Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Maister

The poem below illustrates how things have changed (for better or worse) for schoolchildren (and their teachers) since this poem was written. The author is unknown (perhaps he wants to remain anonymous from "The Maister").

The Maister

He gied us Scriptur' names tae spell
But what they meant we couldna' tell,
He maybe didna ken his sel'
- The Maister

What funny dogs we used tae draw
Upon oor slates, an' ships an' a'
Till keekin' roond wi' fright, we saw
- The Maister

He gie'd oor lugs a fearfu' pu',
Said he wad skelp us black an' blue
I doot he wouldna try that noo -
- The Maister

We mind them weel, his lang black taws,
They nippit sair like partan's claws;
A crabbit little man he was
- The Maister

His plump roond cheeks as red's the rose,
His twinklin een an' redder nose
Showed that he suppit mair than brose
- The Maister

He opened aye the schule wi' prayer,
An' psalms, an' questions gied us mair
Than what we thocht was proper there
- The Maister

An' after time an' siller spent
We left as wise as when we went,
It wisna' muckle that he kent
- The Maister

It's forty year noo since that day,
An' time, whase besom's aye at play
'Mang other things has swept away
- The Maister

Meaning of unusual words:
taws=leather belt
brose=porridge-like dish

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

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