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Best Famous Sink Or Swim Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sink Or Swim poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sink Or Swim poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sink Or Swim poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of sink or swim poems.

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Written by Walt Whitman | Create an image from this poem

As a Strong Bird on Pinions Free

 1
AS a strong bird on pinions free, 
Joyous, the amplest spaces heavenward cleaving, 
Such be the thought I’d think to-day of thee, America, 
Such be the recitative I’d bring to-day for thee.
The conceits of the poets of other lands I bring thee not, Nor the compliments that have served their turn so long, Nor rhyme—nor the classics—nor perfume of foreign court, or indoor library; But an odor I’d bring to-day as from forests of pine in the north, in Maine—or breath of an Illinois prairie, With open airs of Virginia, or Georgia, or Tennessee—or from Texas uplands, or Florida’s glades, With presentment of Yellowstone’s scenes, or Yosemite; And murmuring under, pervading all, I’d bring the rustling sea-sound, That endlessly sounds from the two great seas of the world.
And for thy subtler sense, subtler refrains, O Union! Preludes of intellect tallying these and thee—mind-formulas fitted for thee—real, and sane, and large as these and thee; Thou, mounting higher, diving deeper than we knew—thou transcendental Union! By thee Fact to be justified—blended with Thought; Thought of Man justified—blended with God: Through thy Idea—lo! the immortal Reality! Through thy Reality—lo! the immortal Idea! 2 Brain of the New World! what a task is thine! To formulate the Modern.
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Out of the peerless grandeur of the modern, Out of Thyself—comprising Science—to recast Poems, Churches, Art, (Recast—may-be discard them, end them—May-be their work is done—who knows?) By vision, hand, conception, on the background of the mighty past, the dead, To limn, with absolute faith, the mighty living present.
(And yet, thou living, present brain! heir of the dead, the Old World brain! Thou that lay folded, like an unborn babe, within its folds so long! Thou carefully prepared by it so long!—haply thou but unfoldest it—only maturest it; It to eventuate in thee—the essence of the by-gone time contain’d in thee; Its poems, churches, arts, unwitting to themselves, destined with reference to thee, The fruit of all the Old, ripening to-day in thee.
) 3 Sail—sail thy best, ship of Democracy! Of value is thy freight—’tis not the Present only, The Past is also stored in thee! Thou holdest not the venture of thyself alone—not of thy western continent alone; Earth’s résumé entire floats on thy keel, O ship—is steadied by thy spars; With thee Time voyages in trust—the antecedent nations sink or swim with thee; With all their ancient struggles, martyrs, heroes, epics, wars, thou bear’st the other continents; Theirs, theirs as much as thine, the destination-port triumphant: —Steer, steer with good strong hand and wary eye, O helmsman—thou carryest great companions, Venerable, priestly Asia sails this day with thee, And royal, feudal Europe sails with thee.
4 Beautiful World of new, superber Birth, that rises to my eyes, Like a limitless golden cloud, filling the western sky; Emblem of general Maternity, lifted above all; Sacred shape of the bearer of daughters and sons; Out of thy teeming womb, thy giant babes in ceaseless procession issuing, Acceding from such gestation, taking and giving continual strength and life; World of the Real! world of the twain in one! World of the Soul—born by the world of the real alone—led to identity, body, by it alone; Yet in beginning only—incalculable masses of composite, precious materials, By history’s cycles forwarded—by every nation, language, hither sent, Ready, collected here—a freer, vast, electric World, to be constructed here, (The true New World—the world of orbic Science, Morals, Literatures to come,) Thou Wonder World, yet undefined, unform’d—neither do I define thee; How can I pierce the impenetrable blank of the future? I feel thy ominous greatness, evil as well as good; I watch thee, advancing, absorbing the present, transcending the past; I see thy light lighting and thy shadow shadowing, as if the entire globe; But I do not undertake to define thee—hardly to comprehend thee; I but thee name—thee prophecy—as now! I merely thee ejaculate! Thee in thy future; Thee in thy only permanent life, career—thy own unloosen’d mind—thy soaring spirit; Thee as another equally needed sun, America—radiant, ablaze, swift-moving, fructifying all; Thee! risen in thy potent cheerfulness and joy—thy endless, great hilarity! (Scattering for good the cloud that hung so long—that weigh’d so long upon the mind of man, The doubt, suspicion, dread, of gradual, certain decadence of man;) Thee in thy larger, saner breeds of Female, Male—thee in thy athletes, moral, spiritual, South, North, West, East, (To thy immortal breasts, Mother of All, thy every daughter, son, endear’d alike, forever equal;) Thee in thy own musicians, singers, artists, unborn yet, but certain; Thee in thy moral wealth and civilization (until which thy proudest material wealth and civilization must remain in vain;) Thee in thy all-supplying, all-enclosing Worship—thee in no single bible, saviour, merely, Thy saviours countless, latent within thyself—thy bibles incessant, within thyself, equal to any, divine as any; Thee in an education grown of thee—in teachers, studies, students, born of thee; Thee in thy democratic fetes, en masse—thy high original festivals, operas, lecturers, preachers; Thee in thy ultimata, (the preparations only now completed—the edifice on sure foundations tied,) Thee in thy pinnacles, intellect, thought—thy topmost rational joys—thy love, and godlike aspiration, In thy resplendent coming literati—thy full-lung’d orators—thy sacerdotal bards—kosmic savans, These! these in thee, (certain to come,) to-day I prophecy.
5 Land tolerating all—accepting all—not for the good alone—all good for thee; Land in the realms of God to be a realm unto thyself; Under the rule of God to be a rule unto thyself.
(Lo! where arise three peerless stars, To be thy natal stars, my country—Ensemble—Evolution—Freedom, Set in the sky of Law.
) Land of unprecedented faith—God’s faith! Thy soil, thy very subsoil, all upheav’d; The general inner earth, so long, so sedulously draped over, now and hence for what it is, boldly laid bare, Open’d by thee to heaven’s light, for benefit or bale.
Not for success alone; Not to fair-sail unintermitted always; The storm shall dash thy face—the murk of war, and worse than war, shall cover thee all over; (Wert capable of war—its tug and trials? Be capable of peace, its trials; For the tug and mortal strain of nations come at last in peace—not war;) In many a smiling mask death shall approach, beguiling thee—thou in disease shalt swelter; The livid cancer spread its hideous claws, clinging upon thy breasts, seeking to strike thee deep within; Consumption of the worst—moral consumption—shall rouge thy face with hectic: But thou shalt face thy fortunes, thy diseases, and surmount them all, Whatever they are to-day, and whatever through time they may be, They each and all shall lift, and pass away, and cease from thee; While thou, Time’s spirals rounding—out of thyself, thyself still extricating, fusing, Equable, natural, mystical Union thou—(the mortal with immortal blent,) Shalt soar toward the fulfilment of the future—the spirit of the body and the mind, The Soul—its destinies.
The Soul, its destinies—the real real, (Purport of all these apparitions of the real;) In thee, America, the Soul, its destinies; Thou globe of globes! thou wonder nebulous! By many a throe of heat and cold convuls’d—(by these thyself solidifying;) Thou mental, moral orb! thou New, indeed new, Spiritual World! The Present holds thee not—for such vast growth as thine—for such unparallel’d flight as thine, The Future only holds thee, and can hold thee.


