Scottish Poetry Selection
- Scottish Lasses

Charles Nicol (born in 1858) was a native of Glasgow's Pollokshaws area. He began work in a weaving factory at the age of ten, but he put right his lack of formal education by attending evening classes. He was later inspired by the poet James M. Neilson to follow in his footsteps and wrote a number of poems which were published in local newspapers. His poems are often about everyday life and people - " 'Bout wife and weans, and couthie hame." Here is one where he sings the praises of "Scottish Lasses". And so say all of us...

Scottish Lasses

I'm fain tae sing a canty sang,
   In praise o' Scottish lasses,
For weel I ken in a' oor land
   There's naething them surpasses.
They are the queens to cheer ye up
   When ye are dour an' sad,
An' weel they ken hoo tae come roon'
   Each blythesome Scottish lad.

Hoo sweet it is at gloamin' grey
   Tae meet yer lassie fair,
Then wander tae some sheltered spot,
   An' tell yer love tales there.
You feel enraptured while ye sit-
   Hoo swiftly then time passes!
But that jist lets ye ken the charm
   In blythesome Scottish lasses.

Fu' aft we feel that we could be
   For ever by their side,
For wi' their artless, winning smiles,
   They fill yer heart wi' pride.
They mak' ye blythe when ye are wae,
   They are sae fu' o' glee
And oh! 'tis sweet beyond compare
   Their ruby lips tae pree.

Sae let us tune oor hamely lyre,
   An' ance mair let it be
In praise o' ilka Scottish lass
   That treads oor land sae free;
For what is life tae ony man-
   E'en ane wha wealth amasses-
Unless he shares it wi' ane o'
   Oor blythesome Scottish lasses?

Meaning of unusual words:
canty = cheerful, pleasant
ken = know
dour = sullen, humourless
gloamin' = dusk
wae = sad
pree = experience, taste
ilka = every

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