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The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie, The Author's Only Pet Yowe. An Unco Mournfu' Tale

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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!
   
 1786

References[edit]

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.