Scottish Poetry Selection
- Rantin' Rev'rend

It wasn't all that long ago that ministers regaled their congregations with fire and brimstone to keep them on the straight and narrow. Some, however, would go "over the top" - and become the subject of humorous poems such as this one by George Fortune (1898-1982). George Fortune served in France in World War 1, in the Royal Scots. His working life was spent with the Health Department in St. Andrew's House in Edinburgh. His other main interests besides composing old-style Scottish verse, were golf, music, and woodworking.

See also Maw, Whit if he Ever Gets Oot? on a similar theme.

Rantin' Rev'rend

Ae meenister in Tam's lang reign,
   Turned oot tae be oor beadle's bane,
O' Tam's advice he wad hae nane.
   A man o' God, or sae he thocht,
Tae save oor souls gey hard he wrocht.

The pairish werena fell impressed
   Wi' a' his weys; an' hoo he stressed
Jist whaur yin stood amang the Blessed.
   He'd warn them a' o' fires o' hell,
An' pit some brimstone in as well.

Ae Sabbath, Tam, on usual chore,
   Mairched doon the aisle, Rev'rend afore,
An' saw him safe 'hint poopit door;
   Saw it was snecked - maid shair nae doot
That Reve'rend soul wadna fa' oot.

An' jist as weel, for on that day
   His Rev'rence opened up tae flay
A' thae bad fowk wi' feet o' clay.
   Tae them a' grace wad be denied,
An' pearly gates - wi' them ootside.

He got up steam an' fairly biled,
   His rantin' was jist awfu' wild,
An' frichted mony wife an' child.
   Whate'er that congregation's views,
That Sabbatth day, they didna snooze.

It chanced that Joe, the doctor's lad,
   Had come tae kirk wi' them: he had
Been less nor guid - in fact richt bad.
   Sae Faither said, "It's you for kirkie
As weel as Sunday-schule, ma birkie.

Puir Joe, at Rev'rend's seeming rage,
   The richts o' it he couldna guage,
Saw only man in poopit cage.
   Tae Faither anguished question put,
"What wull we dae if he gets oot?"

Meaning of unusual words:
wrocht=laboured, worked
werena fell=weren't greatly
'hint poopit door=behind the pulpit door
birkie=a strutting or swaggering fellow

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line