Scottish Poetry Selection
- R.S.V.P.

Before the days of radio and TV, when people had to make their own entertainment, being able to recite a poem was a social necessity. This poem is from a book of "Scots Story Recitations". With its simple rythms and pawky storyline, it was typical of many such poems learned by heart for the (inevitable) occasion when you were asked "Will you give us a poem?"


Maggie Macdonnell was a braw young lass,
    Aye, a braw, braw lass was she,
An' a prood, prood lass when the meenister asked her
    Wad she sing at the Kirk Soiree?
She was busy at her knittin' when the postie brocht the caird,
    "Oh, it's fine a' ken whit's on't," quoth he -
"But they Laitin' letters bate me, an' a' can make naething o't,"
    "Whit's the meanining o' R.S.V.P?"

Says Magie, "Stop yer speirin' an jist mind yer ain affairs,
    An' please ye leave ye mine tae me,"
An' awa' gaed the postie wi' a grumph an' wi' a growl,
    Was there ever sic a tirravee?

Maggie Macdonnell was a sad young lass,
    Aye, a sad, sad lass was she,
An' a wanert kin' o' lass when the meenister asked her
    Wad she sing at the Kirk Soiree?
She read through the post caird, frae the openin' tae the close,
    An syne - a heavy sigh gied she,
Till the beads o' perspiration they were rinin' doon her nose,
    Through the riddle o' R.S.V.P.

Says Maggie to her mither - "A'm fair bothered if a' ken,
    Whit's the message that they bring can be."
Says her mither, "He's a bachelor, he maybe sends his love,"
    An' she lauched wi' a high "he! he!"

Maggie Macdonnell was a fine young lass,
    Aye, a fine, fine lass was she,
But the wey the meenister an' her cairet on
    Wis the talk at the Kirk Soiree.
'Twas him that saw her hame an' when staunin' at the gate,
    In the shadow o' the auld yew-tree,
He gripped her roon' the waist - an' he kissed her wi' a will,
    An Maggie - she R.S.V.P!

She glanced at him sae coyly, he fairly lost his he'rt,
    'Twas a sicht richt guid tae see,
"Am ower young tae marry yet" was the sang that Meg had sung,
    Says the meenister tae himself - "Maybe."

Maggie Macdonnell's nae Macdonnell noo,
    She's the wife o' the gleg Wee Free!
For she readily consented when the meenister he asked her,
    On the nicht o' the Kirk Soiree.
The invitations tae the weddin', they were oot ower verra lang,
    An' the postie he said, "Whit's this I see -
If they hivna had the impidence tae send yin tae the Laird,
    An' they've pit on it - R.S.V.P!"

Meaning of unusual words:
Kirk Soiree=church social evening
R.S.V.P=Répondez s'il vous plaît (French for "please answer")
gleg Wee Free=smart Free Church of Scotland minister

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