Scottish Poetry Selection
- Tam's Reformation

Side by side with the hard drinking image of many Scots, there is also a strong temeperance movement, particularly in Victorian times. Charles Nicol (born in Glasgow in 1858) would know all about both persuasions and as many of his poems are often about everyday life and people, it was inevitable that he would write one on the subject. Instead of Tam and Watty being from Glasgow, however, they appear to be located in Edinburgh.

Tam's Reformation

Guid gracious me is that yersel'?
   Man, Tam, yer looking weel;
You've shairly gane an jined tee-tee,
   Or Fortune's turned the wheel?
Yer lachan' noo. What's that ye say-
   Yer a "Blue Ribbon" man?
Aweel I am prood to hear't indeed,
   For I'm ane o' yer clan.

You, man, Watty! weel, let's shake hauns,
   An' let's prove brithers true;
An' try an' get ithers as weel
   Tae don the ribbon blue.
But noo man, Tam, I'd like tae ken
   What gar'd you take this step,
For you are greatly changed indeed
   Frae the last time we met.

Aye, Watty, feth ye speak the truth,
   For changed I am in style;
Too long I've been a ne'er-dae-weel,
   Wha car'd for nocht the while.
But since brave Murphy he cam here
   Tae Embro's busy toon,
There's nocht but pleasure in our hame,
   Like bless cam frae aboon.

Oh, Tam, you've cheered me up this nicht,
   For prood am I tae ken
That baith o' us henceforth will be
   Twa leal "Blue Ribbon" men;
An' by oor acts let's try an' win
   Ithers that's gane astray
Ower tae oor cause, an' they like us,
   Might leeve to bless the day.

Meaning of unusual words:
tee-tee - teetotal, totally abstinent from alcohol
leal = loyal

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