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Condon, Kleckner, Gilles, Ethen, Milton, Meyer, Mitchell, and Liston Family History

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These are the collected poems of Granny Mitchell, written in the Northwood, Iowa area, prior to 1933.  She was born in Scotland in 1852 and emigrated to this country in 1892.  The poems were collected and published by Janice Clapper (daughter of Maurice Milton) in a book, undated.  The first five pages of the book are shown below.  Also shown are scanned images of some of the poems, at least one written in her own hand, and others, possibly copied by her daughter, Margaret Michell Wright.  Thanks to my sister, Carol, for typing the poems for use on this web page.

Granny Mitchell's Poems
50th wedding anniversary
50th wedding
The Auld, Auld Road, page 1
The Auld, Auld Road
page 1
The Auld, Auld Road, page 2
The Auld, Auld Road
page 2
Our First Hoose, page 1
Our First Hoose
page 1
Our First Hoose, page 2
Our First Hoose
page 2
Twa Wee Robins
Twa Wee Robins
Our Auld Kitchen, page 1
Our Auld Kitchen
page 1
Our Auld Kitchen, page 2
Our Auld Kitchen
page 2




If ye keek intae my kitchen,
This is whit ye’ll see,
The teapot sitting on the hob,
The kettle singing on the swee,
The peat fire glimmering cheerily,
Thro window licht oer flair an waa,
An a’ within that wee bit cot,
Is scoored as white as snaw.

The hoose cat an the collie dug,
Lie stretched on the white Hearth-stane,
An Sandy sits an toasts his taes,
At the warmth o’ the cheery flame,
The supper tables’ drawn in o’er
A bowl o’ parritch, horn spune,
He dumps the dottle oot his pipe,
An tae his supper dis begin.

An noo he’s in his arm chair,
All comfy an serene,
His cutty pipe atween his teeth,
In his haun the ‘People’s Frien’.
An sin I turn an look at him,
A tear rins doon his cheek,
I speir him whits the matter noo,
But tae me he winna speak.

When I sit and darn his socks,
An I hear a hearty lauch,
I ken he’s at the funnies noo,
Edit’ by Uncle Jack.
An pretty sin I hear him snore,
Sitting in his chair,
His pipe has faen clear oot his mooth,
The ‘People’s Frien’ lies on the flair.

Three faithful cronies Sandy’s haen,
Thro fifty years o’ marriet life,
First ane is the ‘People’s Frien’,
Then his pipe, an last his wife.
An next I think wid be his Bairns,
A faithful Faither Sandy’s been,
An noo we’re seventy-five year aul,
An baith enjoy the ‘People’s Frien’.


Twa wee robins, puir wee things,
Built their nest we straws an’ strings,
They laid them straucht, they laid them neat,
Wi’ the help o’ their bills an’ twa wee feet.

They daubed it wi’ mud an’ rubbed it a’roon,
Till their wee red breists were turned tae broon,
Then they lined it wi’ feathers, snug an’ warm,
Tae keep their wee birdies safe frae harm.

The wee things shouldna’ hae built there at a’,
‘Twas on the rung o’ a ladder hung on the waa’,
Wark had tae be dune, an’ at the maisters behest,
Doon cam the ladder, an’ wi’ it the wee nest.

Nae mair did they flirt, nae mair did they sing,
They hung their heids, an’ drooped their wing,
I couldna’ be sure, frae the place whaur I sat,
Bit they drapped a tear, an’ the twa o’ them grat.


The flooers are fading fast awa’,
The trees are sere an’ broon,
An’ wi’ the least bit puff o’ win,
The leaves come tumblin’ doon;
The harvest noo is gathered in,
The corn is repening in the ear,
An’ a’ things plainly seem tae say,
That winter time will sin be here.

The squirrels frisk frae tree tae tree,
The walnut harvest they explore,
Edient an’ wise, they seek a place,
Whaur they can hide their winter store;
Great flocks o’ geese are fleeing sooth,
Their honking we can plainly hear,
They seem tae say, “Guid-bye the noo,
We’ll come again anither year”.

The nests they built wi’ skill an’ care,
Are left ahin’, they want nae mair,
The brood they raised wi’ care an’ pride,
Noo proudly flee sooth by their side;
Bit alas an’ alack there goes a shot,
Ane o’ them draps richt on the spot,
Sae on it goes an’ tae tell the truth,
The half o’ them ne’er reaches the south.


We a’ gae’d tae the Northwood Fair,
An’ it shairly wis worth while,
The committee, an’ a’ concerned,
Did a’ things in great style.

Ye may talk aboot yer city fair,
An’ whit ye see whin there,
Bit gin ye want tae see the best,
Jist try tae visit Northwood Fair.

The barns weel filled wi’ cattle braw,
The hogs were sleek an’ fat,
The poultry pens wi’ ducks an’ hens,
Big turkeys ready fir the pat.

The owners smile wis guid tae see,
Blue ribbons fluttered everywhere,
For there wis naething bit the best,
That could be seen at Northwood Fair.

The floral hall decked oot fu’ braw,
Showed handy work baith trim an’ neat,
Tae fit the purse o’ rich an’ puir,
An’ rig ye oot frae heid tae feet.

Baith eats an’ drinks wis served galore,
Gin friends ye met wi’ them you’d share,
For a’ things wis baith clean an’ neat,
An’ served wi’ care at Northwood Fair.

The music tae wis o’ the best,
The free-acts, worthy tae be seen,
The monkey wi’ its funny tricks,
The clever birds, baith white an’ green.

The Legion Lads, wi’ unco care,
 Did sweep an’ wax their dancing flair,
Where lads an’ lassies trim an’ neat,
Cheer’d oor auld herts at Northwood Fair.

Noo whin the time comes roon again,
Ne’er think o’ whits gaun on elsewhere,
Jist fill the car we’ wife an’ weans,
An’ wend yer way tae Northwood Fair.

Ne’er fash aboot the twa, three cents,
It costs ye tae get thro the gate,
Or o’ the wark ye leeve ahin,
Jist tak the time e’re its o’er late.

An’ whin ye get tae oor braw toon,
An’ wi’ auld friends forgether there,
Ye’ll think the time mair than weel spent,
Ye took tae visit Northwood Fair.


One by one, dear friends and neighbors,
From our midst they pass along,
Love and friendship ties are broken,
From our ken forever gone.

But why should they mourn the dear one gone?
Her body was frail and old.
We already hath heard his own, “Well done,
Enter thou now into the rest of the Lord.”

But her kindly smile and outstretched hands,
Forget we never will.
But in fancy’s mind, as time rolls on,
Will see them beckoning to us still.

Her’s is the gain, while ours is the loss,
She now wears the crown, while we bear the cross.
She has laid down her burdens, While we take them up,
She has drained the dregs, while we have the cup.

So we lay her away so tenderly,
In bonnie Sunset Rest, (In the little home of the dead).
Her sweet spirit and soul resting securely,
With her dear Saviour, whom she loved best.

But oh- we will miss their dear faces,
Their loved ones and friends among,
Still we bow in sweet submission,
And say “Thy will be done”.


I tried tae get a picture,
My dear wee Betty Lou,
But I had tae mak’ wee flooers,
I hope you’ll like them too.

An’ when you put yer apron on,
An’ Granny go to see,
You an’ her can look at them,
As you sit upon her knee.

An’ a’ the knots are love-knots,
An’ a’ mistakes are true,
I hope you will wear it an’ tear it,
My ain dear wee Betty Lou.


Bonnie, dear wee bairnie,
Sent oor herts tae cheer,
Just like a pure white snaw drap,
In the spring-time o’ the year.

We pray as thro this life ye go,
An’ joys an’ sorrows meet,
Thro waters pure an’ pastures green,
May the good Lard guide yer feet.

An’ whin ye get tae the end o’ the road,
An’ the mists hang low o’er the lea,
May you hear the Master’s gentle call,
Sayin, “Weary one come hame unto me”.


I tried tae draw your picture,
My bonnie wee Joan,
I didn’t get it very good,
But did it as weel as I can.

When ye put yer apron on,
An’ gang tae feed the chickadee,
Tell Daddy tae tak’ yer picture,
An’ sen’ ane o’ them tae me.

A’ the knots are love-knots,
An’ a’ the stitches truth,
I hope you’ll wear it an’ tear it,
My dear wee lassie, Joan.


My bonnie, dear wee Ruthie,
I made this quilt for you,
 In hopes to deep you snug an’ warm,
When cauld clear thro an’ thro.

Fingers, work-worn an’ weary,
Eyes, baith auld an’ dim,
Bit heart filled wi’ love an’ pleasure,
I stitched an basted those pieces in.

Some are made o’ velvet,
Some are made o’ silk,
An’ some are o’ your own wee dresses,
Have made this nice warm quilt.

The love o’ faither an’ o’ mither,
Is maist beyond the mind,
An a dear wee bairn like you to care for,
Seems just wonderfully fine.


