Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Hallowe’en
By John Mayne (1759–1836)
 
OF a’ the festivals we hear,
Frae Handsel-Monday till New Year,
There’s few in Scotland held mair dear
          For mirth, I ween,
Or yet can boast o’ better cheer,        5
          Than Hallowe’en.
 
Langsyne indeed, as now in climes
Where priests for siller pardon crimes,
The kintry ’round in Popish rhymes
          Did pray and graen;        10
But customs vary wi’ the times
          At Hallowe’en.
 
Ranged round a bleezing ingleside,
Where nowther cauld nor hunger bide,
The farmer’s house, wi’ secret pride,        15
          Will a’ convene;
For that day’s wark is thrawn aside
          At Hallowe’en.
 
Placed at their head the gudewife sits,
And deals round apples, pears, and nits;        20
Syne tells her guests, how, at sic bits
          Where she has been,
Bogle’s ha’e gart folk tyne their wits
          At Hallowe’en.
 
Grieved, she recounts how, by mischance,        25
Puir pussy’s forced a’ night to prance
Wi’ fairies, wha in thousands dance
          Upon the green,
Or sail wi’ witches over to France
          At Hallowe’en.        30
 
Syne, issued frae the gardy-chair,
For that’s the seat of empire there,
To co’er the table wi’ what’s rare,
          Commands are gi’en;
That a’ fu’ daintily may fare        35
          At Hallowe’en.
 
And when they’ve toomed ilk heapit plate,
And a’ things are laid out o’ gate,
To ken their matrimonial mate,
          The youngsters keen        40
Search a’ the dark decrees o’ fate
          At Hallowe’en.
 
A’ things prepared in order due,
Gosh guide’s! what fearfu’ pranks ensue!
Some i’ the kiln-pat thraw a clew,        45
          At whilk, bedene,
Their sweethearts by the far end pu’
          At Hallowe’en.
 
Ithers, wi’ some uncanny gift,
In an auld barn a riddle lift,        50
Where, thrice pretending corn to sift,
          Wi’ charms between,
Their joe appears, as white as drift,
          At Hallowe’en.
 
But ’twere a langsome tale to tell        55
The gates o’ ilka charm and spell.
Ance, gaen to saw hampseed himsel,
          Puir Jock Maclean,
Plump in a filthy peat-pot fell
          At Hallowe’en.        60
 
Half filled wi’ fear, and droukit weel,
He frae the mire dught hardly speel;
But frae that time the silly chiel
          Did never grien
To cast his cantrips wi’ the Deil        65
          At Hallowe’en.
 
O Scotland! famed for scenes like this,
That thy sons walk where wisdom is,
Till death in everlasting bliss
          Shall steek their e’en,        70
Will ever be the constant wish
              of
                    Jockie Mein.
 
 
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