Treasure Island

Sydney Thompson Dobell

(1824-1874 / England)

The Mother's Lesson


Come hither an' sit on my knee, Willie,
Come hither an' sit on my knee,
An' list while I tell how your brave brither fell,
Fechtin' for you an' for me:
Fechtin' for you an' for me, Willie,
Wi' his guid sword in his han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


Ye min' o' your ain brither dear, Willie,
Ye min' o' your ain brither dear,
How he pettled ye aye wi' his pliskies an' play,
An' was aye sae cantie o' cheer:
Aye sae cantie o' cheer, Willie,
As he steppit sae tall an' sae gran',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


D'ye min' when the bull had ye doun, Willie,
D'ye min' when the bull had ye doun?
D'ye min' wha grippit ye fra the big bull,
D'ye min' o' his muckle red woun'?
D'ye min' o' his muckle red woun', Willie,
D'ye min' how the bluid doun ran?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


D'ye min' when we a' wanted bread, Willie,
the year when we a' wanted bread?
How he smiled when he saw the het parritch an' a',
An' gaed cauld an' toom to his bed:
Gaed awa' toom to his bed, Willie,
For the love o' wee Willie an' Nan?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


Next simmer was bright but an' ben, Willie,
Next simmer was bright but an' ben,
When there cam a gran' cry like a win' strang an' high
By loch, an' mountain, an' glen:
By loch, an' mountain, an' glen, Willie,
The cry o' a far forrin lan',
An' up loupit ilka brave man, Willie,
Up loupit ilka brave man.


For the voice cam saying, 'Wha 'll gang?' Willie,
The voice cam saying, 'Wha'll gang
To fecht owre the sea that the slave may be free,
An' the weak be safe fra' the strang?'
The weak be safe fra' the strang, Willie;
Rab looked on Willie an' Nan,
An' hech, but he was a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but he was a brave man!


I kent by his een he was gaun, Willie,
I kent by his een he was gaun,
An' he rose like a chief: twice we spak in our grief-
'Dinna gang!' 'My mither, I maun!'
When he said, 'My mither, I maun,' Willie,
I gied him his sword to his han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


An' sae it happened afar, Willie,
Sae it happened afar,
In the dead midnight there rose a great fecht,
An' Rab was first i' the war:
First i' the haur o' the war, Willie,
Wi' his guid sword in his han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


An' there cam' a dark wicked lord, Willie,
There cam' a dark wicked lord,
An' oh my guid God! on my bauld bairn he rode,
An' smote him wi' his sword:
Smote him wi' his sword, Willie,
But Rab had his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


He rushed on the fae in his might, Willie,
In his might to the fecht thro' the night,
An' he grippit him grim, an' the fae grippit him,
An' they rolled owre i' the fecht:
They rolled owre i' the fecht, Willie,
Rab wi' his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


When the gran' stowre cleared awa', Willie,
When the gran' stowre cleared awa',
An' the mornin' drew near in chitter an' in fear,
Still, still, in death they lay twa:
Still, still, in death they lay twa, Willie,
Rab wi' his guid sword in han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


Then up fra the death-sod they bore him, Willie,
The young men an' maidens they bore him,
An' they mak the rocks ring 'gin my bairn were a king,
An' a' the sweet lassies greet owre him:
A' the sweet lassies greet owre him, Willie,
An' their proud lips kiss his cauld han',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


An' they big him a green grass grave, Willie,
They big him a green grass grave,
My ain lad! my ain! an' they write on the stane,
'Wha wad na sleep wi' the brave?'
An' wha wad na sleep wi' the brave, Willie?
Wha wad na dee for his lan'?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man!