Far awa’ in auld Scotland,
There stans a wee biggin,
It’s dear tae my hert frae the doorstep,
Clear up tae the riggin.

It’s a wee auld fashioned shielan,
A butt an’ a ben,
An auld theeket riff,
Wi’ a lum at ilk en’.

The riff thick wis in places,
An’ in places wis thin,
It wis patched here an’ there,
Wi’ heather, bracken an’ brim.

It had stood mony a storm,
O’ snaw, rain an’ win’,
It would let the reek oot,
It would let the rain in.

The windows were wee,
An’ the lozens were less,
There wis mair wood aboot them,
Than whit there wis gless.

The walls were white-washed,
An’ built o’ whinstanes,
Fir lang years it wis hame,
Tae us an’ oor weans.

The red an’ white roses,
Hung in clusters sae braw,
They grew clear o’er the riff,
An’ fair covered the wa’.

An’ the auld rowan tree,
Wi’ its berries sae gay,
Where oor bairnies played under,
The lang summer day.

‘Twas there in the gloamin’,
Wi’ the bairns I gaed roamin’,
An’ pu’d the wee gowans,
That spangled the lea.

We’d chain them thegither,
A’ necklace mak’ o’ them,
An’ trim it wi’ berries,
Aff the auld rowan tree.

Syne alang by the hedges,
We’d slip quate an’ canny,
An’ try wha the maist,
Wee birdies nest’s we’d see.

The contents o’ them a’,
We then would examine,
While the auld mither bird watched,
Frae the branch o’ a tree.

When the enin’ sun set in the west,
The owl set up its eerie cry,
The wooddove in its leafy bower,
Coo’d tae its mate close by.

The kye cam hame across the lea,
The sheep, auld grandad’s pride,
Cam flockin’ frae the hillsides,
Wee lambies friskin’ by their side.

But noo the hoose is toom an’ quiat,
An’ we’re a’ scattered far awa’,
But the auld hoose stans there just the same,
‘Neath summer sun and winter snaw.


Auld Granny Stewart, I can see
Wi’ her black merino goon,
Her pipet mutch, as white as snaw,
Her hair sae smooth an’ broon,
Her kindly auld wrinkled face,
An her kindly sweet blue een;
Sittin’ at her spinnin’ wheel,
By the fire en’ white an clean.

An’ there she’d sit an’ sing, an’ spin,
It seemed tae me the hale day lang,
Till she had hanks o’ yern, an’ yairds o’ claith,
Sae smooth, sae white, sae strang;
An weel may the auld face be wrinkled and furrowed,
Fir o’ joys and sorrow, she had her own share,
Fir Grandfaither deed in the prime o’ his manhood,
An’ left ten faitherless bairns tae her care.

An tae that chairge she wis honest and faithfu, A
That dear mithers’ blessin’ they a’ loed tae earn,
Her heart wis aye near them her vice wid aye cheer them,
Wi God bless ye, Heaven prosper my bairn,
She wis honored an’ respected by a’ that did her ken,
High an’ low tae her were a’ the same.
The sorrowin’ an’ doon-hearted, she ne’er awa wid sen
They were taen in an comforted, at her fire en’.


The Januar’ win did loodly blaw,
O’er lowly cot, an’ lordly ha’,
An’ ae wild blast blew the riff awa,
Right aff the tap o’ Robin.

Bit cuddled on his mither’s arn,
Free frae cauld, an’ safe frae harm,
Quo’ she, “Yere haun’s eel weel, my bairn,
I think we’ll ca’ ye Robin”,

Sae on Braxy kail an’ guid atemeal,
The sonsy bairn they fed fu weel,
Syne aft they sent him tae the schue,
The sturdy, weel faurd Robin.

An’ there his lessons he did learn,
An’ helped his faither on the farm,
An’ if their laws were stricht an stern,
A man they made o’ Robin.

Oh sure, he had his fauts an’ faililngs,
As weel as stracht an’ honest dealings,
Bit let him who’s fautless cast a stane,
An’ he may hit worse then Robin.


Oh, Rabbie Man, had ye bit kent,
That loyal Scots sae oft wid gether
Tae celebrate an’ honor you,
Ye’d hae tried tae cam in warmer weather.

Bit Rab, puir cheild, nae mair oorsels
Could ye hae helped when ye were born;
Sae gin the day be snell and cauld
Let patriotism keep oor herts warm.

At Manly on the twenty-third
In the basement o’ the Kirk,
A’ ye loyal Scots forgether,
At ane o’clock we’ll dine thegither.

Wi’ table linen white as snaw,
We’el busk the tables bricht and braw,
An’ sprigs o’ heather lay oer a’,
A’ tae honor Robin.

Let shortbread an’ haggis grace the board,
Fir fare fir aither duke or lord,
An’ wi’ loyal toasts we’ll laud oor bard,
Oor weel lo’ed poet Robin.

Wha sangs hae echoed through the glens
Frae lowly cot an’ lordly ha’;
An’ just yestreen whin list’ning in
Cam wafting oer the Radio,

“Scots Wha Hae wi’ Wallace Bled”
“Bonnie Lass, will Ye be Mine”
“A Man’s a Man, fir a’ That”
An “The Days o’ Auld Lang Syne”.

Bonnie Scotland, I adore thee!
Mony lang years I wandered oer thee;
Still my hert beats warmly fir thee,
Bonnie, bonnie Scotland.

Whaur the bracken an’ the broom grow sae bonnily thegither,
The thistle an’ the whin an’ the bonnie purple heather,
Hame o’ oor ain folk honest an’ true,
Tae a’ loyal Scots nae place on earth is just as dear as you.


Ilk year whin January comes roon,
Kind thochts an memories return
Tae that natal day o’ Scottish fame,
The birth o’ poet ---Rabbie Burns.

Tho peasant born, in lowly cot,
His fame will never be forgot
Bit leave enshrined as time rolls on,
In hert o’ ilka loyal Scot.

The bonnie wids, the ferny Glens,
The winding rills, the lofty Bens,
The bonnie flooers, the burnies sang
Hae waukened thochts that linger lang.

Bit abune them a’ he did preside
The puir man’s joy, the rich man’s pride,
He tranchled mony a wary road
Bit lichtened mony a heavy load.

Aft times his bonnie sangs I’ve sung
Tae Bairnes gathered roon my knee,
At bed time, roon a cheery fire,
In oor dear wee cot far o’er the sea.

Aye, mair then Scot revere his name,
An mair than Scot his worth proclaim
His sangs hae cheered whin herts were glad,
An lifted up whin herts were sad.

An tho oceans wide atween us roll,
An distant be oor lot,
Oor Robins fame an auld Scotch hame,
Will never be forgot.


When Sandy an’ me were married,
Oor plenishings wis bit sma,
Bit we made the best o’ whit we had,
An’ aye were been an’ braw.

Oor hoos wis jist a butt an’ ben,
The rooms were unco’ sma’,
Bit they were the easier for tae fill,
An’ big enuch fir twa.

We had half a dizen o’ kitchen chairs,
A table white as snaw,
A shelf wi’ bonnie dishes out,
An’ a calendar on the waa’.

We had a kitchen dresser,
It wis white an’ a’.
Wi’ a raw o’ big an’ little drawers,
A’ painted broun sae braw.

On it I set my walley jugs,
Three pair stood in a raw,
Twa pair were white wi’ braw gold bands,
Ae pair wis blue wi’ flowers o’er a’.

We had a cunning wee bit shelf,
 On it we set oor eicht-day clock,
An’ if Sandy mint tae raw it up,
It never aince wid stop.

Oor fire en’ wis built wi’ big whin stanes,
Pairt wis black and pairt wis white,
An’ whin the fire burnt cheerily,
 It wis a bonnie sicht.

I had a steel ring tae set my teapot on,
Oor ashpan was unco’ braw,
Oor fire airns shone like silver,
An’ oor hearth-stane wis white as snaw.

In ae corner sat Sandy’s airm-chair,
An through time a wee cradle-bed in the ither,
That held a bonnie wee laddie bairn,
An’ I was the wee bairn’s proud mither.

Bit, Oh! If ye had seen oor parlour,
It wis the brawest an’ grandest o’ a’,
We had a kist o’ mahogany drawers,
Set up against the waa’.

An’ set on the tap o’ the drawers heid,
Wis a braw big looking-glass,
That every time I looked intilt,
I saw a braw weel faurd wee lass.

An’ a braw mahogany table,
 Stood in the middle o’ the flair,
An’ a gorgeous white antimacassar,
Hung o’er the back o’ every chair.

On the table I set oor family Bible,
It wis a’ bound roon wi’ brass,
An’ beside it the family album,
Wi’ the picter o’ mony a braw lad an’ lass.

An’ every time I looked intilt,
The truth tae you I’ll tell,
I thocht the bonniest picter amang them a’,
Wis o’ Sandy and mysel’.

Noo we’ve leeved in mony a bigger an brawer hoose,
An’ the years hae cam’ an’ gone,
Bit my heart ne’er warmed tae ane o’ them,
Like it did tae oor first wee butt an’ ben.


