Janet Hamilton

(1795-1873 / Scotland)

To Mithers - Poem by Janet Hamilton

Hear me, mithers, oh! mithers,
Wives o' puir workin' men,
Wha toil baith late an' early-
Little to spare or spen';
Weel ken I, my titties,
Hoo ye maun haud an' hain,
Tentily warein' the gear
That feeds an' cleeds your ain.

Sair the gudeman is needin'
New claes to fend the cauld-
New shoon that may turn the weet
That's seepin' through the auld.
Bairnies are roun' ye hingin',
Milk an' meal they maun hae,
Frocks an' knickers forbye-
A' maun come aff the pay.

The bairnies maun get schulin',
An' though the fees be sma',
Mony wees mak' a muckle;
Hoo sall ye compass a'?
Nocht but a stout-heart mither
Can climb sae stey a brae;
Dinna weary in weel-doin'-
Whaur there's a will there's a way.

Dinna stan' lang at the door,
For gossips will come oot,
Tellin' an' speerin' the news,
Ca'in' the clashes aboot.
Bide maist on your ain fire en',
The bairnies roun' your knee,
Learnin' the fear o' Gude:
Be what a mither shou'd be.

Kaim weel the towzie wee heids,
Wash the wee faces an' feet:
Makin' an' mendin' their duds,
Try to gar baith ends meet.
Mind ye to tosh up the hoose
Before the gudeman comes in;
Set doun his meals wi' a smile-
Ne'er wi' flytin' an' din.

Mithers, I've something to say:
Sairly it grieves me to think
Monie among ye are gaun
Clean to the deil wi' drink;
Keepin' the hoose like a midden,
Bairnies hunger't an' wan,
Fleein' wi' rags, barkin't wi' dirt:
Wae for the workin' man!

There's nae sic plague on the yirth,
There's nae sic curse in life,
Like the curse that blichts the hame
That hauds a drucken wife.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, September 7, 2010

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