Noo come to yon press wi' me, Willie,
Come to yon press wi' me,
And I'll show ye somethin' o' auld lang syne,
When he was a bairnie like thee:
When he was a bairnie like thee, Willie,
And stood at my knee where ye stan',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


D'ye see this wee bit bannet, Willie,
-I min' weel the day it was new-
See how I haud it here to my heart,
His wee bit bannet o' blue:
His wee bit bannet o' blue, Willie,
Wi' its wee bit cockie an' ban'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


D'ye see his ba' and his stickie, Willie,
When he played at the ba';
Na, na, ye 're no to tak it in han',
Ye 're no sae brave an' sae braw!
But gin ye grow braw an' brave, Willie,
Aiblins I'se gie 't to your han',
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


An' this was his Guid Buik, Willie,
The Guid Buik that he lo'ed,
Where he read the Word o' the great guid Lord
Wha bought us wi' His bluid.
An' will we spare our bluid, Willie,
To buy the dear auld lan'?
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


They say he's dead an' gane, Willie,
They say he's dead and gane.
Wad God my bairnies a' were sons,
That ten might gang for ane:
Ten might gang for ane, Willie,
To save the dear auld lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


I'd no be lorn an' lane, Willie,
I'd no be lorn an' lane,
For gin I had him here by the han'
He could na be mair my ain:
He'd no be mair my ain, Willie,
Gin I grippit him by the han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


An' oh! gin ye gang fra me, Willie,
Gin ye gang as he gaed fra me,
Ye'll aye be still as near to my heart
As the noo when ye sit on my knee:
As the noo when ye sit on my knee, Willie,
An' I haud ye by the han'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


'An' wad ye no greet at a', mither?
Wad ye no greet at a'?'
Aye, wad I greet my bonnie bonnie bairn!
'An' will ye no greet when I fa'?'
Will I no greet when ye fa', Willie?
God bless your bonnie wee han'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
I kent weel ye'd be a brave man!


Aye, will I greet day an' night, Willie,
Aye, will I greet day an' night!
But gin ye can see fra your heaven doun to me,
Ye'se no be wae at the sight:
Ye'se no be wae at the sight, Willie,
E'en in your bright blessed lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
I kent weel ye'd be a brave man.


Ye ken how I greet sae sair, Willie,
Ye ken how I greet sae sair,
When ye're no my ain guid bairnie the day,
An' my een are cloudy wi' care:
My een are cloudy wi' care, Willie,
An' I lean doun my head on my han',
An' think 'Will ye be a guid man, Willie,
Ah, will ye grow a guid man?'


Ye ken when I did na greet sae, Willie,
Ye ken when I did na greet sae!
Gran' gran' are a proud mither's tears,
An' the gate that she gangs in her wae:
The gate that she gangs in her wae, Willie,
Wi' her foot on her ain proud lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


Ye min' how ye saw me greet, Willie,
Ye min' how ye saw me greet,
When the great news cam' to the toun at e'en,
An' we heard the shout in the street:
We heard the shout in the street, Willie,
An' the death-word it rode an' it ran.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


Ye min' how I lift up mine ee', Willie,
Ye min' how I lift up mine ee',
An' smiled as I smile when I stan' i' the door,
An see ye come toddlin' to me:
See ye come toddlin' to me, Willie,
An' smile afar off where I stan'.
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


Thank God for ilk tear I let fa', Willie,
Thank God for ilk tear I let fa',
For oh, where they wipe awa' tears fra' a' een,
Sic tears they wad no wipe awa':
Sic tears they wad no wipe awa', Willie,
Tho' there's nane may be sad i' that lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


Noo to your play ye maun gang, Willie,
Noo to your play ye maun gang,
An' belyve, my ain wee, ye'll come back to my knee,
And I'se sing ye an auld Scots sang:
I'se sing ye an auld Scots sang, Willie,
A sang o' the dear auld lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


An' aye d'ye min' what I say, Willie,
What ye heard your auld mither say,
Better to dee a brave man an' free,
Than to live a fause coward for aye:
Than to live a fause coward for aye, Willie,
An' stan' by the shame o' your lan'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.


It's brave to be first at the schule,
It's brave to be cock o' the class,
It's brave to thwack a strang fule,
It's brave to win a wee lass,
It's brave to be first wi' the pleugh,
An' first i' the reel an' strathspey,
An' first at the tod i' the cleugh,
An' first at the stag at bay.


It's brave to be laird o' the glen,
It's brave to be chief o' the clan,
But he that can dree for his neebor to dee,
Oh, he's the true brave man:
He's the true brave man, Willie,
An' the fame o' his name sall be gran'!
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man, Willie,
Hech, but ye'll be a brave man.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010

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