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Elphinstone Kist   Doric Verse

Aifter Culloden: The Waanderer     by: Gardner, Rev. Dr. Bruce K.

I saaw, ae day, on Banff’s aul’ Brig,
Big Geordie, as if waar wes deen;
His rippit, bleed-reid sodger’s coat
Fring’t yalla, like ‘is staurin een.

“Fit like, Min, Geordie? Ye’re weel met -
I’d heard ye tuik a sodger’s pey -
‘e victor’s news fae Inverness
Hes cross’t tae Banff here, onywey.”

He micht hae been twal mile awa;
Big Geordie stuid an said nae wurd.
Bit I wes sweir tae gang until
News o the bluidy fecht I’d heard.

“Sae, did ye see ‘e bonny ranks
O Cumberland staund, raw ‘n raw?
Or hear ‘e skirls o hielanmen,
Fan cannonades garr’t hunners faa?

“Banff fowk aye like a sodger’s tale
Tae cheer ‘em roon ‘e mercat cairts!
Tell hou ‘at heilan rabble fell,
Afore fine military airts!

“Tis nae ‘at lang, upon ‘is brig,
A rider rade, as fast as thocht,
Tae mak it tae the toon’s Plain Steens
As he “MacPherson’s Pardon” brocht.

“Bit, ah, the Banff fowk wes richt slee
An pit the clock fast, truth tae tell,
‘e rider saaw ‘e callant hung -
‘at thievan beggar sint tae Hell.

“An sae may aa yon hielan brood -
Thon vipers, rievers, highwaymen -
Fa spick nae ceevil toons-fowk’s tongue,
Be damn’t at eence - an damn’t again!

“Sae, Geordie, loon, we’re affa prood
Tae see ye serve the King ‘is wey;
‘Tis noble work, an God’s richt haun
Wull His obedient servaunt, pey!”

Bit, aa the file I spak awa,
Peer Geordie seem’t tae hear nae wurd;
Aroon us, it was affa quaet,
Thair muiv’d nae beast, nor sang nae burd.

Big Geordie’s een saaw shades unkenn’t;
His hert seem’t wrung bi some fell dream
An thaur, upon ’e Brig o Banff,
He spak, his trublit thochts tae teem.

“I’ve flung awa ma cocket hat,
Ma musket an ilk musket ba’;
I tholed ‘e battle, bit syne cam
Nichtmaurs ‘at nabb’t ma saul awa.

“I saaw a cott-hoose burnit doon,
‘e reid-coat chiels aroon its cairns;
I saaw ‘e sodgers, reid an rank,
Wi bayonets, howk at nursan bairns.

“I saaw ‘e gweedman roar an faa,
His haun oot-stretchit tae the wynd,
Tae sauve ‘is fem’ly utteran prayers
‘at gutterit lyke a caun’le-eynd.

“I saaw twa bairnies flee, sae feart -
Twa loonies cut doon ‘naith ‘e meen.
Tae lie ‘air, file ‘e rafters burn’t,
An flames daunc’t in thair lambies’ een,

“I saaw ‘e new-garr’t widdaw greet:
Seein her bairns’ flicht wes in vain:
She turnit back - her hert noo deid -
Syne stuid there, tae be kill’t again.

“Sae, noo, I’m at the Brig o Banff;
Bi mornan, I’ll be faur awa,
Tae shrieve me o thon murder’t bairns,
Thair mither, faither, hoose, an aa.”

Syne Geordie slippit aff ‘is coat
An drapp’t it richt thaur on ‘e brig;
Tuik aff his scabbard an his belt,
His weskit an his periwig.

“Dae fit ye can fer yer fellow man,
Tho life itsel mak ye hard press’t.
For I hae noo the mark o Cain!
Lang wull I seek, an fin’ nae rest!”

Noo, aa this time, I couldna think
Jist fit tae say tae cheynge ‘is min’
Fer Banff micht black affrontit feel,
Gin its chiels desairt ‘e battle line.

“Tae see ye, Geordie, run tae airth
Bi red-coats catch’t, “For Treason” swung,
I’d be richt sweir. Man, think again:
Tae live is better nor be hung!”

“Na! Even the wycelike Deveron,
Fa’s roll’t doon fae the daawn o years
Seems, at ‘is ‘uar, tae grieve, an mute
Her watters’ soond wi mithers’ tears;

Sae nae mair wull I tak ‘e sword!
I’ll hairm nae craitur - big nor sma -
Bit I wull penitently tyauve
Tae wash the smell o bleed awa.

I watchit Geordie cross ‘e Brig
An tak ‘e road tae Aiberdeen:
We nivver heard o Geordie mair;
Nor wes ‘at Waand’rer ivver seen.

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