The Daft-days

Original Text: 
Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement (Edinburgh, 1772). AP E345 MICR mfm Robarts Library
3While, thro' his minimum of space,
4      The bleer-ey'd sun
5Wi' blinkin light and stealing pace,
6      His race doth run.
7From naked groves nae birdie sings,
8To shepherd's pipe nae hillock rings,
9The breeze nae od'rous flavour brings
12      Wi' visage grave.
13Mankind but scanty pleasure glean
14Frae snawy hill or barren plain,
15Whan Winter, 'midst his nipping train,
16      Wi' frozen spear,
17Sends drift owr a' his bleak domain,
24      To weet their mouth.
25When merry Yule-day comes, I trow
27Sma' are our cares, our stamacks fou
32And fling your sorrows far awa';
33Then come and gie's the tither blaw
36      Our hearts to heal.
37Then, tho' at odds wi' a' the warl',
38Amang oursells we'll never quarrel;
39Tho' Discord gie a canker'd snarl
40      To spoil our glee,
41As lang's there's pith into the barrel
42      We'll drink and 'gree.
45But banish vile Italian tricks
46      From out your quorum,
49For nought can cheer the heart sae weil
50As can a canty Highland reel,
51It even vivifies the heel
52      To skip and dance:
53Lifeless is he what canna feel
54      Its influence.
55Let mirth abound, let social cheer
56Invest the dawning of the year;
57Let blithesome innocence appear
58      To crown our joy,
59Nor envy wi' sarcastic sneer
60      Our bliss destroy.
62Wha sways the empire of this city,
64      Be thou prepar'd
65To hedge us frae that black banditti,
66      The City-Guard.


1] daft days. Christmas, New Year's Day, and the first Monday of the year, kept as a time of gaiety.
Daft. Merry, foolish.
mirk. Dark.
dowie. Dull. Back to Line
2] rigs. Ridges. Back to Line
10] Borean. Boreas is the north wind. Back to Line
11] dwyning. Fading, withering. Back to Line
18] weir. War. Back to Line
19] Auld Reikie. Edinburgh (Old Smoky).
canty. Cheerful. Back to Line
20] bield. Shelter.
cauldrife. Dejected. Back to Line
21] ingle. Fire burning on the hearth. Back to Line
22] couth. Sociable. Back to Line
23] gar. Make.
bicker. A wooden dish. Back to Line
26] scantlins. Scarcely.
mou. Mouth. Back to Line
28] gusty gear. Pleasing food. Back to Line
29] kickshaws. Fancy dishes in cookery. Back to Line
30] sin' fairn-year. Since last year. Back to Line
31] browster. Brewer.
busk ye bra. Dress yourselves handsomely. Back to Line
34] reaming. Foaming. Back to Line
35] Well of Spa. Mineral springs in Belgium. Back to Line
43] Adjust the pins of your fiddles to the right pitch. Back to Line
44] roset. Put resin on. Back to Line
47] fortes wi' pianos. Loud with soft passages. Back to Line
48] Give us Tulloch Gorum, a song by John Skinner. Back to Line
61] Aqua Vitae. Brandy or other spirits. Back to Line
63] capernoity. Bad-tempered. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.767; RPO 1996-2000.