Scottish Poetry Selection
- Cronies

In Scotland, cronies are very often drinking pals, but here in this poem by Hamish Hendry the crony is man's best friend - his dog.


Here at the Winter fire we sit,
Cronies, and unco snug;
A clear fireside, a lamp new lit,
And we twa on the rug;
Cronies in honest freendship knit -
An auld man and his doug!

Yet no' sae auld, and no' sae stiff,
Nor yet withoot the will
To speil the brae, and get a gliff
O' heather on the hill;
The caller air is guid to sniff-
Guid baith for me and Bill!

His glossy coat, sae trig and ticht,
Is of the chestnut hue;
His nose is keen, and keen his sicht
When rabbits loup in view;
His pedigree may no' be richt, -
But lord! his heart is true!

And fine he kens whare rabbits rin,
As brisk he taks the road;
First up the brae, he waits abin
For whistle or for nod
To start his rampauge 'mang the whin -
Since I'm his human god!

Gosh! but he kens the richt and wrang
As weel as you or me;
He kens the gate he ocht to gang,
But whiles he gangs ajee -
Then tail, and lugs, and head doon hang,
While guilt coors in his e'e!

He crawls the earth wi' humble air,
He pleads to be forgiven;
And what can man or doug do mair
Wha's conscience is hard-driven -
But ae kind word maks Bill aware
That kind words are his heaven!

Oh! trusty soul; oh! simple creed;
Kindness that casts oot fear
Is still this auld earth's sairest need
To bring millenium near;
Sae Bill and me are fast agreed
That it's no' far frae here: -

For there he sprawls upon the rug
Afore the Winter fire;
While here sit I, content and snug
As ony in the shire;
A couthie hame, a faithful doug -
What mair can man desire!

Meaning of unusual words:
gliff=glimpse, glance
trig=neat, tidy
ajee=astray, awry
couthie=pleasant, comfortable

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