Scottish Poetry Selection
- Christmas Carol

Here is a poem in Scots by Alexander Gray telling the familiar tale of "No room at the inn".

Christmas Carol

'Twas a cauld, cauld nicht i' the back o' the year;
The snaw lay deep, and the starns shone clear;
And Mary kent that her time was near,
As she cam to Bethlehem.
When Joseph saw the toon sae thrang,
Quo' he: 'I houp I be na wrang,
But I'm thinkin' we'll find a place ere lang;'
But there wasna nae room for them.

She quo', quo' she: 'O Joseph loon,
Rale tired am I, and wad fain lie doon.
Is there no a bed in the hail o' the toon?
For farrer I canna gae.'
At the ale-hoose door she keekit ben,
But there was sic a steer o' fremmyt men,
She thocht till hirsel': 'I dinna ken
What me and my man can dae.'

And syne she spak: 'We'll hae to lie
I' the byre this nicht amang the kye
And the cattle beas', for a body maun try
To thole what needs maun be,'
And there amang the strae and the corn,
While the owsen mooed, her bairnie was born.
O, wasna that a maist joyous morn
For sinners like you and me?

For the bairn that was born that nicht i' the sta'
Cam doon frae Heaven to tak awa'
Oor fecklessness, and bring us a'
Safe hame in the hender-en'.
Lord, at this Yule-tide send us licht,
Hae mercy on us and herd us richt.
For the sake o' the bairnie born that nicht,
O, mak us better men!

Meaning of unusual words:
keekit ben=peeked through
sic a steer o' fremmyt men=such a crowd of strange men
fecklessness=weakness, incomptence
hender-en'=latter days of life

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