Written by Christina Rossetti | Create an image from this poem

In The Willow Shade

 I sat beneath a willow tree,
Where water falls and calls;
While fancies upon fancies solaced me,
Some true, and some were false.
Who set their heart upon a hope That never comes to pass, Droop in the end like fading heliotrope The sun's wan looking-glass.
Who set their will upon a whim Clung to through good and ill, Are wrecked alike whether they sink or swim, Or hit or miss their will.
All things are vain that wax and wane, For which we waste our breath; Love only doth not wane and is not vain, Love only outlives death.
A singing lark rose toward the sky, Circling he sang amain; He sang, a speck scarce visible sky-high, And then he sank again.
A second like a sunlit spark Flashed singing up his track; But never overtook that foremost lark, And songless fluttered back.
A hovering melody of birds Haunted the air above; They clearly sang contentment without words, And youth and joy and love.
O silvery weeping willow tree With all leaves shivering, Have you no purpose but to shadow me Beside this rippled spring? On this first fleeting day of Spring, For Winter is gone by, And every bird on every quivering wing Floats in a sunny sky; On this first Summer-like soft day, While sunshine steeps the air, And every cloud has gat itself away, And birds sing everywhere.
Have you no purpose in the world But thus to shadow me With all your tender drooping twigs unfurled, O weeping willow tree? With all your tremulous leaves outspread Betwixt me and the sun, While here I loiter on a mossy bed With half my work undone; My work undone, that should be done At once with all my might; For after the long day and lingering sun Comes the unworking night.
This day is lapsing on its way, Is lapsing out of sight; And after all the chances of the day Comes the resourceless night.
The weeping willow shook its head And stretched its shadow long; The west grew crimson, the sun smoldered red, The birds forbore a song.
Slow wind sighed through the willow leaves, The ripple made a moan, The world drooped murmuring like a thing that grieves; And then I felt alone.
I rose to go, and felt the chill, And shivered as I went; Yet shivering wondered, and I wonder still, What more that willow meant; That silvery weeping willow tree With all leaves shivering, Which spent one long day overshadowing me Beside a spring in Spring.
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

