from The Wee Raggit Laddie to the Laird of Blackford Hill

from The Wee Raggit Laddie to the Laird of Blackford Hill
Stout Laird o’ Blackford Hill, let me
But gain your honour’s lug a wee,
I fain wad let your lairdship see
		   Sufficient cause
To mak your hill to a’ as free
		   As ance it was.

Weel mind I o’ the joyous days
I gathered hips, an’ haws, an’ slaes,
Climbing ower Blackford’s heathy braes
		   Birds’ nests to herry,
Or smearing face, an’ hands, an’ claes,
		   Wi’ bramble berry …

Then shall a laird whase kindly heart
Has ever ta’en the puir man’s part,
Be reckon’d like some mean upstart,
		   O’ saulless stature,
Wha sells, as at an auction mart,
		   The face o’ nature?

Though bairns may pu’, when yap or drouthy,
A neep or bean, to taste their mouthy,
Losh, man! their hames are no sae couthy
		   As your bien Ha’;
Though puir folks’ bairns are unco toothie,
		   Their feeding’s sma’.

An’ a’ the neeps, an’ a’ the beans,
The hips, the haws, the slaes, the geens,
That e’er were pu’ed by hungry weans,
		   Could ne’er be missed
By lairds like you, wi’ ample means
		   In bank and kist.

Then listen to my earnest prayer,
An’ open Blackford Hill ance mair;
Let us a’ pree the caller air
		   That sweeps its braes,
An’ mak it worth the poet’s care
		   To sing your praise.
James Ballantine

Poems (Edinburgh: Thomas Constable, 1856)

James Ballantine

James Ballantine was a stained-glass artist, commissioned to execute the windows in the House of Lords, and a popular local poet. 

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