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HALLOWEEN

Halloween.1

The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the scene is cast, notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unenlightened in our own.

"Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasures of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art."

GOLDSMITH.

UPON that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans 2 dance,
Or owre the lays," in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the Cove, to stray an' rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night:

3

Amang the bonie winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear;

4

Where Bruce ance rul'd the martial ranks,
An' shook his Carrick spear;

a leas.

This masterpiece of humorous folklore is a gem of the Kilmarnock Edition (1786.) The old sports are still, as far as burning nuts goes, practiced in the nursery. These "remains of Gentilism" survived Kirk censures, but were, for the most part, destroyed by enlightenment.

Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischiefmaking beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary.-R.B.

2 Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-R.B.

8 A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a favourite haunt of fairies.-R. B.

4 The famous family of that name, the ancestors of ROBERT, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-R.B.

& trim.

Some merry, friendly, countra-folks
Together did convene,

To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
An' haud their Halloween

Fu' blythe that night.

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The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,
Mair brawb than when they're fine;
Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin':
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs d
Weel-knotted on their garten;
Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs'
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin
Whiles fast at night.

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Then, first an' foremost, thro' the kail,
Their stocks1 maun a' be sought ance;
They steek their een, and grape an' wale
For muckle anes, an' straught anes.
Poor hav'rel' Will fell aff the drift,
An' wandered thro' the 'bow-kail,'

f mouths.

An' pou't for want o' better shift
A runt, was like a sow-tail

Sae bow't that night.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar an' cry a' throw'ther1;

b handsome. c show.
8 shut.
h choose.

1 The first ceremony of Halloween is, pulling each a "stock," or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with: its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root, that is "tocher," or fortune; and the taste of the

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HALLOWEEN

The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther:
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour,
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne coziely, aboon the door,

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Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them
To lie that night.

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The auld guid-wife's weel-hoordit nits &
Are round an' round divided,

An' mony lads an' lasses' fates

Are there that night decided:

Some kindle couthie' side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;

Some start awa wi' saucy pride,
An' jump out owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

⚫ knives.

d screamed.

b cautious.
• cuddling.

1 They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid.-R.B.

2 When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c., makes a large apartment in his

• stole.
'loving.

stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind: this he calls a "fause-house."-R.B.

8 Burning the nuts is a favourite charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and according as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.-R. B.

Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;
Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, an' this is me,
She says in to hersel❜:

He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,
As they wad never mair part:
Till fuff! he started up the lum,b
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,

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Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt,d
To be compar'd to Willie :
Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling,
An' her ain fit, it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel an' Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin:
Nell's heart was dancin at the view;
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stownlins, prie'd her bonie mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk' for't,

Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,

Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;

She lea'es them gashins at their cracks,h
An' slips out-by hersel';

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HALLOWEEN

She thro' the yard the nearest taks,
An' for the kiln she goes then,
An' darklins grapit for the bauks,a
And in the blue-clue1 throws then,
Right fear't that night.

An' ay she win't," an' ay she swat-
I wat she made nae jaukin©;
Till something held within the pat,
Good L―d! but she was quaukin!
But whether 'twas the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She did na wait on talkin

To spier that night.

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