The Januar’ win’ did fiercely blaw,
An’ whirling, piled the dirting snaw,
Whin we Scotch fold gathered in the ha’,
Tae celebrate fir Robin.

Curran’ scones, an aitmeal cakes were there,
An’ shortbreid, baked wi’ skill and care,
An ilka plate, an’ ilka dish,
That hert o’ man cid sharely wish.

Scotch caunel sticks gleamed in a raw,
We caunels glimmering in them a’,
It sharely wis a cheery sicht,
Fir stragglers comin’ in that nicht.

An singly laid or bunched the gither,
Lay sprigs o’ bonnie Scottish heather,
That grew on Scottish muirs sae braw,
Across the sea, sae far awa’.

An’ Robin fauts, and Robins failings,
As weel as straicht an’ honest dalin’s,
Were faithfully discussed that nicht,
By authors famed an’ writers bricht.

An’ cutty sarks, an’ auld white mutches,
That graced the heids o’ Robins witces,
That danced sae wild and free o’ care,
In auld Alloway Kirk, on the Banks O’ Ayre.

The auld scotch sangs we sweetly sang,
In the guid auld Scottish tongue,
The sangs oor faithers liked tae hear,
The sangs oor mithers sang.

An’ tho’ the ocean wide atween us roars,
An’ distant be oor lot,
Auld Scotland’s hame, an’ Robins fame,
Can never be forgot.


Ae day I said tae Sandy,
“Gae sharpen up the shears,
 Yer hair an’ beard’s sae unco lang,
I canna hardly see yer ears.”

Noo I had ben Sandy’s barber,
Fir thirty years an’ mair,
An’ the answer that he gaed tae me,
It shairly made me stare.

Quo’ he, “Guid wife, yer hair-cuts auld,
I’ve been thinking quite a while,
I’d noo gang tae the barbers,
An’ get it cut in first class style,

But ye can gae an get the shears,
An’ trim my beard a’ roon’”.
Quo’ I, “Guid feth, I feel the noo,
Like trimint wi’ the broom”.

“Sandy, my man, ye brawly ken,
I’m nae second-handed wife,
Tak’ yer auld beard tae the barber,
An’ he can trim it the rest o’ yer life”.

Sae awa’ tae the barber he gaed,
Tho’ I let na on I wis weel content,
Fir mony an anxious half-oor,
On his hair-cut I had spent.   

An’ whin he cam hame frae the barber,
I didna’ look at him,
Until I heard a scared vice say,
“Wifie, daur I come in”?

I winert whit he’d been daeing,
It wis the first time in a’ my life,
That I kent him tae be frichted,
Tae come an’ face his wife.

An’ whin I looked richt at him,
I fairly roared an’ lauched,
He had got his fancy haircut,
An’ his auld gray beard was trimmed clear off.

An’ after a while he says,
“Wifie, hoo dae I look tae you?”
An I said, “ Sandy, ye look just like,
A weel scalded, clean scrapet soo”.

Some said he looked younger an’ bonier,
An’ tae keep shaving if off right alang,
Bit I said, “Sandy, let it grow again,
An’ be my ain nice-looking auld man.


Auld Granny’s window I can see,
‘Twas ie sae neat an’ clean,
The window sill fair fu o’ flowers,
Were ie sae fresh an’ green.
The curtains ie as white as snaw,
Ne’er speck on window licht,
The shutters painted white an’ blue,
The brasses burnished bricht.

On ae side hung a wee bird cage,
Canaries in it twa,
That sat an’ sang frae morn till nicht,
Tae Granny an’ us a’.
And hinging on the ither side,
A wee hoose white an’ nice,
An’ inside o’ that wee hoose were
Six pink-eyed, wee white mice.

An’ inside o’ the wee hoose,
Wis a wee bit cunning stair,
A ferris wheel, a wee wire swing,
An’ marbles on the flair.
An’, Oh! The fun the mice would hae,
Inside o’ that wee hoose.
I said tae Granny dear, ae day,
“I wish I wis a moose”.

An’ auld Granny wi’ her tartan shawl,
An’ mutch sae white an’ braw,
Sat knitting, spinning petticoats,
An’ stockings fir us a’.
An’ fir ilka ane that passed that way,
She had a welcome smile,
An’ cheery wor, “Hoo’s a’ the day?
Come in an’ rest a while”.

An’ every day at four o’clock,
She wid hae a cup o’ tea,
An’ she wid set an extra dish,
Some ane micht drap in, ye see,
An’ the dear auld kindly face,
Wis baith wrinkled an’ furrowed,
For o’ trials an’ sorrow she’d had her share,
Her guid man had deed in the prime o’ his manhood,
An’ left ten faitherless bairns tae her care.

An’ tae that charge she was honest and true,
That dear mither’s blessings they a’ loed tae earn,
For her heart wis ie near them an’ her voice wid ie cheer them,
Wi’ sic words as “God bless ye, my bairn”.
She was honoured an’ respected by a’ that did her ken,
High an’ low, tae her were the same,
The sorrowin’ an’ doon-hearted she ne’er awa did sen,
They were a’ taen in an’ comforted at her fire en’.


On an’ auld crooked road,
By Loch Lomond’s bonnie shore,
Stands an’ auld theeket hoose,
Twa wee windows an’ a door.

There is a lum on ilka en’,
A doorstep white as snaw,
An’ junipers an’ roses,
Fair covered a’ the waa’.

An’ if ye peep inside the door,
It’s just a butt an’ ben,
Ye’el see a weel caumed stane flair,
An’ a bonnie, clean fire en’.

An’ aul’ mahogany kist o’ drawers,
A raw o’ plates sae braw,
An aboon the weel scoored table,
Hings the auld wag-at-the waa’.

An’ jist aboon the ootside door,
Hings there sae a’ can see,
A sign that tells we’re licensed,
Tae sell tobacco, snuff, an’ tea.

Fir sale there wis striped balls,
Peppermints, an’ hairnets ina pile,
Candy rock an’ bawbee baps,
An’ hair an’ castor ile.

Buit an’ corset laces,
Gallows buttons by the score,
Preens an’ needles, stripet tape,
An babbins black an’ white galore,

An’ in that wee auld fashioned biggin,
In times o’ wars and strife,
Leeved auld Granny Lyle, puir body,
Ninety-nine years o’ her life.

At the time that I kent Granny,
Wi’ age she was doobled up in twa,
An’ said she wis patiently waitin’,
Fir her dear, guid Maister’s ca’.

(Granny Lyle lived in the time and place o’ the Covenanter’s plundering an’ murdering.)


Let the proud florist boast,
O’ his braw cultured flooers,
That grow in the hot-hoose,
Far awa’ frae the dells;
While humbly I tell,
O’ the little wild flooers,
The bluebells o’ Scotland,
The Scottish bluebells.

Sublime are the hills,
When the new day is breaking,
The wild rugged rocks,
Wi’ their clear crystal fells,
An’ the bonnie green grass,
Wi’ the morning dews dripping,
Aff the bluebells o’ Scotland.
The Scottish bluebells.

An’ sweet is the heather,
That grows on the hilltips,
The bracken an’ broom,
That o’erspread a’ the dells,
The wee daisy an’ gowen,
That cover the learing,
But the bonniest o’ a’ is,
The Scottish bluebells.

Aft, aft tae auld Scotland,
Wi’ her heath covered mountains,
Fond memories return,
An’ tears in my een swell;
When I think o’ a wee spot,
Beside a wee cot,
Where grew blue as heaven,
The Scottish bluebell.

The bold Scottish thistle,
The tall purple foxglove,
Wee violet an’ snawdrap,
O’erspread a’ the fells;
An’ auld raggit robin,
An’ Kind O’ the meadows,
Bit queen o’ them a’ wis,
The Scottish bluebells.

Aft there is the gloamin’,
Wi’ the bairns I gaed roamin’,
An’ I’d sit doon amang them,
An’ tales tae them tell,
Till the nicht it grew eerie,
We gaed hame blithe an’ cheery,
Their haunds were a’ fu’ o’.
The Scottish bluebells.

Oh, back tae the hameland,
Wi’ its’ wild rugged grandeur,
Back tae the auld kirk,
Wi’ its ivy clad bell,
An’ its moss covered graveyard.
Whaur lie our auld forefolk,
Let me lie, happit o’er, with
The Scottish bluebells.

Awake, ye wee fairies,
That trip o’er the heather,
Ye brownies an’ elfins,
Come forth frae your cells;
An’ join in the chorus,
While walkins are ringing,
The bluebells o’ Scotland,
The Scottish bluebells.


Come peek intae ma’ kitchen,
The kailpat’s hingin’ on the swee,
The tea-kettle sings merrily,
An’ some speax tae ye’ll see.

There’s a baky fu’ o’ balbins,
An’ on the cozy ingle seat,
The auld man’s sitting snorin’,
Frae wark an’ care noo free.

