Page images

Some merry, friendly, countra folks,

Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
And haud their Halloween

Fu' blythe that night.

The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,

Mair braw than when they're fine ;
Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,

Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin': The lads sae trig, wi’ wooer-babs,

Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs, Gar lasses' hearts gang startin

Whiles fast at night.

Then first and foremost, thro' the kail,

Their stocks* maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, an' graip an' wale,

For muckle anes an' straught anes. Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,

An' wander'd thro' the bow-kail, An' pow't, for want o' better shift, A runt was like a sow-tail,

Sae bow't that night.

* The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a stock, or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with : its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any yird, or earth, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and the taste of the custoc, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door ; and the Christian names of the people, whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in ques. tion.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,

They roar an' cry a' throu’ther ;
The vera wee things, todlin, rin

Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther ;
An' gif the custoc'8-sweet or sour,

Wi' joctelegs they taste them ;
Syne coziely, aboon the door,
Wi cannie care, they've plac'd them

To lie that night


The lasses staw frae 'mang them a?

To pou their stalks of corn* ;
But Rab slips out, an'jinks about,

Behint the muckle thorn :
He grippet Nelly hard an’ fast;

Loud skirl'd a' the lasses ;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
When kiutlin in the fause-houset

Wi' him that night.

The auld guidwife's weel hoordet nitsi

Are round an' round divided,
An' monie lads' and lasses' fates

Are there that night decided :

* They go to the barn yard and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed any thing but a maid.

+ When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green, or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c. makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side, which is fairest exposed to the wind : this he calls a fause-house.

# Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire, and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be:

Some kindle, couthie, side by side,

An'burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa wi' saucy pride,
And jump out-owre the chimlie

Fu’ high that night.

VIII. Jean slips in twa wi' tentie e'e ;

Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, an' this is me,

She says in to hersel :
He bleer'd owre her, an' she owre him,

As they wad never mair part;
"Till, fuff! he started up the lum,
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart

To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,

Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie ;
An' Mallie, nae doubt, took the drunt,

To be compar'd to Willie :
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fing,

An' her ain fit it brunt it ;
While Willie lap, and swoor by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted

To be that night.

[ocr errors]

Nell had the fause-house in her min',

She pits herself an' Robin ;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,

'Till white in ase they're sobbin: Nell's heart was dancin at the view,

She whisper'd Rob to leuk fort: Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonie mou, Fu' cozie in the neuk fort,

Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,

Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gashin at their cracks,

And slips out by hersel :
She thro’ the yard the nearest taks,

An’to the kiln she goes then,
An' darklins grapit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue* throws them,

Right fear't that night.

An'aye she win't, an' aye she swat,

I wat she made nae jaukin;
'Till something held within the pat,

Guid L-d! but she was quakin! But whether 'twas the deil himsel,

Or whether 'twas a bauk-en', Or whether it was Andrew Bell, She did na wait on talkin

To spier that night.

Wee Jenny to her graunie says,

“Will ye go wi' me, graunie? I'll eat the applet at the glass,

I gat frae uncle Johnie :"

* Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot, a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread; demand, who hauds ? i. e, who holds; and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the christian and sirname of your future

spouse. * Take a candle, and go alone to a lookingglass ; eat an apple before it, and some traditions say, you should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjugal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping over your shoulder.

She suff’t her pipe wi' sic a lunt,

In wrath she was sae vapörin, She notic't na, an aizle brunt Her braw new worset apron

Qut thro' that nighte:

XIV. “ Ye little skelpie-limmer's face.!

How daur you try sic sportin, As seek the foul thief ony place,

For him to spae your fortune?
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!

Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For monie a ane has gotten a fright,
An' liv'd an' di'd delèeret

On sic a night.

XV. “ Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,

I mind't as weel's yestreen,
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure

I was na past fyfteen :
The simmer had been cauld and wat,

An' stuff was unco green;
An'aye a rantin kirn we gat,
And just on Halloween

It fell that night.

“Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,

A clever, sturdy fallow;
His sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,

That liv'd in Achmacalla :
He gat hemp-seed,* I mind it weel,

An' he made unco light o't;
But monie a day was by himsel,
He was sae sairly frighted

That vera night."

* Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed; harrowing it with any thing you can conveniently draw after you,

Repeat now and

« PreviousContinue »