26. John Barleycorn: A Ballad

 THERE was three kings into the east,
 Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
 John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and plough’d him down, Put clods upon his head, And they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerful Spring came kindly on, And show’rs began to fall; John Barleycorn got up again, And sore surpris’d them all.
The sultry suns of Summer came, And he grew thick and strong; His head weel arm’d wi’ pointed spears, That no one should him wrong.
The sober Autumn enter’d mild, When he grew wan and pale; His bending joints and drooping head Show’d he began to fail.
His colour sicken’d more and more, He faded into age; And then his enemies began To show their deadly rage.
They’ve taen a weapon, long and sharp, And cut him by the knee; Then tied him fast upon a cart, Like a rogue for forgerie.
They laid him down upon his back, And cudgell’d him full sore; They hung him up before the storm, And turned him o’er and o’er.
They filled up a darksome pit With water to the brim; They heaved in John Barleycorn, There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor, To work him farther woe; And still, as signs of life appear’d, They toss’d him to and fro.
They wasted, o’er a scorching flame, The marrow of his bones; But a miller us’d him worst of all, For he crush’d him between two stones.
And they hae taen his very heart’s blood, And drank it round and round; And still the more and more they drank, Their joy did more abound.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold, Of noble enterprise; For if you do but taste his blood, ’Twill make your courage rise.
’Twill make a man forget his woe; ’Twill heighten all his joy; ’Twill make the widow’s heart to sing, Tho’ the tear were in her eye.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn, Each man a glass in hand; And may his great posterity Ne’er fail in old Scotland!
Written by Adam Lindsay Gordon | Create an image from this poem