On the mantel there’s twa wally dugs,
Twa horses black as jet,
A caddy fu’ a’ Liptons tea,
The roses on it I did pent.

The bellows an’ the besom,
Hing up against the jams,
On the bonnie white hearthstane,
Lies the poker, fender, an’ tangs.

There’s a press o’er in the corner,
Whaur I set my china braw,
They’re ne’er used bit whin we’ve friens,
They’re no for just oorsel’s at a’.

There’s a kebbuck in the cupboard,
Some aitmeal cakes, an’ soda scones,
An’ a dish o’ home-made marmalade,
I brocht frae kizen Johns.

An’ jist oot o’er the ootside door,
There’s a pair o’ water stoups a’ fu’
An’ beside them a pair o’ trackely buits,
The aul’ man put aff e’er he cam in.

An’ on a stump aneath the rowan tree,
Lies the sape an’ wid wash bine,
An’ a aul’ heather besom beside the jawbox,
Whaur we empty the sape suds in.

An’ up on a branch in the Rowan tree,
A Robin built its nest.
Noo four wee robins blink doon at me,
O’er the rim o’ the dear wee nest.


In the toon o’ Balfron, stands an auld clachan,
I never can think o’ bit whit I fa’ lauchin,
‘Twas an auld fashioned biggin, a butt an’ a ben,
An auld thesket riff wi a lum at ilk en’.

The riff thick wis in places, in ithers wis thin,
Patched here an’ there wi’ heather, or bracken,
It stood mony a storm o’ snaw, rain an’ win’.
It would let the reek oot, an it let the rain in.

The windows were wee, but the lozens were less,
Wi’ mair wid aboot them then there wis gless,
The waa’s were a’ whitewashed an’ built o’ whinstane,
Fir years it wis hame tae auld Granny Graham.

Her faither an’ mither had leeved in’t afore her,
A bride an’ a widow in’t, auld Granny had been,
Twa sons an’ three brithers, made their home wi’ her,
She mithered an’ fed them did auld Granny Graham.

The sons, Andrew an’ Jamie, worked late an’ early.
Then there wis auld Andrew, an’ auld Uncle Charlie.
Willie, the joiner, sae quate an’ sae happy,
Charlie took snuff, an’ lo’ed a wee drappie.

Auld Charlie worked fir years at Ballikirain,
An’ Black Bull Inn stood on his way hame,
The temptation tae enter, he ne’er could let pass,
Bit wid aye hae a hauf, or micht be a hale glass.

Oh, weel dae I min ae day Charlie cam hame,
Drenched inside wi’ whisky an’ outside wi’ rain,
Granny took aff his shin, an’ helped him tae bed,
An’ rain through the riff dreeped doon on his heid.

I wis a bairn then, aged aboot ten,
An’ on some errand Granny had sent me ben,
Wi’ the snuff frae his nose, an’ thick colored rain,
He looked tae me, like an auld spotted hen.

Sae I took the umbrella an’ oot it did spread,
On the tap o’ auld Charlie, asleep on the bed,
An’ that is the thing that starts me a lauchin,
Whin I think hoo he looked, asleep in the clachan.

Many auld worthies leeved in that auld toon,
There wis auld Betty Reid, an’ clashin Nannie Broon,
Tinkler Betty McPhee, an’ blin Duncan McKinnon,
Geordie, the abgest, an daft Watty Buwhinnan.

An jist across frae the auld clachan,
Stood the historic tree, we played under when wee,
Five sister oaks grew frae ae trunk, chained thegither.
Tae save them frae the stress o’ windy weather.

Across frae the tree, wis a weel traveled road,
Waddins, an’ funerals o’er it sae aft had trod,
In through the gate, tae the hoose o’ their God,
Up mang the graves, covered o’er wi’ sod.

The auld folk I hae spoken o’ a’ worshiped there,
They sand the psalms, read the word, an’ bowed their heids in prayer,
Noo their dust lies quately resting aneath the sod,
An’ the auld kirk wi’ its steeple, still pints upward unto God.

***Mom’s note- House in Balfron where almost all of the Liston family were born has been made into a national monument.


Sitting musing in th gloamin’,
As the sun sinks in the west,
Thochts back in the hameland,
The land we loe the best;
Sun rays cross the hilltaps,
The mune glints o’er the sea,
The labourer hie’s him hameward,
The kye, contented, cross the lea.

Up mang the purple heather,
The sheep auld faither’s pride,
Are flocking doon the hillside,
Wee lambies friskin’ by their side;
The shepherd lad wi’ edient care,
Airts them hame across the muir,
Bonnet blue, crook, tartan plaid,
His watchfu’ Collie by his side.

The mists hang o’er Loch Lomond,
The e’enin’ shadows faa’.
I can hear the hoolets screaming,
Across the loch frae Balmaha;
The gracefu’ swans glide slowly hame,
Tae the wee broods in their nests,
Wee bills an e’en will sin peep thro,
The saft white down on mithers breast.

There stand the Isle o Craigieforth,
O’ story an’ o’ fame.
Whaur the Covenenters worshipped,
When driven frae their hame;
The pleasure boats an’ fisher yachts,
Lie scattered o’er the shore,
An’ Grandad an’ auld Granny,
Sit cracking by the door.

An’ o’er on yon whinny knowe,
I pu’d bluebells an’ daisies sweet,
Joukin mang the thistles,
Wi’ my wee bare feet;
An’ syne I gathered speax,
Up on Tennunich braes,
An’ o’er alang that auld stand dyke,
Pu’d hazel-nuts an’ blue-black slaes.


My ain dear sister, when
Your picture we had seen,
A stoon gaed thro my hert,
An the tears drapped frae my e’en.
Whin I thocht hoo times had changed us,
Since we each ither saw,
An’ the cracks an’ friendship we missed,
As the years hae slipped awa.

Ah, fain wid I hae reached across,
An’ clasped yer kindly haun,
Or drawn in o’er anither chair,
Aside ye on the lawn,
An sister Mirren, tae, wid join us,
As ye sit close by her door,
Aside the auld road tae Milguy,
That we hae traveled often o’er.

An’ we wid crack aboot the auld folk,
That are lying quate an’ still,
Wha used tae leeve sae cozy,
In the wee cot on the hill,
Whaur the roses an’ heather bloomed,
Maist a’ year roon’ an’ roon’,
Whaur the peesweep an’ the plover nested,
Mang the bracken an’ the broom.

Note:  Crack means to visit.


Auld Christmas comes but once a year,
An’ when it comes, it brings guid cheer,
Tae friends afar and’ folks that are near,
Frae neighbors kind, an’ bairnies dear;
Ae gift I got I liked it weel,
It wis a letter an’ a bonnet,
A bonnie card, wi’ greetings kind,
An’ best O’a’—a wee Scotch Bonnet.

‘Twis made o’ velvet, lined a’ through,
Wi’ tartan ribbons roon’, an’ on it,
A spring o’ heather at the side,
It shairly wis a braw wee bonnet;
We’ thochts o’ hame sae far awa,
Tears in my een, I gazed upon it,
Bit wi’ pride an’ pleasure showed tae a’,
My braw an’ bonnie—wee Scotch Bonnet.

Noo as I write tae you, dear frien,
A figure stauns, I look upon it,
It’s a Heelanman, dressed oot sae braw,
An’ on his heid the wee Scotch Bonnet,
Kilt an’ sporan, tartan plaid,
A braw Scotch Brooch is fastened on it,
Tartan hoe an’ buckled shoon,
An’ on his heid that—wee Scotch Bonnet.

He’s named “Chief o’ Strathearn Clan”.
Lang may he leeve tae proudly own it,
He holds aloft the Scottish flag,
An’ proudly wears the wee Scotch Bonnet;
Kind thanks I sen’ tae you, my friend,
Fir ilka stitch o’ love that’s on it,
May the Tartan be the tie that binds,
The Strathearn Clan tae the—wee Scotch Bonnet.


Ie’ whin I clean my caunel sticks,
A picture I can see,
O’ a mither wi’ her hear wee barins,
A’ gathered roon her knee.

An’ as I’d sit an’ shine them braw,
A wee bit sang I’d sing,
Bit sin a wee vice I wid hear,
“Please mither, mak’ the wee bell ring”.

An’ as I’d rub the caunel stick,
An’ twist it roon an’ roon,
I’d say, “My bairns, I doot it’s broke,
I canna’ hear a single soun”.

Syne it they’d tak’ in their wae hauns,
An’ turn it upside doon,
An’ poke their fingers in ilk en’,
But couldna’ get a soun’.

Syne they’d haun it back tae mither,
An say, “Mither, lauch an’ sing,
Fir every time that ye doe that,
It merrily does ring.”

An’ as I lauched an’ took it back,
I then my sang wid sing,
An’ Ah, bit it was winnerful,
Hoo that wee bell did ring.

An’ the bairns grew up an’ gaed awa’,
Bit nane o’ them ere guessed,
That the wee bell in the caunel stick,
Wis just a button on mither’s dress.

