The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie, The Author's Only Pet Yowe. An Unco Mournfu' Tale
The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie.
The Author's Only Pet Yowe:
An Unco Mournfu' Tale.
As Mailie, an' her lambs thegither,
Was ae day nibblin on the tether,
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch,
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch:
There, groanin, dying, she did lie, <5>
When Hughoc he cam doytin by.
Wi' glowrin een, an' lifted han's
Poor Hughoc like a statue stan's;
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, wae's my heart! He could na mend it! <10>
He gaped wide, but naething spak.
At length poor Mailie silence brak:-
'O thou, whase lamentable face
Appears to mourn my woefu' case!
My dying words attentive hear, <15>
An' bear them to my Master dear.
'Tell him, if e'er again he keep
As muckle gear as buy a sheep –-
O, bid him never tie them mair,
Wi' wicked strings o' hemp or hair! <20>
But ca' them out to park or hill,
An' let them wander at their will:
So may his flock increase, an' grow
To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo'!
'Tell him, he was a Master kin', <25>
An' ay was guid to me an' mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs, I trust them wi' him.
'O, bid him save their harmless lives,
Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives! <30>
But gie them guid cow-milk their fill,
Till they be fit to fend themsel;
An' tent them duly, e'en an' morn,
Wi' teats o' hay an' ripps o' corn.
'An' may they never learn the gaets, <35>
Of ither vile, wanrestfu' pets –-
To slink thro' slaps, an' reave an' steal,
At stacks o' pease, or stocks o' kail!
So may they, like their great forbears,
For monie a year come thro' the sheers: <40>
So wives will gie them bits o' bread,
An' bairns greet for them when they're dead.
'My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir,
O, bid him breed him up wi' care!
An' if he live to be a beast, <45>
To pit some havins in his breast!
An' warn him – what I winna name –-
To stay content wi' yowes at hame;
An' no to rin an' wear his cloots,
Like other menseless, graceless brutes. <50>
'An' niest, my yowie, silly thing;
Gude keep thee frae a tether string!
O, may thou ne'er forgather up
Wi' onie blastit, moorland toop;
But ay keep mind to moop an' mell, <55>
Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel!
'An' now, my bairns, wi' my last breath,
I lea'e my blessin wi' you baith:
An' when you think upo' your mither,
Mind to be kind to ane anither. <60>
'Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail,
To tell my master a' my tale;
An' bid him burn this cursed tether,
An' for thy pains thou'se get my blether.'
This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, <65>
An' clos'd her een amang the dead!