Watty & Meg, or, The wife reformed (1860s)

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Watty & Meg, or, The wife reformed  (1860s) 
by Alexander Wilson

Dated from examination of text and style and the Scottish Book Trade Index.





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Keen the frosty winds were blawing,
Deep the snaw had wreathed the ploughs,
Watty, wearied a' day sawing,
Daunert down to Mungo Blue's,

Dryster Jock was sitting eracky,
Wi' Pate Tamson o' the Hill,
Come awa',’ quo' Johnny, ‘ Watty
Haith we'se hae anither gill.’

Watty glad to see Joek Jabos,
And sae mony neibours roun’;
Kieket frae his shoon the snawba's,
Syne ayont the fire sat down.

Owre a broad wi' bannoeks heapet,
Cheese, and stoups, and glasses stood
Some were roaring, ithers sleepit,
Ithers quietly chew't their cude.

Joek was selling Pate some tallow,
A' the rest a raeket hel',
A' but Watty, wha, poor fallow!
Sat and smoket by himsel'.

Mungo filled him up a toothfu',
Drank his health and Meg's in ane,
Watty, puffing out a mouthfu',
Pledged him wi' a dreary grane.

‘ What's the matter, Watty, wi' you?
Trouth your chafts are fa'in in!
Something's wrang—I'm vexed to see you-
Gudesake! but ye're desperate thin!'

‘ Ay,' quo' Watty, ‘things are altered,
But it's past redemption now,
L—d! I wish I had been haltered
When I married Maggie Howe!

I've been poor, and vexed, and raggy,
Tried wi' troubles no that sma';
Them I bore-but marrying Maggy
Laid the cap-stane o' them a',

Night a day she's ever yelping,
Wi' the weans she ne'er can gree,
When she's tired with perfect skelping,
Then she flees like fire on me.

See ye, Mungo! when she'll clash on
Wi' her everlasting clack,
Whiles I've had my neive in passion.
Liftet up to break her back!’

O, for gudesake, keep frae cuffets!
Mungo shook his head and said,
‘ Weel I ken what sort of life it's;
But, ken ye, Watty, how I did?

After Bess and I were kippled,
Soon she grew like ony bear,
Brak' my shins, and when I tippled
Harl't out my verra hair.

For a wee I quietly knuckl’t,
But whan naething would prevail,
Up my claes and cash I buckled,
Bess, for ever fare-ye-weel.

Then her din grew less and less aye,
Haith I gart her change her tune,
Now a better wife than Bessy
Never stept in leather shoon.

Try this, Watty—when you see her
Raging like a roaring flood,
Swear that moment that you'll lea' her,
That's the way to keep her good.'

Laughing, sangs, and lasses' skirls,
Echoed now out-through the roof,
‘ Done! quo' Pate, and syne his erls
Nailed the Dryster's wauked loof.

In the thrang of stories telling,
Shaking hauns, and ither cheer.
Swith! a chap comes on the hallan,
‘ Mungo, is our Watty here?’

Maggy's weel kent tongue and hurry,
Darted through him like a knife,
Up the door flew—like a fury,
In came Watty's scawling wife.

‘ Nasty, gude-for-naething being!
O ye snuffy, drucken sow,
Bringing wife and weans to ruin,
Drinking here wi' sic a crew!

Devil nor your legs were broken,
Sic a life nae flesh endures,
Toiling like a slave to sloken
You, ye dyvor, and your whores.

Rise, ye drucken beast o’ Bethel,
Drink’s your night and day's desire
Rise, this precious hour, or faith I’ll
Fling your Whiskey i’ the fire!’

Watty heard her tongue unhallowed,
Payed his groat wi’ little din,
Left the house, while Maggy fallowed,
Flyting a’ the road behin’.

Fowk frae every door came lamping,
Maggy curst them ane and a’;
Clappin’ wi’ her hands, and stamping,
She lost her bauchles i’ the sna’.

