Scottish Poetry Selection
- Wee Laddie's First Soirée

A "soirée" (usually pronounced "swaree") is a social gathering, sometimes organised by the local church. While it often involved people of all age groups, the one in this poem is being attended by a group of unruly youngsters. The poem comes from a book of "Scottish Readings and Recitations" published over 100 years ago.

      Wee Laddie's First Soirée

   Hurrah ! mither, yon's the soirée!
   Sic lashins o' cookies an' tea,
Sich lauchin' an' daffin' an' a' for naething;
   My! yons the guid bargains for me.

   An' the weans, mither, made sic a din,
   They were a' in sic a haste, to begin;
Baith laddies an' lassies in Sabbath-day dresses,
   Sic crushin', ye scarce could get in.

   First, the stewards cam' ben in a flock,
   An' han't each a big paper pock,
An' sae nicely row'd up, by the side o' ilk cup
   They laid them, but ne'er a word spoke.

   Weel, I open'd mine oot wi' great care,
   Jist to tak' a bit keek, an nae mair;
An' there sic a touroc o' guid things to glow'r at!
   Ye winna guess mither, I'm sure.

   First, there was a fat London bun,
   Twa biscuits new frae Gray an' Dunn,
A shinin' roun' cookie, forbye a wee nickie,
   Were into't, sure as a gun!

   Some greedy anes tried to get twa,
   When some fell to haud an' to draw,
An' ding the pocks down, but when I look'd roun',
   My ain yin was aff and awa'.

   Sae wi' naething afore me to eat
   I felt just as if I could greet,
When a kindly wee queen, wi' twa bonnie blue een,
   Rax'd owre wi' a smile, oh, sae sweet !

   Sayin', "Hae laddie there's half o' mine,
   Oh, it's gujd to be couthy an' kin'!
But I jist, took a bake, to eat for her sake-
   It wisna' for greed, ye'll keep min'!

   Noo, a ser'er cam' roun' in my need,
   An' he gied me some biscuits an' bread,
Sayin', "Min' ye be smert, an'tak' yer ain pairt,
   Or they'll steal the twa lugs frae er heid!"

   Syne, the chairman stan's, up 'mang them a',
   An' he says, "On he Lord let us ca';"
While sae solemn his face, as he said the lang grace
   Owre the hoose ye micht hear a preen fa'.

   Ance mair we're shoutin'wi' glee
   As the stewarts cam' in wi' the tea
Guid measure we get, an' it's real pipin' het,
   Jist a wee thocht owre muckle for me!

   Jock Gentles wha sat by my side,
   Till the tea grew mair cuil wadna' bide,
Sae he at it like flung an' he scadit his tongue,
   Till wi' pain an' vexation he cried.

   Ye ken, mither, wee Aggie Dunn?
   Weel, to hers she had hardly begun,
When sly Archie Hogg gi'ed her elbow a jog,
   An' doun gaed her cup to the grun'.

   Syne up Aggie springs wi' a jump,
   And cam' against me sic a thump,
Gart the tea pipen' het, jaup oot o' ma flet
   An' splash owre wee Pate wi' the hump.

   Sic a rackit they made, ane an' a',
   As the dishes were clearin' awa,
The lassies they tattled, the laddies they rattled,
   While ane like a cock tried to craw.

   Syne the laddies their toom pocks they blew ,
   Till black in the face ilk ane grew,
Sic loud shots they gaed, jist like pouther an' lead,
   Ye'd thocht ye were at Waterloo.

   "Silence!" cried the Chairman, "less din!
   Dae ye think it's a Bedlam we're in?
If ye dinina' be quate, an' sit still on yer seat,
   O' sweeties ye shanna' get ane!"

   My sang -! but that soon made them douce!
   For ilk ane grew as quate as a mouse,
Then the singin' began, an' losh me, it was gran'!
   An' we cheer'd like to bring doun the hoose.

   Maister Simpson, in his, funny way -
   That's the man wi' the whiskers sae gray-
Sic queer stories tauld, gart sae lauch young an' auld,
   Ye micht tied us a' up wi' a strae.

   An' Nicholson, though he's nae youth-
   That's the man wi' the hair roun'his mouth-
Seem'd quite in his, glory while tellin' the story
   O' Tam wi' the sugary tooth.

   The singers, hoo sweetly they sang,
   While loud the piano did bang!
An' we ruff'd an' we roar'd an'cheer'd and encor'd
   Till the nicht wi'oor glad voices rang.

   Ae minister gi'ed us a speech,
   That was dry as the leaves on the beach,
As long as a tether, some said 'twas a blether -
   Folk shouldna' gae there for to preach.

   But, mither, see here what I've got-
   Buns, oranges, bakes, sic a lot!-
For Mattie an' Mary, an' Gracie an' Cary,
   An' baby, though sic a wee tot.

   Noo, mither, that's something for you;
   An' wee tottie, here's a wee hue
O' raisins- ae sweetie; dear me! It's a pity
   Oor pouches they didna fill fou.

   But, mither, dae ye no' think wi' me
   That the kirk-folks micht somehoo agree
To gie us a feast, ance a week at the least,
   Wi' lashins o' cookies and tea?

   What! ye say I'm a haveral wean,
   That the cookies ha'e ga'en to mv brain!
Na, na; but I'm sleepy, sae I'll aff to my creppie,
   An' dream the thing a' owre again.

Meaning of unusual words:
soirée=a social gathering
daffin=fun, foolish behaviour
row'd up=wrap up
keek=peek, look
touroc=small heap
forbye=in addition
nickie=the devil (old Nick)
Rax'd owre=stretched over
couthy=agreeable, tender
preen fa'=pin fall
owre muckle=over much
jaup oot o' ma flet=spill out of my saucer
toom pocks=empty bags
douce=gentle, sedate
ruff'd=applaud by stamping feet
tottie=a term of endearment for a small child
haveral wean=foolish child

Return to the Index of Scottish Poetry Selection

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line