Scottish Poetry Selection
- Drinkin' Drams

This poem by George Outram (1805-1856) is subtitled "The Tipplers Progress" and does seem to show that whisky is indeed the "Water of Life"!

Drinkin' Drams

He ance was holy
An' melancholy,
Till he found the folly
  0 singin' psalms.
He's now red's a rose,
And there's pimples on his nose,
And in size it daily grows
  By drinkin' drams.

He ance was weak,
And couldnae eat a steak
Wi' out gettin' sick
  An' takin' qualms;
But now he can eat
O ony kind o' meat
For he's got an appeteet
  By drinkin' drams.

He ance was thin,
Wi' a nose like a pen,
An' haunds like a hen,
  An' nae hams;
But now he's round and tight,
And a deevil o' a wight,
For he's got himsel' put right
  By drinkin' drams.

He ance was soft as dirt,
As pale as ony shirt,
And as useless as a cart
  Wi' out the trams;
But now he'd race the deil
Or swallow Jonah's whale -
He's as gleg's a puddock's tail
  Wi' drinkin' drams.

Oh! Pale, pale was his hue,
And cauld, cauld was his broo
An' he grumbled like a ewe
  'Mang libbit rams;
But noo his broo is bricht,
An' his een are orbs o' licht,
An' his nose is just a sicht

He studied mathematics,
Logic, ethics, hydrostatics,
Till he needed diuretics
  To louse his dams;
But now wi' out a lee,
He could mak' anither sea,
For he's left philosophy
  An' ta'en to drams.

He found that learnin', fame,
Gas, philanthropy and steam,
Logic, loyalty, gude name,
  Were a' mere shams;
That the source o' joy below,
An' the antidote to woe,
And the only proper go,
  Was drinkin' drams.

It's true that we can see
Auld Nick wi' gloatin' ee,
Just waitin' till he dee
  'Mid frichts and dwams;
But what's Auld Nick to him,
Or palsied tongue or limb,
Wi' glass filled to the brim
  When drinkin' drams!

Meaning of unusual words:
Drams=standard measure of whisky
trams=shafts of a cart
gleg's a puddock's tail=quick as a frog's tail
louse his dams=set free his waters
frichts and dwams=frights and swooning

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