Hame, at length, she turned the gavel,
Wi’ a face as white’s a clout,
Raging like a very devil,
Kicking stools and chairs about.

‘ Ye’ll sit wi’ your limmers round you,
Hang you, sir! I’ll be your death;
Little hauds my hands, confound you,
But I’ll cleave you to the teeth.’

Watty, wha’ ’midst this oration,
Eyed her whiles, but durstna speak,
Sat like patient Resignation,
Trembling by the ingle cheek.

Sad his wee drap brose he sippet,
Maggy’s tongue gaed like a bell,
Quietly to his bed he slippet,
Sighing aften to himsel’:

‘ Nane are free frae some vexation,
Ilka ane has ills to dree;
But through a’ the hale creation
Is a mortal vext like me

A' night lang he rowt and gaunted,
Sleep or rest he couldna' tak;
Maggy aft wi' horror haunted,
Mum'ling started at his back.

Soon as e'er the morning peepit,
Up raise Watty, waefu' chiel,
Kist his weanies while they sleepit,
Waukened Meg, and sought farewell.

‘ Farewell, Meg!—and, O, may Heaven
Keep ye aye within His care:
Watty's heart ye’ve lang been grievin',
Now he'll never fash you mair.

Happy could I been beside you,
Happy, baith at morn and e'en:
A' the ills that e’er botido you,
Watty aye turned out your frien'.

But ye ever like to see me
Vext and sighing, late and air:
Farewell, Meg! I've sworn to lea' thee,
So thou'll never see me mair.'

Meg, a' sabbing, sae to lose him,
Sic a change had never wist,
Held his hand close to her bosom,
While her heart was like to burst.

‘ O my Watty, will you lea' me,
Frien'less, helpless, to despair!
O! for this ae time forgi'e me:
Never will I vex you mair.’

Ay! ye've aft said that, and broken
A' your vows ten times a week,
No, no, Meg! see, there's a token
Glittering on my bonnet cheek.

Owre the seas I march this morning,
Listed, tested, sworn and a',
Forced by your confounded girnin—
Farewell, Meg! for I'm awa':'

Then poor Maggy's tears and clamour
Gush afresh, and louder grew,
While the weans, wi' mournfa' yamour,
Round their sabbing mother flew.

‘ Through the yirth, I'll waunner wi' you--
Stay, O Watty! stay at hame;
Here upon my knees I’ll gi'e ye,
Ony vow ye like to name.

See your poor young lammies pleadin',
Will ye gang and break our heart?
No a house to put our head in,
No a friend to take our part!’

Ilka word came like a bullet,
Watty's heart begoud to shake;
On a kist he laid his wallet,
Dighted baith his een and spake—

‘ If anee mair I cou'd by writing,
Lea' the sogers and stay still,
Wad ye swear to drap yer flyting?’
‘ Yes, O Watty, yes, I will.’

‘ Then, quo' Watty, mind, be honest
Aye to keep your temper strive;
Gin ye break this dreadfu' promise,
Never mair expect to thrive.

Margaret Howe, this hour ye solemn
Swear by everything that's gude,
Ne'er again your spouse to scal' him,
Whilelife warms your heart and blood.

That ye'll ne'er in Mungo's seek me,
Ne'er put drucken to my name,
Never out at e’ening steek me,
Never gloom when I come hame.

That ye'll ne'er like Bessy Miller,
Kick my shins or rug my hair,
Lastly, I'm to keep the siller;
This upon your saul ye swear.'

O-h,' quo' Meg; aweel,' quo' Watty,
Farewell, faith I'll try the seas:'
‘O stand still,' quo' Meg, and grat aye;
‘Ony, ony way ye please.’

Maggy syne, because he prest her,
Swore to a' things owre again:
Watty lap, and danced, and kist her;
Wow, but he was wondrous fain.

Down he threw his staff victorious
Aff gaed bonnet, claes, and shoon;
Syne below the blankets, glorious,
Held anither Hinny-Moon.

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This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.