Scottish Poetry Selection
- Naebody

These days, the phrase "It wisnae me" is used not just by children accused of a misdemeanour but by politicians and company executives. Charles Nicol, writing at the end of the 19th century recognised the same phenomenon.


I'd like to catch a man whase name
   Is Naebody;
When ocht gangs wrang, wha gets the blame?
   This Naebody.
A' in the hoose are aye secure;
Oot o' the auld folks tak' the pooer;
When asked wha kicked up din an' stour,
   'Twas Naebody.

When ocht gangs wrang, baith ear' an' late,
   Puir Naebody
Aye gets the blame; he has nae mate,
   Puir Naebody.
'Twas juist the ither nicht, nae later,
Aroon' the fire there wis some caper;
I syne got up, asked, "What's the matter!"
   'Twas Naebody.

But after that I tried to fin'
   This Naebody,
An' sae I caused nae little din,
   Thro' Naebody.
The hale lot o' them in the hoose
Began to craw sae awfu' croose,
And said I'd quicker catch a moose
   Than Naebody.

He maun be some auld-farrant chiel',
   This Naebody,
Or e'en as clever as the deil,
   This Naebody.
But maybe I'll come roon' him yet;
Then, by my certies, he will get
What he'll no bargain for, I'll bet,
   That Naebody.

Meaning of unusual words:
ocht gangs wrang=anything goes wrong
din an' stour=noise and dust
craw sae awfu' croose=boast so very cheerfully
auld-farrant chiel'=old fashioned child
by my certies=take my word for it

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line