Fir as I’d twist an’ turn it roon,
An’ turn it upside doon,
I tried hoo often I could hit,
The button on my goon.

Noo, whin they come tae visit us,
They lauch, an’ crack wi’ ane anither,
Aboot the wee bell in the caunel stick,
An’ the deceit o’ their auld Scotch mither.


A peddler ca’d in by the hoose o’ Glenuek.
The family were by wi’ the breakfast an’ buek,
The lassies were kaimin’ an’ curlin’ their hair,
Tae gang tae the bridal o’ Peggy McNair.
“Guid morn’”, quo the peddler, sae frank an’ free,
“Let’s see wha this day will be hansel tae me,
An’ if they sid chance an’ ill bargain tae mak’,
I’ll gie them mysel an’ the hale o’ my pack”.

“Ha, ha”, quo the gid wife, “Gin I hae muckle skill,
That would be making waur intae ill,
My dochter’s richt certies o’ wark would be alack,
Tae trudge thro the kintry an’ carry a pack”.
As he let doon his wallets, an’ show’d the stock,
Whin she saw the rich cargo, she rued eair she spak’,
Sae licht o’ the peddler, or yet his braw pack.

The lassies cam flocking wi’ gleg glancing e’en,
And looked on the braws, fit fir a queen,
An’ they waild ther o’ ribbon, silks, an’ lace,
Till they raised mony thraws on the auld lairds niggard face.
Bit the sly glancing Nelly, stood a little back,
Stealing glints at the peddler, not at the pack.
An’ soon Nelly’s glances his spirits did move,
Fir he was there the sweet looks o’ love.

Sae a necklace he gae’d her, wi’ pearls a’ set,
Saying, “Wha kens but we micth married be yet.”
The rose flushed her cheek, an’ tears filled her e’e.
She gae’d tae the yard, an’ sat doon ‘neath a tree,
An’ something within her aft silently spak,
“I could gang wi’ the peddler an’ carry his pack”.

An’ she ne’er tae see him, whin he cam roon,
An’ aye met ilk ither whin she gae’d tae toon,
Bit faither or mirther nocht aboot it e’er kent,
Sae things moved alang till the wedding wis set,
Ae Sunday the auld wife frae the kirk cam hame,
The auld man said, “Is the days service dune?”
“My certies”, she cried, “This day I got an afront,
That fir months yet tae come will mak my hert dunt”.

“That sleeket slut, Nell, that we dautted sae smack,
Wis twice cried this day, tae that chiel wi’ the pack,
Whaur is she, the deil, gin I could her bit fin’,
My certies, bit I wid weel reesel her skin.”
Bit Nelly, wha foresaw whit the upshot wid be,
Gaed yont tae a frein’s hoose tae bide fir a ree,
Whaur a kerridge an’ pair cam afore day licht brack,
She set off we’ the peddler, unfashed wi’ the pack.

An’ noo there’s a mansion, an’ braw store in toon,
An’ the woner o’ baith used tae be peddler Broon,
Noo the auld wife ca’s him ‘mayor’, whin tae him she’ll crack,
An’ Nelly is ‘mayoress’, bit ne’er mentions the pack.


In Scotland, in the parish o’ Buwhinin,
‘Twas there my twa auld grannies leeved,
Honest, God-fearin’ women,
Ten sons an’ daughters each they raised;
Tae man and womanhood they grew,
Baith honored an’ respected,
Fir their catechism an’ aitmeal,
Never wis neglected.

Auld Granny Liston, I can see,
A’ dressed up in fine order,
Wi’ her white Cashmere Shawl,
Wi’ its wide Paisley Border;
Her fine silken gown,
Wi’ its wide flowin’ skirt,
As she set aff sae prood,
Tae the auld Parish Kirk.

She wis a dame o’ high degree,
Wore silks an’ satins tae her knee,
When tae the Duke an’ Duchess she’d serve tea,
In her bonnie, braw flooer gairden;
An’ Oh! She had a bonnie hame,
In fancy I can see it a’,
The roses an’ the rowan trees,
An’ junipers growing a’ o’er the wa’.

An’ the waters o’ Loch Lomond,
Lapped up maist tae her door,
An’ the fish boats an’ pleasure yachts,
Lay scattered on the shore;
An’ the high an’ lofty Craig o’ Firth,
O’ story an’ o’ fame,
Where the Covenanters worshipped,
When driven frae their hame.

The bloody pass o’ Balmaha,
Winds roon the Conic Hill,
Where Bailie Nicol brewed an’ sold,
Whisky frae his still;
An’ ‘mang the caves an’ rugged rocks,
Were hatched mony a murderous ploy,
By the thieving, drunken followers,
O’ that Scottish Chief, Rob Roy.

An’ amang that rugged grandeur,
The ivy turrets rose,
O’ the auld Castle o’ Buwhinin,
Where leeved the bloody Duke o’ Montrose,
But noo those days are past an’ gone,
An’ wars an’ strife are o’er,
An’ the sun o’ freedom shines,
On Loch Lomonds peaceful shore.


The Rev. Shaffer, wha’s sae guid,
An’ dis his best tae please us a’,
Show’d us some bonnie pictures,
O’ auld Scotland far awa’,
We gazed on princely palaces,
An’ looked on Lordly Ha’,
Bit the wee theeket cots amang the heather,
Tae us seemed deared o’ them a’.

An’ the Auld Man wi’ the Tam O’ Shanter,
An’ his white an’ curling lock,
His auld body is weary an’ worn,
Wi’ climbing o’er the rocks,
An’ trailing ‘mang the heathery muirs,
Tae rest he noo sits doon.
Wi’ his bunch o’ new-made besoms,
Some made I’ heather an’ some o’ broom.

An’ wi’ the pickle saugh wands,
Noo lying at his feet,
He’ll mak’ a wee bit basket braw,
Some day whin it is weet,
Oh! Fain wid I hae reached across,
An’ gripped his work-worn haunds,
Or jist sat doon beside him,
‘Mang his besoms an’ his wands.


There’s a place that I loe’ dearly,
Whaur I’d like to roam at will
There’s naething grand aboot it,
Just an auld hoose on the hill.

There the bees hum ‘mang the clover,
An’ the cattle browse at will,
An’ the Cedar River winds sae bonnie,
Past the wee hoose on the hill.

The auld folk that hae lived there,
Are noo in their lang hame,
An’ the bairns that used to rin there,
Hae hames in bairns o’ their ain.

But the auld trees stand there just the same,
‘Neath sun an’ winter storm,
They gather roon’ the auld hoose,
Tae keep it safe frae harm.

The windows – some are broken,
The latch hings aff the door,
Nae mair the bairnies playthings,
Lie scattered roon’ the flair.

The hoose is quate an’ empty,
The waa’s an’ rooms are toom,
But barefooted lad an’ lassies,
Aft hae played there oot an’ in.

The lads would tae the river gang,
An’ fish an’ bathe, an’ swim,
The barefooted lassies kilt their shirts,
An’ paddle oot an’ in.

The auld wire fence aroon’ the bank,
Hae aft held tufts o’ shirt an’ britches,
That made the wary mither,
Tak’ mony extra stitches.

The place is auld an’ hamely,
Nature’s seen there at her best,
Takes ye a step nearer heaven,
Heart an’ mind at perfect rest.


As I look awa’ across the years,
I see my see bit Hamlet Hame,
Maist hidden there amang the trees,
At the en’ o’ an auld weel traveled lane;
The waa’s wi’ ivy covered o’er,
Hing frae window, riff an’ door,
A’ sorts o’ birds year after year,
Built their nests there, score by score.

Again I hear my faither’s vice,
Telling us bairns tae rise,
A’ gae oot an’ bathe in the new May sun,
As it fa’s frae the skies;
Bit the laddies tae the burnies gane,
Padding in its waters clear,
Guzzlin’ fir the morning troot,
That jouks aroon’ the rocks wi’ fear.

My faithers garden I can see,
Its box-wood borders trim an’ snaw,
Its fit pads a’ wi’ gravel laid,
An’ chucky stanes as white as snae;
A bower o’ roses, red an’ white,
Maist hides the auld stane garden seat,
Where us bairns tae fuither wid recite,
Oor lesson fir the coming week.

An’ there alang the auld stane dyke,
A raw o’ bee skeps, carefu’ set,
Their honey sweet, maist a’ the treat,
Us bairnies in those days wid get;
The Endrick Water whimplin’ clear,
Ran by the Auld Hoose door,
Doon mountain side, o’er muir an’ fen,
‘Twas lost there from Loch Lomond shore.


Oor sister sent us a bonnie post card,
Across the ocean wide it cam’,
We’ a picture on’t o’ Sandy’s birthplace,
Whaur as a bare-fit laddie he ran.

The Allender Water ran whimplin’ alang,
Doon past the auld paper-mill,
An’ an auld crooked road, wi’ mony a turn,
Wis lost tae view at the fit o’ a hill.

