Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
 
III. Love’s Beginnings
“Behave yoursel’ before folk”
Alexander Rodger (1784–1846)
 
    BEHAVE yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
And dinna be sae rude to me,
    As kiss me sae before folk.
It wouldna give me meikle pain,        5
Gin we were seen and heard by nane,
To tak’ a kiss, or grant you ane;
    But gudesake! no before folk.
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,—        10
Whate’er you do when out o’ view,
    Be cautious aye before folk!
 
Consider, lad, how folks will crack,
And what a great affair they ’ll mak’
O’ naething but a simple smack,        15
    That ’s gi’en or ta’en before folk.
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,—
Nor gi’e the tongue o’ old and young
    Occasion to come o’er folk.        20
 
I ’m sure wi’ you I ’ve been as free
As ony modest lass should be;
But yet it doesna do to see
    Sic freedom used before folk.
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,        25
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,—
I ’ll ne’er submit again to it;
    So mind you that—before folk!
 
Ye tell me that my face is fair:
It may be sae—I dinna care—        30
But ne’er again gar’t blush so sair
    As ye hae done before folk.
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
Nor heat my cheeks wi’ your mad freaks,        35
    But aye be douce before folk!
 
Ye tell me that my lips are sweet:
Sic tales, I doubt, are a’ deceit;—
At ony rate, it ’s hardly meet
    To prie their sweets before folk.        40
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,—
Gin that ’s the case, there ’s time and place,
    But surely no before folk!
 
But gin ye really do insist        45
That I should suffer to be kissed,
Gae get a license frae the priest,
    And mak’ me yours before folk!
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,
    Behave yoursel’ before folk,—        50
And when we ’re ane, baith flesh and bane,
    Ye may tak’ ten—before folk!
 
 
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