1753 Poem, Anon. (Matthew Draffen), ‘The Gartan Courtship’

Author: Anon. (Matthew Draffen)

Date: 1753

Source: ‘The Gartan Courtship’, an anonymous poem signed ‘M’ in ‘Scotch Poems’, The Ulster Miscellany, 1753

Comments: This poem is one of nine anonymous ‘Scotch Poems’ from the ‘Laggan’ area of North-East Donegal published in The Ulster Miscellany of 1753. In Philip Robinson’s ‘William Starrat of Strabane: the first Ulster-Scots Poet’, Ullans, 5, 1997, he identifies William Starrat as the likely author of at least some of these. Those signed ‘M’, however, were probably written by Rev. Matthew Draffen, Rector of Garten 1736–1785. Given Starrat’s well-known friendship and poetical correspondence (in Scots) with Allan Ramsay about 1722, further corroboration of Starrat’s authorship of these ‘Scotch Poems’ is revealed in the seventh poem (‘An additional Verse to the Widow my Laddie’). The original ‘Widow my Laddie’ was published by Allan Ramsay in his Tea-Table Miscellany …… of Songs in English and Scots, in 1750.

Doc. ref. no.: USLS/TB/Poetry/1700-1799/005

The Gartan Courtship


A Pastoral Night-piece.

Sae, bonny Jenny, are ye there?

The lass that’s winsome, plump, and fair.

Fye, woman, quat that purring wheel,

And gi’ the wench her pirn to reel;

Ye’ve deen, or else the sorrow’s in’t,

Ye’ve cust ye’re hank, and that’s the stint;

Come furth, and streetch your limbs a while,

Come furth, and bless me wi’ a smile,

I fain wad speak a word or twa,

Come furth and dinna say me na.

The night is pleasant, lown, and clear,

Ye’ll see the muntains far and near;

Ald Doowish wi’ his lowtin back,

And Mukkish like a lang peet stack;

Proud Argill wi’ his tow’ring height,

Set off the beauty of the night;

White-wash’d shortsine, yon glebe house wa

By meen-light shines like driven sna’.

A’ things luick charming to the view,

But nought sae charming luicks as you.

The meen alang the welkin scuds,

And cuts her way thro’ justling cluds;

Ye’d think that a’ the starns abeen,

Were gath’ring round their passing queen;

And pleas’d to see her shine sae braw,

Forming her train baith great and sma’.

A showman on a market day,

Thro’ gaping crouds thus clears his way,

And marches proudly up the street,

Wi’ a’ the weans at his feet.

Come out, my dear, and luick about ye,

There naithing pleasant here without ye.

I doubt ye darna for ye’r mither.

Wha ne’er wad let us meet the gither;

But wonder she’s tane up, you see,

In deep discourse wi’ Katrin Lee:

The twa ald wives ayont the fire,

Are settled to their hearts desire;

To light, to smoak, to shagh about,

And clatter till their pipe be out;

Twa paddling duicks in April rain,

Seem not of ither half sae fain:

And now’s your time, I’ll take my aith,

Steal out, my dear, and slip them baith,

Steal out, and let peer Robin kiss ye;

I’se warrant them, they winna miss ye.

I think ye hae nae mind to stir!

(Howt, will ye boast that filty curr)

Weel fit till cockcraw gin ye like,

(Shamefa’ the yelping o’ that tike)

Haith, ye’ll repent ye, when I’m gane,

And wish ye had my counsel tane;

But now ye’ve gart me turn my heel.

I’ll no come back — sae — fare ye weel.



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