,
Wi' snuffing, and laughing, and joking,
They soon canter'd into the town;
'Twas there was the funning and sporting,
Eh, lord! what a swarm o' braw folk,
Rowly-powly, wild beasts, wheels o' fortune,
Sweety stan's, Maister Punch, and Black Jock.

Now Willock and Tam geyan bouzie,
By this time had met wi' their joes;
Consented wi' Gibbie and Susy
To gang awa' down to the shows;
'Twas there was the fiddling and drumming,
Sic a crowd they could scarcely get through,
Fiddles, trumpets, and organs a-bumming;
O, sirs! what a hully-baloo.

Then hie to the tents at the paling,
Weel theekit wi' blankets and mats,
And deals seated round like a tap-room,
Supported on stanes and on pats;
The whisky like water they're selling, --
And porter as sma' as their yill, --
And aye as you're pouring they're telling,
"Troth dear, it's just sixpence the gill!"

Says Meg -- "See yon beast wi' the claes on't,
Wi' the face o't as black as the soot,
Preserve's! it has fingers and taes on't --
Eh, sirs, it's an unco like brute!"
"O, woman, but ye are a gomeral,
To mak' sic a won'er at that,
D'ye na ken, you daft gowk, that's a mongrel,
That's bred 'twixt a dog and a cat."

"See yon souple jaud how she's dancing,
Wi' the white ruffled breeks and red shoon,
Frae the tap to the tae she's a' glancing,
Wi' gowd and a feather aboon.
My troth, she's a braw decent kimmer,
As I have yet seen in the Fair."
"Her decent!" quo' Meg, "she's a limmer,
Or, faith, she would never be there."

Now Gibbie was wanting a toothfu',
Says he "I'm right tired o' the fun,
D'ye think we'd be the waur o' a mouthfu'
O gude nappy yill and a bun?"
"Wi' a' my heart," Tam says, "I'm willing --
'Tis best for to water the corn;
By jing, I've a bonnie white shilling,
And a saxpence that ne'er saw the morn."

Before they got out o' the bustle,
Poor Tam got his fairing I trow,
For a stick at the Ginge'bread play'd whistle,
And knockit him down like a cow.
Says Tam, "Wha did that? deil confound him --
Fair play, let me win at the loon!"
And he whirl'd his stick round and round him,
And swore like a very dragoon.

Then next for a house they gaed glow'ring,
Whar they might get wetting their mou',
Says Meg, "Here's a house keeps a pouring,
Wi' the sign o' the muckle black cow."
"A cow!" quo' Jenny, "ye gawky!
Preserve us! but ye've little skill,
Ca' ye that in rale earnest a hawky? --
Look again and ye'll see it's a bull."

But just as they darken'd the entry,
Says Willie, "We're now far enoo,
I see it's a house for the gentry --
Let's gang to the Sign o' the Ploo."
"Na faith," then says Gibbie, "we'se raither
Gae dauner to auld Luckie Gunn's,
For there I'm to meet wi' my faither,
And auld uncle John o' the Whins."

Now they a' snug in Luckie's had landed,
Twa rounds at the bicker to try;
The whisky and yill round was handed,
And baps in great bourocks did lie.
"Blind Aleck" the fiddler was trysted,
And he was to handle the bow;
On a big barrel-head he was hoisted,
To keep himsel' out o' the row.

Ne'er saw ye sic din and guffawing,
Sic hooching and dancing was there, --
Sic rugging, and riving, and drawing,
Was ne'er seen before in a Fair.
For Tam, he wi' Maggie was wheeling,
And he gied sic a terrible jump,
That his head cam' a rap on the ceiling,
An' clyte he fell doon on his rump.

Now they ate and they drank till their bellies
Were bent like the head o' a drum,
Syne they raise, and they caper'd like fillies,
Whene'er that the fiddle play'd -- bum.
Wi' dancing they now were grown weary,
And scarcely were able to stan',
So they took to the road a' fu' cheery,
As day was beginning to dawn.





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