The Sick Stockrider

 Hold hard, Ned! Lift me down once more, and lay me in the shade.
Old man, you've had your work cut out to guide Both horses, and to hold me in the saddle when I swayed, All through the hot, slow, sleepy, silent ride.
The dawn at "Moorabinda" was a mist rack dull and dense, The sun-rise was a sullen, sluggish lamp; I was dozing in the gateway at Arbuthnot's bound'ry fence, I was dreaming on the Limestone cattle camp.
We crossed the creek at Carricksford, and sharply through the haze, And suddenly the sun shot flaming forth; To southward lay "Katawa", with the sand peaks all ablaze, And the flushed fields of Glen Lomond lay to north.
Now westward winds the bridle-path that leads to Lindisfarm, And yonder looms the double-headed Bluff; From the far side of the first hill, when the skies are clear and calm, You can see Sylvester's woolshed fair enough.
Five miles we used to call it from our homestead to the place Where the big tree spans the roadway like an arch; 'Twas here we ran the dingo down that gave us such a chase Eight years ago -- or was it nine? -- last March.
'Twas merry in the glowing morn among the gleaming grass, To wander as we've wandered many a mile, And blow the cool tobacco cloud, and watch the white wreaths pass, Sitting loosely in the saddle all the while.
'Twas merry 'mid the blackwoods, when we spied the station roofs, To wheel the wild scrub cattle at the yard, With a running fire of stock whips and a fiery run of hoofs; Oh! the hardest day was never then too hard! Aye! we had a glorious gallop after "Starlight" and his gang, When they bolted from Sylvester's on the flat; How the sun-dried reed-beds crackled, how the flint-strewn ranges rang, To the strokes of "Mountaineer" and "Acrobat".
Hard behind them in the timber, harder still across the heath, Close beside them through the tea-tree scrub we dash'd; And the golden-tinted fern leaves, how they rustled underneath; And the honeysuckle osiers, how they crash'd! We led the hunt throughout, Ned, on the chestnut and the grey, And the troopers were three hundred yards behind, While we emptied our six-shooters on the bushrangers at bay, In the creek with stunted box-trees for a blind! There you grappled with the leader, man to man, and horse to horse, And you roll'd together when the chestnut rear'd; He blazed away and missed you in that shallow water-course -- A narrow shave -- his powder singed your beard! In these hours when life is ebbing, how those days when life was young Come back to us; how clearly I recall Even the yarns Jack Hall invented, and the songs Jem Roper sung; And where are now Jem Roper and Jack Hall? Ay! nearly all our comrades of the old colonial school, Our ancient boon companions, Ned, are gone; Hard livers for the most part, somewhat reckless as a rule, It seems that you and I are left alone.
There was Hughes, who got in trouble through that business with the cards, It matters little what became of him; But a steer ripp'd up Macpherson in the Cooraminta yards, And Sullivan was drown'd at Sink-or-swim; And Mostyn -- poor Frank Mostyn -- died at last, a fearful wreck, In the "horrors" at the Upper Wandinong, And Carisbrooke, the rider, at the Horsefall broke his neck; Faith! the wonder was he saved his neck so long! Ah! those days and nights we squandered at the Logans' in the glen -- The Logans, man and wife, have long been dead.
Elsie's tallest girl seems taller than your little Elsie then; And Ethel is a woman grown and wed.
I've had my share of pastime, and I've done my share of toil, And life is short -- the longest life a span; I care not now to tarry for the corn or for the oil, Or for wine that maketh glad the heart of man.
For good undone, and gifts misspent, and resolutions vain, 'Tis somewhat late to trouble.
This I know -- I should live the same life over, if I had to live again; And the chances are I go where most men go.
The deep blue skies wax dusky, and the tall green trees grow dim, The sward beneath me seems to heave and fall; And sickly, smoky shadows through the sleepy sunlight swim, And on the very sun's face weave their pall.
Let me slumber in the hollow where the wattle blossoms wave, With never stone or rail to fence my bed; Should the sturdy station children pull the bush-flowers on my grave, I may chance to hear them romping overhead.
I don't suppose I shall though, for I feel like sleeping sound, That sleep, they say, is doubtful.
True; but yet At least it makes no difference to the dead man underground What the living men remember or forget.
Enigmas that perplex us in the world's unequal strife, The future may ignore or may reveal; Yet some, as weak as water, Ned, to make the best of life, Have been to face the worst as true as steel.
Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Married Man

 The bachelor 'e fights for one
 As joyful as can be;
But the married man don't call it fun,
 Because 'e fights for three --
For 'Im an' 'Er an' It
 (An' Two an' One make Three)
'E wants to finish 'is little bit,
 An' e' wants to go 'ome to is tea!

The bachelor pokes up 'is 'ead
 To see if you are gone;
But the married man lies down instead,
 An' waits till the sights come on,
For 'im an' 'Er an' a hit
 (Direct or recochee)
'E wants to finish 'is little bit,
 An' 'e wants to go 'ome to 'is tea.
The bachelor will miss you clear To fight another day; But the married man, 'e says "No fear!" 'E wants you out of the way Of 'Im an' 'Er an' It (An' 'is road to 'is farm or the sea), 'E wants to finish 'is little bit, An' 'e wants to go 'ome to 'is tea.
The bachelor 'e fights 'is fight An' streches out an' snores; But the married man sits up all night -- For 'e don't like out-o'-doors.
'E'll strain an' listen an' peer An' give the first alarm-- For the sake o' the breathin' 'e's used to 'ear, An' the 'ead on the thick of 'is arm.
The bachelor may risk 'is 'ide To 'elp you when you're downed; But the married man will wait beside Till the ambulance comes round.
'E'll take your 'ome address An' all you've time to say, Or if 'e sees there's 'ope, 'e'll press Your art'ry 'alf the day -- For 'Im an' 'Er an' It (An' One from Three leaves Two), For 'e knows you wanted to finish your bit, An' 'e knows 'oo's wantin' you.
Yes, 'Im an' 'Er an' It (Our 'only One in Three), We're all of us anxious to finish our bit, An' we want to get 'ome to our tea! Yes, It an' 'Er an' 'Im, Which often makes me think The married man must sink or swim An' -- 'e can't afford to sink! Oh, 'Im an' It an' 'Er Since Adam an' Eve began! So I'd rather fight with the bacheler An' be nursed by the married man!
Written by John Greenleaf Whittier | Create an image from this poem

