Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
A Music Lesson
 
Alexander Hay Japp (b. 1840)
 
 
FINGERS on the holes, Johnny,
  Fairly in a raw:
Lift this and then that,
  And blaw, blaw, blaw!
That ’s hoo to play, Johnny,        5
  On the pipes sae shrill:
Never was the piper yet
  But needit a’ his skill.
 
And lang and sair he tried it, tae,
  Afore he wan the knack        10
O’ making bag and pipe gie
  His verra yearnin’s back.
The echo tae his heart-strings
  Frae sic a thing to come;
Oh, is it no a wonder—        15
  Like a voice frae out the dumb?
 
Tak’ tentie, noo, my Johnny lad,
  Ye mauna hurry thro’,
Tak’ time and try it ower again—
  Sic a blast ye blew!        20
It ’s no alane by blawing strang,
  But eke by blawing true,
That ye can mak’ the music
  To thrill folk thro’ and thro’.
 
The waik folk and the learnin’,        25
  ’T is them that mak’s the din;
But for the finish’d pipers
  They count it as a sin:
And maybe it ’s the verra same
  A’ the warld thro’,        30
The learners are the verra ones
  That mak’ the most ado!
 
Ye ken the Southrons taunt us—
  I sayna they ’re unfair—
Aboot oor squallin’ music,        35
  And their taunts hae hurt me sair;
But if they’d heard a piper true
  At nicht come ower the hill,
Playin’ up a pibroch
  Upon the wind sae still:        40
 
Risin’ noo, and fallin’ noo,
  And floatin’ on the air,
The sounds come saftly on ye
  Amaist ere ye ’re aware,
And wind themsels aboot the heart,        45
  That hasna yet forgot
The witchery o’ love and joy
  Within some lanely spot:
 
I ’m sure they wadna taunt us sae,
  Nor say the bagpipe’s wild,        50
Nor speak o’ screachin’ noises
  Enuch to deave a child:
They would say the bagpipe only
  Is the voice of hill and glen;
And would listen to it sorrowing,        55
  Within the haunts of men.
 
Fingers on the holes, Johnny,
  Fairly in a raw:
Lift this and then that,
  And blaw, blaw, blaw!        60
That ’s hoo to play, Johnny,
  On the pipes sae shrill:
Never was the piper yet
  But needit a’ his skill.
 

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