Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, HALLOWEEN, by JOHN MAYNE

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

HALLOWEEN, by             Poem Explanation        
First Line: Of a' the festivals we hear
Last Line: Jockie mein.
Subject(s): Halloween

OF a' the festivals we hear,
Frae Handsel-Monday till New Year,
There's few in Scotland held mair dear
For mirth, I ween,
Or yet can boast o' better cheer,
Than Hallowe'en.

Langsyne indeed, as now in climes
Where priests for siller pardon crimes,
The kintry 'round in Popish rhymes
Did pray and graen;
But customs vary wi' the times
At Hallowe'en.

Ranged round a bleezing ingleside,
Where nowther cauld nor hunger bide,
The farmer's house, wi' secret pride,
Will a' convene;
For that day's wark is thrawn aside
At Hallowe'en.

Placed at their head the gudewife sits,
And deals round apples, pears, and nits;
Syne tells her guests, how, at sic bits
Where she has been,
Bogle's ha'e gart folk tyne their wits
At Hallowe'en.

Grieved, she recounts how, by mischance,
Puir pussy's forced a' night to prance
Wi' fairies, wha in thousands dance
Upon the green,
Or sail wi' witches over to France
At Hallowe'en.

Syne, issued frae the gardy-chair,
For that's the seat of empire there,
To co'er the table wi' what's rare,
Commands are gi'en;
That a' fu' daintily may fare
At Hallowe'en.

And when they've toomed ilk heapit plate,
And a' things are laid out o' gate,
To ken their matrimonial mate,
The youngsters keen
Search a' the dark decrees o' fate
At Hallowe'en.

A' things prepared in order due,
Gosh guide's! what fearfu' pranks ensue!
Some i' the kiln-pat thraw a clew,
At whilk, bedene,
Their sweethearts by the far end pu'
At Hallowe'en.

Ithers, wi' some uncanny gift,
In an auld barn a riddle lift,
Where, thrice pretending corn to sift,
Wi' charms between,
Their joe appears, as white as drift,
At Hallowe'en.

But 'twere a langsome tale to tell
The gates o' ilka charm and spell.
Ance, gaen to saw hampseed himsel,
Puir Jock Maclean,
Plump in a filthy peat-pot fell
At Hallowe'en.

Half filled wi' fear, and droukit weel,
He frae the mire dught hardly speel;
But frae that time the silly chiel
Did never grien
To cast his cantrips wi' the Deil
At Hallowe'en.

O Scotland! famed for scenes like this,
That thy sons walk where wisdom is,
Till death in everlasting bliss
Shall steek their e'en,
Will ever be the constant wish of
Jockie Mein.

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