Skipper Iresons Ride

 Of all the rides since the birth of time,
Told in story or sung in rhyme, -
On Apuleius' Golden ***,
Or one-eyed Calendar's horse of brass,
Witch astride of a human back,
Islam's prophet on Al-Borak, -
The strangest ride that ever was sped
Was Ireson's, out from Marblehead!
Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
By the women of Marblehead!

Body of turkey, head of owl,
Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl,
Feathered and ruffled in every part,
Skipper Ireson stood in the cart.
Scores of women, old and young, Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue, Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane, Shouting and singing the shrill refrain: 'Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!' Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips, Girls in bloom of cheek and lips, Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase Bacchus round some antique vase, Brief of skirt, with ankles bare, Loose of kerchief and loose of hair, With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang, Over and over the Maenads sang: 'Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!' Small pity for him! - He sailed away From a leaking ship in Chaleur Bay, - Sailed away from a sinking wreck, With his own town's-people on her deck! 'Lay by! lay by!' they called to him.
Back he answered, 'Sink or swim! Brag of your catch of fish again!' And off he sailed through the fog and rain! Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead! Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur That wreck shall lie forevermore.
Mother and sister, wife and maid, Looked from the rocks of Marblehead Over the moaning and rainy sea, - Looked for the coming that might not be! What did the winds and the sea-birds say Of the cruel captain who sailed away? - Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead! Through the street, on either side, Up flew windows, doors swung wide; Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray, Treble lent the fish-horn's bray.
Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound, Hulks of old sailors run aground, Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane, And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain: 'Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!' Sweetly along the Salem road Bloom of orchard and lilac showed.
Little the wicked skipper knew Of the fields so green and the sky so blue.
Riding there in his sorry trim, Like an Indian idol glum and grim, Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear Of voices shouting, far and near: 'Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt, Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt By the women o' Morble'ead!' 'Hear me, neighbors!' at last he cried, - 'What to me is this noisy ride? What is the shame that clothes the skin To the nameless horror that lives within? Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck, And hear a cry from a reeling deck! Hate me and curse me, - I only dread The hand of God and the face of the dead!' Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead! Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea Said, 'God has touched him! why should we!' Said an old wife mourning her only son, 'Cut the rogue's tether and let him run!' So with soft relentings and rude excuse, Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose, And gave him a cloak to hide him in, And left him alone with his shame and sin.
Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart, Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart By the women of Marblehead!
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

John Barleycorn

 There were three kings into the east,
Three kings both great and high,
An' they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and ploughed him down, Put clods upon his head; An' they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerfu' spring came kindly on, And show'rs began to fall; John Barleycorn got up again, And sore surprised them all.
The sultry suns of summer came, And he grew thick and strong; His head weel armed wi' pointed spears, That no one should him wrong.
The sober autumn entered mild, When he grew wan and pale; His bending joints and drooping head Showed he began to fail.
His colour sickened more and more, He faded into age; And then his enemies began To show their deadly rage.
They've ta'en a weapon long and sharp, And cut him by the knee; Then tied him fast upon a cart, Like a rogue for forgerie.
They laid him down upon his back, And cudgelled him full sore; They hung him up before the storm, And turned him o'er and o'er.
They filled up a darksome pit With water to the brim; They heaved in John Barleycorn, There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor, To work him farther woe, And still, as signs of life appeared, They tossed him to and fro.
They wasted, o'er a scorching flame, The marrow of his bones; But a miller used him worst of all, For he crushed him 'tween two stones.
And they hae ta'en his very heart's blood, And drank it round and round; And still the more and more they drank, Their joy did more abound.
John Barleycorn was a hero bold, Of noble enterprise; For if you do but taste his blood, 'Twill make your courage rise; 'Twill make a man forget his woe; 'Twill heighten all his joy: 'Twill make the widow's heart to sing, Tho' the tear were in her eye.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn, Each man a glass in hand; And may his great posterity Ne'er fail in old Scotland!


