Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Clear Mountain Dew

Charles Spence (1779-1869) was a mason by trade but he was also a skilled, self-taught poet who appeared in various publications during his lifetime. After his death, an anthology of his work was published under the title "From the Braes of the Carse" - these being the slopes of the Sidlaw hills, above the Carse of Gowrie. Spence wrote many poems which are humorous and he must have had a twinkle in his eye when writing this one, praising "clear mountain dew" (whisky).

      The Clear Mountain Dew

To farmers give furrows that bear a rich crop,
   And give to the merchant a well-furnished shop,
To statesmen give honour, to black-gowns a bow,
   But give me a drop of the clear mountain dew.

To landlords give tenants that pay a large rent,
   To poets give fame, and to painters give paint,
To lads give braw lasses, to prudes give a pew;
   But give me a drop of the clear mountain dew.

The mountain dew makes the dunce witty and bright,
   The miser free-handed, the coward to fight,
The hypocrite's veil you may peep through and through
   When you give him a drop of the clear mountain dew.

When wearied with toil for the poor penny fee,
   And scarcely can lay your leg over your knee,
It will supple your joints and fresh vigour renew,
   A little sweet drop of the clear mountain dew.

When the doctor has failed to put beef on your bones,
   When dull melancholy assails you with groans,
When your cronies grow crabbed, cold-hearted, and few,
   Just give them a drop of the clear mountain dew.

When the keen winter blast makes you shiver with cold,
   When your blood waxes thin, and your body grows old,
When scarce a grey lock straggles over your brow,
   Just try a small drop of the clear mountain dew.

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?


Separator line