An auld moss grown brig the river did span,
The banks covered wi’ heather an’ flooers,
Whaur wi’ preen an’ string on the en’ o’ a stick,
Sandy sat an’ fished there fir hoors.

Dear memories the picture brocht back tae us baith,
As we looked at the weel kent scene,
Nae winner, that as I slept that nicht,
I deamt this by ordinary dream.

I dreamt that I stood by the auld crooked road,
An’ a grand picture appeared tae my view,
O’ mountains, an’ crage towering maist tae the sky,
An’ Loch Lomond’s waters o’ heavenly blue.

‘Twas a glimpse o’ my ain dear birthplace,
An’ ‘twas sic’ a bonnie scene,
Nae painter on earth, could e’er reproduce,
The picture I saw in my dream.

Bit it faded awa’, clear oot o’ my sicht,
An’ alang the road, wi’ steady step,
Straucht an’ strong, a woman appeared,
An’ she carried a pack on her back.

I thocht, as she passed, ne’er looking at me,
Mary Stewart is that woman’s name,
When I wis a wee bairn, lang years past,
She cam’ tae auld Granny Stewart’s hame.

Sae I followed alang the auld crooked road,
Tae a hoose wi’ a wide open door,
Whaur the peat fire glimmer’d cheerily,
O’er window, stane flair an’ door.

The hoose cat an’ the collie dug,
Lay stretch’d on the white herthstane,
An’ the pack wife sat on a chair by the fire,
Her hauns held oot tae the flame.

Bit I had nae mair than sat doon on a chair,
When the peddler cam’ across the stane flair,
“Fir yer friendship”, quo she, “Is the best in my pack”.
An’ a braw piece o’ silk she laid on my lap.

Syne oot she gaed, an’ again she cam’ in.
An’ this time held an’ auld pair o’ shin,
“Sandy”, she says, “Has for-thocht an’ sense,
I’d like his advice, e’er I’m oot any expense.”

An’ tae Sandy she held up her auld shae,
I could see a big hoe, frae the heel tae the tae,
An’ syne Sandy speird, gin it were a’ hame made,
“Aye”, says she, “They were made by Geordie McDade”.

Then Sandy said tae her,
Wi’ ne’er a smile on his face,
Get a sole an’ some cloots on’t,
An’ ye’ll save the auld shae lace,

An’ whin I woke up, an’ thoct o’ my dream.
Three guid Scotch traits there wis tae be seen,
First friendship, then the gift,
An’ third, just canny, honest Scotch thrift.


The snaw has melted clean awa’,
The grun is broon an’ bare,
Wee birds that cooried in the eaves,
Are noo flirting everywhere.

Puzzlin’ their wee bit heids,
Boot wha they lo’ed the best,
Looking fir a cunning place,
Whaur they may build their nest.

The trees are stauning stark and bare,
Bit sunshine, warmth, an’ rain.
Will mak’ the buds burst forth,
An’ they will flourish green again.

Wee violets frae their wintry bed,
Will sune be peepin’ through,
On their stalks they’ll hing their heids,
As if tae hade frae view.

Yet there they’ll be content tae bloom,
In their new spring goons arrayed,
An’ there diffuse their sweet perfume,
Beneath the auld trees’ shade.

An’ we’ll throw off oor whinter coats,
An’ don ane fresh an’ new.
An’ through the coming summer months,
Oor faith an’ hope renew.

An’ let us thank the Lord ilk day,
For his mercies we’re receivein’,
Fir loving bairns an’ faithfu’ firens,
An’ a bonnie warl’ tae leeve in.


When it’s summer in the Highlands,
An’ the sky abune is blue,
Then my memories take me back,
Tae sunny glens and you;
Tae the bonnie purple heather,
Growing wild upon the braes,
Where aft we used to wander,
In the happy, by-gone days.

When the sun sets on the heather,
At the fa’ o’ evenin’ tide,
And the whimplin’ burnie wanders,
Doon the rocky mountain side;
‘Twas then oor way we wended,
Up that narrow winding road,
Thro the bluebells an’ the rashes,
Where the Endrick Water flowed,

I can hear the skirl o’ bagpipes,
As it echos thro the glen,
An’ see the smiling face o’ mither,
In her wee bit but an’ ben;
As she sits there in the gloamin’,
When the evenin’ lichts are low,
Thinking fondly an’ dreamin’,
In the rudy peat fire glow.

Oft in my dreams these memories haunt me,
Th’ I’m far across the foam,
I see the roses an’ heather.
‘Roon my little Highland Home.
When it’s summer in the Highlands,
An’ the skies abune are blue,
Oh! Take me back tae Scotland then,
Tae my dear auld kith an’ kin.


Auld Grannie’s shortbreid couldna’ be beat,
An’ her currn’ bun wis the talk o’ the toon,
Bit o’ fir a hunk o’ her plain aitmeal cake,
An’ butter spread on thick wi’ Grannie’s thumb.

Whit could compare wi’ an abernethy biscuit,
Spread wi’ fresh butter an’ black curran’ jam,
A bonnie broon parley, knicked roon the edges,
We bocht fir a fardin’, frae auld parley Tam.

Whin cripple Geordie, wi’ his cuddy cairt cam’ roon,
Bairnies ran to meet him, frae ilka neuk in toon,
Dirty faces fu’ o’ smiles, herts free an’ happy.
In his cairt he carried a box o’ yellow taffy.

Whin his horn he’d blaw, an’ holler ‘rags an’ banes’
Ye ocht tae see the scramble o’ barefitted weans,
He’d spit on his hauns, an’ we’d a gae daffy.
Fir rags an’ banes we’d get a hunk o’ taffy.


Oot there on the auld evergreen tree,
There’s something that’s real dear tae me,
It’s nocht bit an auld binding twine rope,
An’ in places it is very near broke.

Mony years hae gone by sin’ my lads hung it there,
Whin the days were lang, an’ the weather wis fair,
An’ o’ hoo they swung an’ holler’d wi’ glee,
“Neath the shade o’ the auld evergreen tree.

There wis three wee lassies, an’ the same o’ lads,
An’ ‘twas a pleasure we twa old folk had,
Tae think o’ vacation an’ whit we wid see,
Richt oot in the shade o’ the evergreen tree.

Awa’ up in the tree top, oot on a wee limb,
A robin built its nest, an’ raised its brood,
I thoct I widna tell them, an I ken I never did,
But that lad Less, spied it, an’ up the tree skid.

Oh, Less, I cried, “Ye’ll tumel doon”.
Fir jist this very day I read,
O’ a lad like you, that climbed a tree,
An’ he fell an’ broke his leg.

Ye ocht tae ha’ heard him lauch,
As doon the tree he slid,
Crying, “Granny dear, he mon hae been,
A very slippery kid”.

Willie, the auldest, wis rather sober,
Bit at time he wis unco guid,
He wid fill an’ carry the water bucket,
An’ the box he wid fill wi’ wid.

I ie’ wid tell them ‘thenk-ye’,
An’ say they were verra guid lads,
An’ I’d fill their wee hauns wi’ goodies,
Or ony bit treat that I had.

They said they like raisins an’ cocoanut,
Braw weel I kent they did,
An’ that they used tae often steal mithers,
Bit my box they couldn’ tak’ off the lid.

Bit Donals, he wis a great hunter,
He wid trudge o’er a’ the fields,
An’ wi’ a stick he’d poke the holes,
Wi’ auld Peggy close at his heels.

Ae day he caught a rabbit,
He said ‘twas guid an’ fat,
An’ then he brocht hame a wee bit skunk,
Inside o’ his auld straw hat.

He said he was a muckle hole,
An’ thochts he’d set a trap,
He did, an shair enuch, he got
Five half-grown, spry grey rats.

Laura an’ Margaret wid help me work,
Play some tunes, an’ sing some sangs,
Bit they never swung on the ladies swing,
They whispered their legs were o’er lang.

Kizzen Maggie cam frae awa oot west,
She wis here a’ by her lane,
An’ o’ course wis a wee bit lanesome,
After the ithers gaed awa’ hame.

She wid come tae the door an say,
“Granny, hae ye got yer wark a’ dune?
Will ye come oot tae the evergreen tree,
An’ gie me a great big swing?”

I  couldna’ refuse the dear wee bit lass,
An’ I’d swing her hight an’ low,
Syne way I had tae get dinner,
Sae let the auld cat dee an’ go.

Bit every time I said is,
The answer cam back richt quick,
“Oh, Granny, dinna let her dee yet,
She his’ na’ been lang enuch sick”.


‘Twas a bonnie box o’ heather,
My dear brither sent tae me,
He pu’ed on Kipculloch muir,
Far o’er across the sea;
It made me think o’ dear auld Scotland,
The Bens, the burns, the peat,
O’ times and frien’s noo gathered hame,
Till I sat me doon tae greet,
Tears for dear auld Scotland,
Tears for times lang past an’ gane,
Tears for them that kinkly lo’ed us,
Lang years, they’ve been gathered hame.


