Poem of the day

The Daft Days
by Robert Fergusson (1750-1774)

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

From naked groves nae birdie sings;
To shepherd’s pipe nae hillock rings;
The breeze nae odorous flavour brings
         From Borean cave,
And dwynin’ nature droops her wings,
         Wi’ visage grave.

Mankind but scanty pleasure glean
Frae snawy hill or barren plain,
When winter, ’midst his nipping train,
         Wi’ frozen spear,
Sends drift owre a’ his bleak domain,
         And guides the weir.

Auld Reikie! thou’art the canty hole,
A bield for mony a 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 fu’
         O’ gusty gear,
And kickshaws, strangers to our view,
         Sin’ fern-year.

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

Then, tho’ at odds wi a’ the warl’,
Amang oursels we’ll never quarrel;
Though 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 rozet weel your fiddle-sticks;
But banish vile Italian tricks
         Frae out your quorum,
Not fortes wi’ pianos mix—
         Gie’s Tullochgorum.

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

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

And thou, great god o’ aqua vitae!
Wha sway’st the empire o’ 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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