Janet Hamilton

(1795-1873 / Scotland)

Pairtin' An' Meetin'


O Nannie, dear Nannie! whan ye gaed awa',
I thocht my fu' heart wad hae broken in twa;
An' sair ye were sabbin', tho' close by yer side
Stood the true lovin' lad wha made ye his bride.


Thro' the green wuds o' Murdiestane, O! never mair
Bareheidit, barefitit, wi' win'-touzled hair,
A' pechin', an' blawin', an' lauchin', we'll rin
Till the shadows fa' doun, an' gloamin' sets in.


The corn-craik was chirmin' her lane eerie cry,
Whan aff we gaed skelpin' to ca' hame the kye;
An' up the green gill, as we drave them alang,
We rous'd a' the echoes wi' daffin' an' sang.


But Nannie, dear lassie, was sune a young wife,
An' listed to fecht the stern battle o' life;
In the bonny green gill we'll sing never mair-
We pairted, an' wow but oor pairtin' was sair.


The muircock was crawin', the dew on the corn,
The laverock singin' that sweet July morn,
Whan Nannie an' Jamie stapp'd owre the door-stane-
'Twas waesome to see hoo their pairtin' was ta'en.


Auld Johnnie, the faither, wi' pow like the snaw,
Held her haun as he ne'er cou'd ha'e let it awa';
The mither was sabbin' an' claspin' her neck,
An' kiss'd her dear Nannie wi' heart like to break.


Then Jamie, whase true heart was swallin' fu' big,
Said, 'Ye maun come wi' us a bit doun the rig;
Whan awa', wi' gude health, fu' brawly we'll fen',
An' aft o' oor weelfare we'll gi'e ye to ken.'


He pu'd a sweet bab o' the red heather bells:
'For love o' auld Scotlan' we'll share't 'mang oorsel's
Keep that in remembrance o' them that's awa',
An' this sall gae wi' us whate'er be oor fa'.'


The faither richt reverently barein' his head,
His een fu' o' tears, an' his twa hauns ootspread,
Socht the blessin' o' God, the licht o' His face,
To gang wi' his bairns to their far-awa' place.


An' sune the young twasome sailed aff to the west,
An' there, 'mang the Yankees, they teuk up their rest;
By water an' fire they were herrit and spoil'd
O' ilk thing they had, still they hoped an' they toil'd.


Whan the auld folk at hame o' this had heard tell,
It strack on their he'rts wi' a sorrowfu' knell;
The mither sabb'd oot, 'I sall never ha'e rest
Till I clasp my dear bairn again to my breast.'


Quo' Johnnie, 'Gudewife, the neist month I'm fourscore;
We've a hogger weel filled, an' claith in gude store;
Ye ha'e sheets, ye ha'e blankets, an' coverin's braw,
An' oor ae bonny bairn maun noo get them a'.'


They sauld aff their stock, an' pack'd up their gear;
Oot owre the Atlantic they boun' them to steer:
On Scotlan' the bodies ha'e leukit their last,
An' safe to the new frae the aul' warl' pass'd.


I spake o' their pairtin'; but words mayna speak
O' their meetin' again-hoo Nannie's pale cheek,
A' dreepin' wi' tears, to the mither's was press'd,
And Johnnie ance mair held his bairn to his breast.


Then in time we heard tell that, far in the west,
The foursome were settled in comfort an' rest;
There the young had a hame, the auld folk a grave,
Owre whilk the dark locust an' red maple wave.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 07, 2010

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