The squirrels frisk frae tree tae tree,
The walnut harvest they explore,
Provident and wise, they seek a place,
Where they may hide their winter store.


Oh! We’re far, far awa’,
Frae the friens we love sae dear,
An’ oor auld Scotish hame,
Acorss the raging main;
Oor years are getting few,
An’ we are auld and gray,
An’ their faces dear,
We ne’er will see again.

Aye, we’re far, far awa’,
Frae the friens we kent fer years,
Wha’ shared in a’ oor joys,
As weel as in oor tears;
When herts were sad they stood close by,
A kindely word to gie,
An’ gather’d roon the cheery fire,
For a friendly cup o’ tea.

Oh! Weel I mind the rambling,
In oor barefit lassie days,
Tranchlin’ thro the heather,
Gatherin’ nuts an’ slaes;
Or paidlin’ in the burnie,
Wi’ its whimplin’ waters clear,
Guzzlin’ the wee minnows,
That jookit roon the rocks in fear.

An weel I mind the summer nichts,
When herts were young an’ gay,
As lad an lass we wandered,
Alang lifes flowery way;
Oh! ‘Twas hard tae guid nicht,
Till twas maist anither day,
Wi’ oor laughin an’ daffin’,
On the auld Clachan brae.

An’ in the gloamin’,
On Loch Lomons bonnie shore,
I can see in fancy, Grandad,
Sit smoking by the door,
An’ Grannie sitting by his side,
Her wrinkled face fu braw,
Her silver snuff mull in her haun,
Her mutch as white as snaw.

An’ there they’d crack o’ times far back,
An’ friens that lay sae still,
Till the red sun sets in the west,
An’ the mune sets o’er the conich Hill;
Buna’ they times are past lang syne,
An’ we are scattered an oe an a’,
But they dear auld friens,
We ne’er foret, tho far, far awa’.


Ye’er twa auld craws sittin’ here,
Hingin’ yer auld heid,
Ne’er sayin’ a word tae me o acht ava,
The twa diels micht as weel be died,

Bit on them I’ll play a trick,
As share as I am leiven,
I’ll pit saut an pepper on their tail,
Syne wi’ them I’ll get even.


Dear lassie when ye look at this,
O’ crooked stitches there’s a few,
Bit in ilk ane ye’el shairly fin,
Kindling thocts, an love fer you.

I hinna teeth tae bite the thread,
I henna een tae see,
Dear lass yer mither’s getting auld,
Fir noo I’m seventy-three.


Oh, Jean, my dear, ye needna’ fear,
That I would e’er forget ye,
Fir this lang time the world o’er,
I’ve ne’er seen ane jist like thee.

Bit that I hae real careless been,
I’m willin’ tae admit, bit the summer lang,
I’ve been sae thrang,
I’ve scarce had time tae sit.

Bit oh! I’ve had a grand auld time,
Mid hichts, an’ hows, an’ wids, an’ pines,
An’ if I ocht say this wi’ shame,
I hardly wanted tae come hame.

Bit dinna’ fear my ain auld dear,
An’ dinna’ let yer hert repine,
Fir I’ll come doon tae Union soon,
An hae a’ crack, fir auld lang syne.

An’ when on Sunday we gaed doon,
The welcome we received,
That we were neither kith nor kin,
Ye widna hae believed.

We were set in the warmest corner,
An’ on the easiest chair,
An’ oh, the crackin’ and the feastin’,
We had when we were there.

We cracked aboot times past an’ gane,
An’ o’ them that wid ne’er return,
O’ the bonnie hills, the heathery knows,
The glimmerin’, lochs the burns.

An’ when it wis time tae tak oor leave,
Oor herts were well content,
For tho it wis the Sabbeth day,
It had been a day weel spent.

We had spak ill o’ none,
Bit lots o’ guid o’ many,
An’ hoped the Lord wid let us leave,
Tae let us spend the like again we’ Jenny.


Oor lassies and lads are a’ gettin’ marrit,
A’ startin’ tae make hames o’ their ain,
Just like us auld folk a’ did afore them.
There’s nocht tae be said, there’s nane tae blame.
Wee helpless bairnies, we took guid care o’ them.
Sent them tae schule, and trained them at hame,
An’ noo weel repaid for a’ we did for them.
Oor blessings go wi’ them tae hames o’ their ain.

There’s a’ wish I mak’, I mak’ it sincerely,
That when they get auld, an’ are left a’ alane,
When their bairns and grand-bairns,
They gang fir tae visit,
They may receive the sweet welcome,
And blessing, we twa hae hane,
Nae difference it makes, whas’ hame we veesit,
Cheer, love an’ kindness, we get frae ilk ane.


Tatties an’ herrin’, whalesom’ fare,
Haggis baked wi’ skill an’ care,
Oat-meal parritch, kail by turns,
That’s whit raised oor poet Burns.


Seventy years hae passed and gone,
Bit I mind as weel as yestreen,
When postie came tae fiathers door,
An brocth my first valentine.

I wis a wee bit lassie then,
Eicht years I’d scarcely seen,
Bit oh, the joy it brocht tae me,
That first an’ ne’er forgotten valentine.

The beauty o’ that valentine,
It never could be told,
The angels wi’ their silver wings,
Playing on harps of gold.

Bit o, the verse wis best o’ all,
An this is whit it said,
I rymed at it the hale lang day,
Syne at nicht when in my bed.

The roses are red, the biolet are blue,
Honey is sweet and so are you,
An’ when we meet we’ll hae ae kiss,
An when we part we’ll hae anither,

Bit dinna tell yer auld step-mither,
An when we get merit hoo happy we’ll be,
Bonnie wee Aggie just you and me.

Robbie Strickland, Aberfoyle.
February 14, 1858


There wis a young lass, her name it wis Nell,
In a snug wee hoose wi’ her Grannie did dwell,
The hoose it was sma’, the windows were less,
Ane had bit four lozens, an’ ane wanted glass,
‘Twas a bonnie wee window, a handsome wee window.

Tho’ the window wis sma, they a use for it did fin,
Tae pit ony thing oot, or take ony thing in,
Bit tae Nellie hersel’, Twas especially wis dear,
For her lovers at nicht came a courtin’ her here,
At the bonnie wee window, the handsome wee window.

It happened ae nicht Granny gaed tae her bed,
An Johnnie, the blithest young lad that Nell had,
Cam o’er the hill, his true love tae see,
And under the window richt planted got he,
At the bonnie wee window, the handsome wee window.

The twa lovers hadna got muckle said,
When Granny cried, Nellie, come inta yer bed,
I’m coming dear Granny, young Nellie did say,
Sae fare ye weel Johnnie lad, bit come some day,
Tae the bonnie wee window, the handsome window.

Oh, lassie dear lass, dinna tak it amiss,
Afore we dae pairt, ye maun grant me ae kiss,
Sae tae get a bit kiss Johnnie put his head thru,
Gar a fond lover do,
At a bonnie wee window, a handsome wee window.

Twa kisses got Johnnie, and sweet were the smacks,
Bit for his dear life, could he get his head back,
He rugged, he tugged, he pulled an’ he cursed,
At the boonie wee window, the handsome wee window.

Granny hearin’ the noise jumped oot on the floor,
And seizing the poker made her wey tae the door,
An on puir Johnnie’s back sic a thump she laid on,
Another the same wid hae broke his back-bone,
At the bonnie wee window, the handsome wee window.

Johnnie heatin’ wi’ reek and smairtin’ wi’ pain,
He rugged an he tugged, wi’ micht an’ wi’ main,
Till the lintels gaed way, an’ the lozens did break,
But oh, the best part of it hang fast to his neck,
O’ the bonnie wee window, the handsome wee window.

O’er hill ano’er dale, he pursued his wey hame,
Like ane that wis hunted ne’er looking behind,
The neighbors looked on wi’ lachter an’ squeals,
Some of them hunted their dogs at his heels,
Frae the bonnie wee window, the handsome wee window.

When Johnnie got hame, we’ an ax sin he,
O’ his wooden gravat, soon set himself free,
And vowed the diel micht hae him for his sin,
If he e’er kissed a loass thru a window again.
At a bonnie wee window, a handsome wee window.

Tho the lassie be bonnie or leive wi her Granny,
Tho she wis the bonniest lass, that ever he saw,
At a bonnie wee window, a handsome wee window.


I dreamt I stood at the foot of a hill,
An the grass on it wis sae bonnie an’ green,
An richt up the middle, wis a weel traveled road,
Wi the maist fit-prints I e’er had seen;
An on baith sides, ‘mang the sand and the grass,
The fit-prints I saw there still,
Weary an’ worn, draggin’ alang,
Clear up tae the tap o’ the hill.

An’ when I got up tae the tap o’ the hill,
I looked doon on anither auld road,
Twa stane dykes built alang each side,
An on the tap grew turf an’ moss;
Syne I turned an’ looked awa tae the left,
An’ a great grey cloud frae Heaven cam doon,
An covered ae’en o’ the auld, auld road,
Without either sough or soun.

