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The Auld Airds Tramp

The Auld Airds Tramp

Fierce blaws the bitter whustlin’ blast
Roon’ Cloghy’s wreckfu’ bay,
But A maun tramp the watthery road
An’ beg my lanesome way.
Och, grim auld Keep o’ Kirkistone,
Ye ‘ve stud there years on years,
But nivver a storm sae lood an’ cau’d
Cam’ peltin roon yer ears!

Och, Mickie Keown, ye ‘re lame an’ crook’d,
Yer chin’s a’ raspy-white,
Yer taes gang ramblin’ through yer shoon,
Yer breeks let in the light;
Atween yer greezly pow an’ heaven
The shelter’s thin an’ sma’;
The win’ nigh lifts ye aff yer fit,
An’ slings ye ‘gen’ the wa’!

Och, trampin’ on a night like thon
For yin sae wake an’ puir
Is bitter coomfurt! On an’ on
A gang by fiel’ an’ muir.
What help ir sich auld brogues an’ rags
Whun roads ir jist yin sea?
It ‘s wather high, an’ wather low —
A’ ‘s wather, — och-a-nee !

Time wuz whun A cud jimp an’ dance,
An’ trot frae toon tae toon,
An’ whun the day’s lang trudge wuz din
Wud sleep furnenst the moon,
An’ cared nae whaur A laid my heed,
By rick or ditch or hedge;
But life’s last cliff A’ve climb’d, an’ noo
A’m tremblin’ on the edge…

My! thon’s a gust ! … A ‘11 totter on
Ower Bellagelget’s height,
An’ beg a bite at Dinver’s daur,
An’ shelther fur the night.
Ay, snug’s auld Davy Dinver’s barn ;
Jist there adoon A ‘11 lay,
An’, slumberin’ ‘mang the trusses, drame
Uv meadda-lan’s in May.

George Francis Savage-Armstrong – Ballads of Down [1901]


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