Scottish Poetry Selection
- To The Commissioners of Northern Lights, with a Paper

Here is a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson written while still an engineering student with the Commissioners of the Northern Lighthouses. His family had been involved in lighthouses (mainly constructing them) and his paper was on "A new form of intermittent light for lighthouses". Not many of us could write a letter of resignation like this!

To The Commissioners of Northern Lights, with a Paper

I send to you, commissioners,
A paper that may please ye, sirs,
(For troth they say it micht be worse
An' I believ't)
And on your business lay my curse
Before I leav't.

I thocht I'd serve wi' you, sirs, yince,
But I've thocht better of it since;
The maitter I will nowise mince,
But tell ye true:
I'll service wi' some ither prince,
An' no' wi' you.

I've no' been very deep, ye'll think,
Cam' delicately to the brink
An' when the water gart me shrink
Straucht took the rue,
An' didna stoop my fill to drink -
I own it true.

I kent on cape and isle, a light
Burnt fair an' clearly ilka night
But at the service I took fright,
As sune's I saw,
An' being still a neophite
Gaed straucht awa'.

Anither course I now begin,
The weeg I'll cairry for my sin,
The court my voice shall echo in,
An' - wha can tell? -
Some ither day I may be yin
O' you mysel'.

Meaning of unusual words:

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