Scottish Poetry Selection
- Meg Swan's Exploit

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. His poems are often about everyday life and people - " 'Bout wife and weans, and couthie hame." Here is a couthie story about a prank played by "Meg Swan".

Meg Swan's Exploit

Young Maggie was the drollest lass
   That e'er lived in oor clachan;
Her funny sayings an' droll ways
   Set baith auld an' young a lauchin';
An' mony were the pranks she played,
   Baith in the hoose an' oot o't tae;
An' noo I'll tell a wee bit thing
   That jist took place the ither day.

Twa lads an' lasses had arranged
   To meet ilk ither on the Mair,
An' Maggie, who had heard the tryst,
   Made up her mind that she'd be there.
Noo, time went on; the nicht arrived,
   An' a' went richt as far's was seen;
But Meg lay crouched ahint a dyke,
   Roon' by the Auld Mair washing green.

Syne by-and-bye the lovers they
   Began to converse wi' ilk ither;
An' whan the crack was at its heicht,
   Meg loupt up withoot a swither.
Wi' a white goon wrapped aroon' her,
   She made them flee wi' micht an' main;
An' neither stopped until they got
   Within their own door safe again.

The news aboot the ghaist soon spread,
   An' caused excitement a' aroon';
But ne'er a ane amang them a'
   Guessed it was Meg Swan's white goon.
But by-and-bye the truth cam' oot
   Aboot the ghaist, the tryst, an' a',
An' oh, sic lauchin' ne'er was heard
   Before in any social ha'.

Meaning of unusual words:
clachan = village
ilk ither = each other
Mair = Moor
ahint a dyke = behind a wall
Auld Mair = Old Moor
loupt = leapt, jumped
swither = hesitation

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