Scottish Poetry Selection
- Ballade of the Royal Game of Golf

Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912) was educated at both Edinburgh and Oxford universities and was one of the ablest and versatile writers of his day. He published a large number of books of poetry as well as novels and books on Scottish history.

While most of his works were written in plain English, the short poem below, on that very Scottish game of golf, is in fairly broad Scots - there is a glossary at the end.

Ballade of the Royal Game of Golf

There are laddies will drive ye a ba'
   To the burn frae the farthermost tee,
But ye mauna think driving is a',
   Ye may heel her, and send her ajee,
Ye may land in the sand or the sea;
   And ye're dune, sir, ye're no worth a preen,
Tak' the word that an auld man'll gie,
   Tak' aye tent to be up on the green!

The auld folk are crouse, and they craw
   That their putting is pawky and slee;
In a bunker they're nae gude ava',
   But to girn, and to gar the sand flee.
And a lassie can putt - ony she, -
   Be she Maggy, or Bessie, or Jean,
But a cleek-shot's the billy for me,
   Tak' aye tent to be up on the green!

I hae play'd in the frost and the thaw,
   I hae play'd since the year thirty-three,
I hae play'd in the rain and the snaw,
   And I trust I may play till I dee;
And I tell ye the truth and nae lee,
   For I speak o' the thing I hae seen -
Tom Morris, I ken, will agree -
   Tak' aye tent to be up on the green!


Prince, faith you're improving a wee,
   And, Lord, man, they tell me you're keen;
Tak' the best o' advice that can be,
   Tak' aye tent to be up on the green!

Meaning of unusual words:
mauna=must not
heel=hit with the shank of the club
aye tent=always take care
crouse=confident, eager
craw=boast, brag
pawky and slee=shrewd and sly
ava'=at all

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