Scottish Poetry Selection
- Kate to Jock

The first visit by a young man to the home of his girlfriend used to be a nerve-wracking experience. In this poem by Hugh Caldwell, however, she gives him plenty of advice on exactly what to do - and finishes with a bit of wise observation! The poem appeared in a collection of "Scots Story Recitations" and was no doubt used as a "party piece" on many occasions.

      Kate to Jock

Jock when you come to see me,
   Though touched in bashfu' shame,
Knock at the door-I'll let you in,
   An' tell oor folks your name.
They'll greet ye wi' a kindly smile ;
   Perchance the bairns'll stare,
An' giggle as they see you led
   Towards the big arm-chair.

But, Johnnie, should they glower at you,
   Ye maunna wear a booce,
Nor stare aroun' wi' open mou'
   At a' things i' the hoose;
Sit juist as if ye were at hame,
   Yer tongue frae prattlin' tether,
Lest the auld folk be led to think
   You're juist a sort o' blether.

If faither talks on politics,
   Wi' him ye maun agree;
Should he ca' richt what you think wrang,
   Jock, his way let it be.
Contrive to mak' him understan'
   He is a wondrous man,
An' gin he but attempt a joke
   Lauch hearty if ye can.

An' as the cracky hoors slip by
   Become a wee mair free;
An' dinna hesitate if asked,
   To tak' a cup o' tea.
When placed before the scones an' cakes
   Your senses a' awaken,
An' though you scarcely tak' a bite
   Praise weel my mither's bakin'.

When tea is ower, perchance the crack
   May drift to something holy!
Put on a solemn Sunday face,
   And listen to their story.
Say " yes" or "no," just as it suits,
   An' in a word whiles drap;
An' they'll baith think their dochter's choice
   An honest, upright chap.

But when the bairnies mak' for bed,
   Oor auld room clock will show
That if you would keep elder's hoors
   Ye maun prepare to go.
Rise an' express hoo much you felt
   Delighted wi' their crack;
An' nae doot as you bid "guid nicht,"
   They'll baith invite ye back.

I'll to the lobby gang wi' you-
   We'll put oor lips together,
An' lauchin', whisper hoo you've pleased
   My faither an' my mither.
An' Johnnie, in the years to come,
   If true love in us dwells,
Some braw lad, wi' a lass o' oors,
   May act sae wi' oorsells.

Meaning of unusual words:
mauna=must not
blether=idle chatter

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