Scottish Poetry Selection
- Conscience

Here is a poem by Walter Wingate which tells of the consequences of having a conscience! Walter Wingate was born in Dalry in Ayrshire and taught mathematics at St John's Academy, Hamilton.


'Twas a bonnie day - and a day o' dule
The day I plunkit the Sawbath schule!

I wan'ert awa ayont the knowes,
Where the bluebell blaws and the arnut grows;
The bee on the thistle, the bird on the tree
Athing I saw was blithe - but me.

Weary and wae at last I sank
Mang the gowan beds on the railway bank -
But never a train cam whistlin' by
And oh! but a lanely bairn was I.

And I joukit hame frae tree to tree
For I kent that I was whaur I sudna be,
When I saw the bad men - the men that play
At cartes and quoits on the Sawbath Day.

But - cunnin' wee cowart - I waitit till
It was time to skail frae the Sawbath schule;
Naebody kent - but I kent mysel
And I gaed to my bed in the fear o' hell.

Conscience, thou Justice cauld and stern,
Aften thy sairest word I earn:
But this is a thing I'll ne'er forgie
It wisna fair wi' a bairn like me.

Meaning of unusual words:
plunkit=played truant
arnut=earth nut
skail=break up

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