Written by Rudyard Kipling | Create an image from this poem

The Thousandth Man

 One man in a thousand, Solomon says,
Will stick more close than a brother.
And it's worth while seeking him half your days If you find him before the other.
Nine nundred and ninety-nine depend On what the world sees in you, But the Thousandth man will stand your friend With the whole round world agin you.
'Tis neither promise nor prayer nor show Will settle the finding for 'ee.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em go By your looks, or your acts, or your glory.
But if he finds you and you find him.
The rest of the world don't matter; For the Thousandth Man will sink or swim With you in any water.
You can use his purse with no more talk Than he uses yours for his spendings, And laugh and meet in your daily walk As though there had been no lendings.
Nine hundred and ninety-nine of 'em call For silver and gold in their dealings; But the Thousandth Man h's worth 'em all, Because you can show him your feelings.
His wrong's your wrong, and his right's your right, In season or out of season.
Stand up and back it in all men's sight -- With that for your only reason! Nine hundred and ninety-nine can't bide The shame or mocking or laughter, But the Thousandth Man will stand by your side To the gallows-foot -- and after!
Written by Robert Burns | Create an image from this poem

296. The Five Carlins: An Election Ballad

 THERE was five Carlins in the South,
 They fell upon a scheme,
To send a lad to London town,
 To bring them tidings hame.
Nor only bring them tidings hame, But do their errands there, And aiblins gowd and honor baith Might be that laddie’s share.
There was Maggy by the banks o’ Nith, A dame wi’ pride eneugh; And Marjory o’ the mony Lochs, A Carlin auld and teugh.
And blinkin Bess of Annandale, That dwelt near Solway-side; And whisky Jean, that took her gill, In Galloway sae wide.
And auld black Joan frae Crichton Peel, 1 O’ gipsy kith an’ kin; Five wighter Carlins were na found The South countrie within.
To send a lad to London town, They met upon a day; And mony a knight, and mony a laird, This errand fain wad gae.
O mony a knight, and mony a laird, This errand fain wad gae; But nae ane could their fancy please, O ne’er a ane but twae.
The first ane was a belted Knight, Bred of a Border band; 2 And he wad gae to London town, Might nae man him withstand.
And he wad do their errands weel, And meikle he wad say; And ilka ane about the court Wad bid to him gude-day.
The neist cam in a Soger youth, 3 Who spak wi’ modest grace, And he wad gae to London town, If sae their pleasure was.
He wad na hecht them courtly gifts, Nor meikle speech pretend; But he wad hecht an honest heart, Wad ne’er desert his friend.
Now, wham to chuse, and wham refuse, At strife thir Carlins fell; For some had Gentlefolks to please, And some wad please themsel’.
Then out spak mim-mou’d Meg o’ Nith, And she spak up wi’ pride, And she wad send the Soger youth, Whatever might betide.
For the auld Gudeman o’ London court 4 She didna care a pin; But she wad send the Soger youth, To greet his eldest son.
5 Then up sprang Bess o’ Annandale, And a deadly aith she’s ta’en, That she wad vote the Border Knight, Though she should vote her lane.
“For far-off fowls hae feathers fair, And fools o’ change are fain; But I hae tried the Border Knight, And I’ll try him yet again.
” Says black Joan frae Crichton Peel, A Carlin stoor and grim.
“The auld Gudeman or young Gudeman, For me may sink or swim; For fools will prate o’ right or wrang, While knaves laugh them to scorn; But the Soger’s friends hae blawn the best, So he shall bear the horn.
” Then whisky Jean spak owre her drink, “Ye weel ken, kimmers a’, The auld gudeman o’ London court, His back’s been at the wa’; “And mony a friend that kiss’d his caup Is now a fremit wight; But it’s ne’er be said o’ whisky Jean— We’ll send the Border Knight.
” Then slow raise Marjory o’ the Lochs, And wrinkled was her brow, Her ancient weed was russet gray, Her auld Scots bluid was true; “There’s some great folk set light by me, I set as light by them; But I will send to London town Wham I like best at hame.
” Sae how this mighty plea may end, Nae mortal wight can tell; God grant the King and ilka man May look weel to himsel.
Note 1.
Sanquhar.
[back] Note 2.
Sir James Johnston of Westerhall.
[back] Note 3.
Captain Patrick Millar of Dalswinton.
[back] Note 4.
The King.
[back] Note 5.
The Prince of Wales.
[back]