An oot o’ the cloud as I’d seen her in life,
Auld Granny stepped ooto’ the cleft,
In her auld black goon, an mutch white as snaw,
She ne’er looked tae the richt or left,
Bit cam walkin’ alang the auld, auld road,
Heid, doon bent, hands clasped before,
Sae earnest an’ thochtu’ an’ slow,
As aften I’d seen her walk roon her ain door.

An jist in the middle o’ the auld, auld, road,
Mysel and Granny met, she spoke ne’er a word,
Bit held oot her dear airms,
An’ clasped me tae her heart,
Syne she lifted her haund an’ pinted,
An’ I looked, an’ there behold,
I saw the maist wonderful, beautiful city,
Its beauty, by mortal could ne’er be told.

For its gates, they shone like silver,
An’ its mansions, they sparkled like gold,
An’ jist inside o’ the beautiful gates,
Wis the end o’ the auld, weel traveled road,
An’ I took it as a message,
God had sent me in his love,
That Granny an’ I micht meet,
In His Heavenly Hame above.


Whin I wis a wee lassie, I leeved wi’ my Granny,
An’ mony an advice the auld body gaed me,
She said tae be wise, an’ tak her guid advice,
An’ ne’er tae get married till I wis twenty-three.

An whin I gaed tae the schule, my lessons tae learn,
The Domine said, “Whit a winsome bit bairn,
Wi’ her braw curly hair, an’ lauchin’ blue e’e.
I doot she’ll be married afore she’s twenty-three.”

An whin thru wi’ the schule, I gaed mang stranger,
My leven’ tae earn, an’ win a bit fee,
A’ body said, ”She’s firthy an’ clever,
I’m sure she’ll get married afore twenty-three.”

The first lad that cam wis Willie the weaver,
He wis splae-fitted, knock-knee’d, blin o’ an’ e’e,
Jist fair fu’ o’ cauf-love, an vowed we’d get married,
Bit I said, “Naething daeing till I’m twenty-three”.

The next lad that cam wis game-keeper Tam,
He had braw curly hair, an’ glancing black e’e,
Bit o’ hoo he leed whin he said hoo he lo’ed me,
Fir he up an’ got married on skelly-e’ed Jean.

I wis jist twenty-two when I gaed tae the wedding,
O’ Maggie McNair, her bridesmaid tae be,
An’ twas an auld saying, - When the bride threw her garter,
The ane she hit, the next bride wid be.

I ne’er thochts aboot it, an’ less did suspect,
‘Till a pair o’ green garters hung roon my neck,
An’ oh, hoo they lauched, an’ pintin’ at me said, “Nan,
Ye’ll shairly be merried gin yer twenty-three.”

Next day when we pairted the bride said, “Noo, Nan,
You pit on my garters the first place ye gang,
Tie them on neatly below the richt knee,
The first man ye meet yer guidman will be!

Sae the first Sunday morn as I dressed fir the kirk,
I tied on Mags garters wi a smile an’ a smirk,
Winnerin’ an’ thinkin’ as tae the kirk I did gang,
Whit chap I wid meet that wid be my guid man.

Bit a’ the wey gaun I ais filled wi’ regret,
Fir I wis at the kirk door, an’ nae lad had I met,
An’ when on my wey back, I wis jist aboot hame,
Whin I spied a young lad coming walking alane.

Sae I loitered alang tae pick some flowers handy,
An’ wha cam alang bit my auld lover Sandy,
It sin wis agreed that he wid be mine,
The weddin’ sin followed an’ we’ve ie sin syne,
Leeved happy thegither wi’ nae cause tae regret,
That whin I wore the garters, it wis Sandy I met.


O’ Grandbairns we hae the roon dizen,
Six lads, an’ six lassies sae braw,
A’ weel faured, honest, dacent,
A pride an’ a joy tae us a’.

There’s Ellsworth, Willie, an’ Donald,
An’ Leslie, and’ Lloyd sae braw,
An’ Maurice, the weest an’ youngest,
Bit dear ladies they are, ane an’ a’.

An’ there’s Agnes, and Laura, an’ Margaret,
An’ Hazel, an Maggie fu’ fair, Ie’ an’ grand,
An’ Dorothy, she’s the youngest wee lassie,
An’ tae Granny the best o’ the band.



Apple blossoms, pink an’ white,
What a most delightful sight,
After blossoms apples come,
After apples, jell—yum, yum.


Autumn leaves aboot the lawn,
Roon the trees are driftin’ high,
Frosty nichts bring misty dawn,
Back tae the past oor memories fly.


It’s a trig, weel made wee boat,
Brither Sandy sent tae me,
A’ rigged oot an’ ready,
Tae sail across the sea.

It’s a three mast Sailing Vessel.
Painted white an’ black,
It bears the Royal Standard,
An’ it flys the Union Jack.

An expert hand, an’ steady eye,
It took tae build that boat,
Fir a’ thing had tae be correct,
E’er it wis set afloat.



Bonnie wee bit bairnie,
Wi’ a dimple in yer chin,
If ye keep on smiling,
Yer fortune will come in,
Bit bonnie wee bit bairnie,
Gin the dimple don’t come oot,
Ye’ll be as dear an’ sweet tae a’,
I hae nae a bit o’ doot.


My dear, wee sweet Betty Lou,
I made this quilt for you,
An’ now I’m going to tell you,
What you have got to do.

When Dolly’s cross an’ cranky,
You put her right to bed,
An’ ‘n you take this little quilt,
An’ cover feet an’ head.

An’ ‘n when Dolly wakes up,
She will be so very good,
For the little quilt that Granny made,
Has kept her warm an’ snug.

An’ when you go to visit grandma,
An’ Dolly goes along,
You wrap it all around her,
 It will keep her nice an’ warm.

An’ when the quilt is all tored up,
‘N you can make another,
For ‘n you’ll be a big, big girl,
An’ learn how from mother.


In fancy I roam Teniuch woods,
Or o’er the Conic Braes,
Where oft we gathered speax,
An’ pued hazelnuts an’ slaes.

An o’er on that wee Whinny Knowe,
Pued bluebells an’ gowans sweet,
As we jouked amang the thistles
We’ oor wee bare feet.

An’ o’er on Kipculoch muir,
Whaur the biggest black-bides grew,
Scartin’ oor wee legs an’ arms,
Bit filled oor daidlies fu’.

An’ in aboot Balfrons auld wids,
We were sent tae gather sticks,
Instead we’d pu’ blae-berries,
An’ syne we’d get oor licks.

The Hamlets lums begin tae reek,
The supper hour draws near,
An’ six strokes o’ the auld kirk bell,
Work weary hearts will cheer.

The peat fire glimmers cheerily,
Thro window lichts o’er floor an’ wa’,
The halesome supper’s neatly laid,
On tables scoored as white as snaw.

The hoose cat an’ the collie dug,
Lie stretched on the clean hearthstone,
An’ noo faither sits an’ toasts his taes,
At the warmth o’ the cheery flame.

The bairnies feet are washed an’ clean,
The mithers bedtime stories seek,
Their wee prayers lisp, syne aff tae bed,
As curly heids begin tae nod.


In the high toon o’ Galoch leeved auld Peggy Tinlin,
Though blest wi’ content, she at whiles fell tae grumblin’,
Her mission in life wis provisions tae hawk,
An’ Davie, her cud, bore them a’ on his back.

It happened ae day, puir Davie took ill,
An’ the hert o’ auld Peggy wi’ sorrow did fill,
A stoun gaed thro her heid, a tear filled her e’e,
As she thocht tae hersel, puir Davie micht dee.

Nae better he got, bit the langer grew ill,
She knew she wad hae tae get medical skill,
Sae awa’ like the wind on her errand she set,
An’ richt at the gate, she the minister met.

“Well, Margaret”, qouth he, “How are you today?”
“I’m brawly masel’ Sir, bit I’m sorry tae say,
Oor Davie’s no weel, sae I’m noo on my way,
Tae get the auld Doctor, wi’ his medical skill.”

“Of that, Margaret, I’m exceedingly sorry,
And if convenient, I’ll call and see him tomorrow,
I’ll pray with your friend who is now in distress”,
“Guid, guide us”, quo she, “Wid you pray wi’ an ass”.

“Fie, Margaret, fie, don’t you think it a shame,
To call you own husband by such a vile name?”
“A husband”, quo Peg, “Is the minister mad?
I ne’er sic a thing as a husband hae had”.

“Then is David a friend, or relation by blood?”
“Guid guide us, no, is na’ Davie the cud,”
“Well, Margaret, I see I’ve been mistaken,
When David, the cud, for your husband I’ve taken.”

Sae he bid her guid day, her hert it wis lichter,
An’ the minister’s face wis wrinkled wi’ lauchter,
A’ the way hame, his thochts were distracted,
Tae think sic a pert in the drama he’d acted.

© 1999-2013 Steven M. Condon. All Rights Reserved.