Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
William Thom. 1798–1848
  
655. The Blind Boy's Pranks
  
MEN grew sae cauld, maids sae unkind, 
  Love kentna whaur to stay: 
Wi' fient an arrow, bow, or string— 
Wi' droopin' heart an' drizzled wing, 
  He faught his lonely way.         5
 
'Is there nae mair in Garioch fair 
  Ae spotless hame for me? 
Hae politics an' corn an' kye 
Ilk bosom stappit? Fie, O fie! 
  I'll swithe me o'er the sea.'  10
 
He launch'd a leaf o' jessamine, 
  On whilk he daur'd to swim, 
An' pillow'd his head on a wee rosebud, 
Syne laithfu', lanely, Love 'gan scud 
  Down Ury's waefu' stream.  15
 
The birds sang bonnie as Love drew near, 
  But dowie when he gaed by; 
Till lull'd wi' the sough o' monie a sang, 
He sleepit fu' soun' and sail'd alang 
  'Neath Heaven's gowden sky.  20
 
'Twas just whaur creeping Ury greets 
  Its mountain cousin Don, 
There wander'd forth a weelfaur'd dame, 
Wha listless gazed on the bonnie stream, 
As it flirted an' play'd with a sunny beam  25
  That flicker'd its bosom upon. 
 
Love happit his head, I trow, that time 
  The jessamine bark drew nigh, 
The lassie espied the wee rosebud, 
An' aye her heart gae thud for thud,  30
  An' quiet it wadna lie. 
 
'O gin I but had yon wearie wee flower 
  That floats on the Ury sae fair!'— 
She lootit her hand for the silly rose-leaf, 
But little wist she o' the pawkie thief  35
  That was lurkin' an' laughin' there! 
 
Love glower'd when he saw her bonnie dark e'e, 
  An' swore by Heaven's grace 
He ne'er had seen nor thought to see, 
Since e'er he left the Paphian lea,  40
  Sae lovely a dwallin'-place. 
 
Syne first of a' in her blythesome breast 
  He built a bower, I ween; 
An' what did the waefu' devilick neist? 
But kindled a gleam like the rosy east,  45
  That sparkled frae baith her e'en. 
 
An' then beneath ilk high e'e-bree 
  He placed a quiver there; 
His bow? What but her shinin' brow? 
An' O sic deadly strings he drew  50
  Frae out her silken hair! 
 
Guid be our guard! Sic deeds waur deen 
  Roun' a' our countrie then; 
An' monie a hangin' lug was seen 
'Mang farmers fat, an' lawyers lean,  55
  An' herds o' common men! 
 
GLOSS:  kentna] knew not.  wi' fient an arrow] i. q. with deuce an arrow.  swithe] hie quickly.  laithfu'] regretful.  dowie] dejectedly.  weelfaur'd] well-favoured, comely.  happit] covered up.  lootit] lowered.  pawkie] sly.  glower'd] stared.  e'e-bree] eyebrow.  lug] ear.
 
 
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