The Wizard Laird O Skene (A Ballad) Poem by Sheena Blackhall

The Wizard Laird O Skene (A Ballad)

The Wizard Laird o Skene (1680-1724)

Sir Alexander Skene of Skene the 16th Baron of that race
Traivelled tae Padua tae larn the blaik airts o thon evil place
For sivven lang years he studied there, the Deil wis maister o the skweel
In necromancy, spells an herbs he learned the Deevil's lessons weel

They say the laird nae shadda cast, his sowel wis promised tae Auld Nick
Corbie an jaikie, pyot, an craa wir his familiars fierce an quick
Should ye misfit this warlock gran, he'd reest ye straicht aff tae the dyke
An there ye'd bide, the spell held gweed, nae matter foo ye'd fidge an fyke

Ae nicht he ludged inbye a howff, a ceilidh kept sleep frae his bed
He cursed the dauncers ane bi aa, an gart them jig till their feet bled
He set alicht the Auld Skene kirk, usin sic pouers like twis a game
He pit the kintraside in fear wi pliskies ower coorse tae name

It's said fin Winter grippt the lan, untae Kilgour his coachman, he
Gaed orders that a guest wis due, a guest that Kilgour michtna see
At midnicht, the laird's coach wis rigged, an brocht afore the Wizard's haa
Kilgour luiked forrit, niver back, on hearin the strange cheil's fitfaa

‘Drive on, ' the warlock cried, ‘drive on, across the frozen Loch o Skene'
Kilgour wheeped on the horses, bit he teeted at the stranger's sheen
An sawAuld Clootie's cloven hooves. The coach wheels brukk the ice an sank
The warlock gaed an eidritch skreich, dry shod the horses reached the bank

An fin the warlock's daith drew near Auld Nick sat wytin at a cave
A cauld dreich autumn nicht it wis… wid Skene be gaen a Christian grave?
Wis he fur Heaven or fur Hell? His fate wis sattled bi a fecht
Atween the corbie an the pyot.. twa oors they warssled wi aa micht

The pyot made a final lowp an tore in twa the corbie's breist
Auld Nick wis swickit o his prize an Skene wis beeriet bi a priest
An tae this day on ae nicht's frost the coach's wheelmerks ower the ice
Shaw clear, reminders o the time the warlock kept the deevil's breast

This tale is true. Ma granminnie telt me fin she cam as a bride
Tae Skene, at Halloween the fowk still lichtit fires far speerits glide
Gae veesit thon loch gin ye daur…the follies, griffins, gargoyles dreich
The oorie an the eildritch neuks, the mist that's like a ghaistie wreath

Thursday, March 21, 2019
Topic(s) of this poem: music
Tanya Gall 06 February 2021

Absolutely fantastic, Always been fascinated with this story of local lore, and in Doric too! Great! [3

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