Scottish Poetry Selection
- Life's a Faught
Robert Allan, the author of this poem, was born in 1774 in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire. His poetic and musical talents were encouraged by Robert Tannahill from nearby Paisley and like his contemporary, became a weaver by trade. 100 years after his birth, the inhabitants of Kilbarchan decided to erect in his memory a small fountain in Kilbarchan incorporating a likeness of the poet.
Although the title of this poem is "Life's a Faught" (Life's a struggle), many of the verses point to hope, cheerfulness, loyalty, love and contentment with simple pleasures as a way of counteracting despair.
Life's a FaughtThat life's a faught there is nae doubt,
A steep and slipp'ry brae,
And wisdom's sel', wi' a' its rules,
Will aften find it sae.
The truest heart that e'er was made
May find a deadly fae.
And broken aiths and faithless vows
Gi'e lovers mickle wae.
When poortith looks wi' sour disdain,
It frights a body sair,
And gars them think they ne'er will meet
Delight or pleasure mair.
But though the heart be e'er sae sad,
And prest wi' joyless care,
Hope lightly steps in at the last,
To fley awa' despair.
For love o' wealth let misers toil,
And fret baith late and air',
A cheerfu' heart has aye enough,
And whiles a mite to spare:
A leal true heart's a gift frae Heav'n,
A gift that is maist rare;
It is a treasure o' itsel',
And lightens ilka care.
Let wealth and pride exalt themsel's,
And boast o' what they ha'e.,
Compared wi' truth and honesty,
They are nae worth a strae.
The honest heart keeps aye aboon,
Whate'er the world may say,
And laughs and turns its shafts to scorn,
That ithers would dismay.
Sae let us mak' life's burden light,
And drive ilk care awa';
Contentment is a dainty feast,
Although in hamely ha';
It gi'es a charm to ilka thing,
And mak's it look fu' braw,
The spendthrift and the miser herd,
It soars aboon them a'.
But there's ae thing amang the lave
To keep the heart in tune,
And but for that the weary spleen
Wad plague us late and soon;
A bonnie lass, a canty wife,
For sic is nature's law;
Without that charmer o' our lives
There's scarce a charm ava.
Meaning of unusual words:
mickle wae=a lot of woe
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