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Elphinstone Kist   Maakers, Education

    by: MacGillivray, J. Pittendrigh

They say our fiddle’s auId an’ deen,
Or neen o’s now that kens the teen
O’ Lallans Scots or Aiberdeen
To kittle up
And prink the thing as ticht an’ keen
As crack o’ fup.

But, na! I’ll nae believe’t just yet,
That a’ oor loons hae tint the wit
To stent the strings in tune to fit
Our native Muse—
Tho’ she’s a mark that’s ill to hit,
Ye may jalouse.

Our genius o’ Strathspeys an’ Reels
Has nae a peer for lichtsome heels;
And nyod, her e’en are just twa deils
At sklintin’ throu’
The tricks and shifts that men an’ feels
Wad gar ye trow.

The sleeest pawky queyn is she,
Wi’ merry glints, but nae owre free:
Aye slow to fecht, but dour’s can be
When teeth are set:
And neen I ken mair trig to see
That taks the gate.

The first to string our Norlan’ fiddle,
An’ bowin fore an’ aft the middle,
Gars grave an’ gay play jink and diddle
Wi’ variorum,
Was he that did our moods unriddle
In ‘Tullochgorum.’

Whar Nor-East win’s sae bitter bla’,
An’ Nature bids to stan’ or fa’,
He set a creed o’ worth for’s a’
In that ae lyric
That Rhymer Rab vowed “best o’ a’”
For panegyric.

But Bards I wat we’ve had sin’ syne
Hae vrutten mony a gracious line
In honour o’ the Sacred Nine;
And for our Muse
There’s aye been lads to deck the shrine
And fill her cruse.

Whar Urie winds to meet the Don
And Bennachie towers up ayon,
There poet Thom her pity won;
And not in vain
The string that thrill’t sall aye thrill on
In tender pain.

And Alexander—be’t in prose;
Our fiddle’s gamut shrewdly knows;
In native humours, quips and woes
He’s farest ben,
And by some wizard gift he shows
The fouk we ken.

There’s wheedlin’ sleekit Charlie Murray,
He tigs the strings wi’ funny hurry
Till kittlan rhymes flee roun’ and scurry
Wi’ cantrip words
That jouk an’ jink an’ baffle worry,
Wi’ lauchin dirds.

At Pittyvaich the distaff side
Essays the strings wi’ native pride,
And ardent moods the chords fling wide
To vaunt the fame
O’ loons that bled on field and tide
In Scotland’s name.

An’ Och, we’re near eneuch to claim
Yon pawky lass wi’ he’rt aflame,
That sings the Mearns; we needna shame
For twa sic e’en
To twyn yon “horseman” o’ the game
He has na seen.

But hoot!—I’m nae to name them a’
That screw the pins an’ lilt awa’
On our auld Strad—fouk mauna bla’
An’ reese their ain—
Gin they be fechtin’ cocks they’ll cra’
Abeen disdain.

Na fy!—our fiddle’s nae gaen deen,
Nor hae we lost our native teen;
Nae farrer back than gin the streen
Was said and sung—
Or Mem’ry doited chaets me clean—
The Mither Tongue.

Nae farrer back, tho’ in atween
The snaws o’ fifty year I’ve seen;
But aye the bairn-time words bide green
At he’rt o’s a’;
And Buchan braid or Garioch keen,
They hamewith dra’.

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