Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Maister and the Bairns

There is something rather couthie (snug and agreeable) about stories from the Bible told in Scots. At one time religion was a very significant part of life in Scotland, so it was only natural some of the stories from the New Testament should be retold in Scots verse. This one, about allowing the children to come to Jesus, was written by William Thomson. Although many readers will know the story, the specifically Scottish words are "translated" as usual at the end of the poem.

The Maister and the Bairns

The Maister sat in the wee cot hoose
By the Jordan's waters near,
An' the fisherfolk crushed an' crooded roon'
The Maister's words tae hear.

An' even the bairns frae the near-haun streets
Were mixin' in wi' the thrang,
Laddies an' lassies wi' wee bare feet
Jinkin' the crood amang.

But yin o' the twal' at the Maister's side
Rose up and cried alood:
'Come, come, bairns, this is nae place for you,
Rin awa' hame oot the crood.'

But the Maister said as they turned awa',
'Let the wee yins come tae Me',
An' he gaithered them roon' Him whaur He sat
An' lifted yin up on His knee.

Aye, He gaithered them roon' Him whaur He sat
An' straiked their curly hair,
An' He said tae the wonderin' fisherfolk
That crushed an' crooded there:

'Send na the bairns awa' frae Me
But raither this lesson lairn:
That nane'll win in at Heaven's yett
That hisna the hert o' a bairn.'

An' He that wisna oor kith or kin
But a Prince o' the Far Awa',
He gaithered the wee yins in His airms
An' blessed them yin an' a'.

Meaning of unusual words:
wee cot hoose=small cottage
Laddies an' lassies=boys and girls
yin o' the twal'=one of the twelve
yin an' a'=one and all

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