The Daft-days



Now mirk December's dowie face
    Glours our the rigs wi' sour grimace,
    While, thro' his minimum of space,
        The bleer-ey'd sun
    Wi' blinkin light and stealing pace,
        His race doth run.

    From naked groves nae birdie sings,
    To shepherd's pipe nae hillock rings,
    The breeze nae od'rous flavour brings
      From Borean cave,
  And dwyning nature droops her wings,
      Wi' visage grave.

    Mankind but scanty pleasure glean
  Frae snawy hill or barren plain,
  Whan Winter, 'midst his nipping train,
      Wi' frozen spear,
  Sends drift owr a' his bleak domain,
      And guides the weir.

    Auld Reikie! thou'rt the canty hole,
  A bield for mony caldrife soul,
  Wha snugly at thine ingle loll,
      Baith warm and couth;
  While round they gar the bicker roll
      To weet their mouth.

    When merry Yule-day comes, I trow
  You'll scantlins find a hungry mou;
  Sma' are our cares, our stamacks fou
      O' gusty gear,
  And kickshaws, strangers to our view,
      Sin Fairn-year.

    Ye browster wives, now busk ye bra,
  And fling your sorrows far awa';
  Then come and gie's the tither blaw
      Of reaming ale,
  Mair precious than the well of Spa,
      Our hearts to heal.

    Then, tho' at odds wi' a' the warl',
  Amang oursells we'll never quarrel;
  Tho' Discord gie a canker'd snarl
      To spoil our glee,
  As lang's there's pith into the barrel
      We'll drink and 'gree.

    Fiddlers, your pins in temper fix,
  And roset weel your fiddle-sticks,
  But banish vile Italian tricks
      From out your quorum,
  Nor fortes wi' pianos mix,
      Gie's Tulloch Gorum.

    For nought can cheer the heart sae weil
  As can a canty Highland reel,
  It even vivifies the heel
      To skip and dance:
  Lifeless is he what canna feel
      Its influence.

    Let mirth abound, let social cheer
  Invest the dawning of the year;
  Let blithesome innocence appear
      To crown our joy,
  Nor envy wi' sarcastic sneer
      Our bliss destroy.

    And thou, great god of Aqua Vitæ!
  Wha sways the empire of this city,
  When fou we're sometimes capernoity,
      Be thou prepar'd
  To hedge us frae that black banditti,
      The City-Guard.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on May 02, 2023

1:47 min read
142

Quick analysis:

Scheme AXABAB CCCDCD XEEFEX GGXHGH XIDFXF JXGXJK GLXMLF NNNINI KKKXKX FFFOFO PMPPPP
Closest metre Iambic trimeter
Characters 2,137
Words 343
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6, 6

Robert Fergusson

Robert Fergusson was a Scottish poet. After formal education at the University of St Andrews, Fergusson followed an essentially bohemian life course in Edinburgh, the city of his birth, then at the height of intellectual and cultural ferment as part of the Scottish enlightenment. Many of his extant poems were printed from 1771 onwards in Walter Ruddiman's Weekly Magazine, and a collected works was first published early in 1773. Despite a short life, his career was highly influential, especially through its impact on Robert Burns. He wrote both Scottish English and the Scots language, and it is his vivid and masterly writing in the latter leid for which he is principally acclaimed. more…

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