Scottish Poetry Selection
- A Pair o' Nicky Tams
A Pair o' Nicky TamsFan I was only ten year auld, I left the pairish schweel.
My faither he fee'd me tae the Mains tae chaw his milk and meal.
I first pit on my narrow breeks tae hap my spinnel trams,
Syne buckled roon my knappin' knees, a pair o' Nicky Tams.
It's first I gaed for baillie loon and syne I gaed on for third,
An' syne, of course, I had tae get the horseman's grippin' wird,
A loaf o' breed tae be my piece, a bottle for drinkin' drams,
Bit ye canna gyang thro' the caffhouse door without yer Nicky Tams.
The fairmer I am wi' eynoo he's wealthy, bit he's mean,
Though corn's cheap, his horse is thin, his harness fairly deen.
He gars us load oor cairts owre fou, his conscience has nae qualms,
Bit fan briest-straps brak there's naething like a pair o' Nicky Tams.
I'm coortin' Bonnie Annie noo, Rob Tamson's kitchie deem,
She is five-and-forty an' I am siventeen,
She clorts a muckle piece tae me, wi' different kinds o'jam,
An' tells me ilka nicht that she admires my Nicky Tams.
I startit oot, ae Sunday, tae the kirkie for tae gyang,
My collar it wis unco ticht, my breeks were nane owre lang.
I had my Bible in my pooch, likewise my Book o' Psalms,
Fan Annie roared, 'Ye muckle gype, tak' af yer Nicky Tams!'
Though unco sweir, I took them aff, the lassie for tae please,
But aye my breeks they lirkit up, a' roon aboot my knees.
A wasp gaed crawlin' up my leg, in the middle o' the Psalms,
So niver again will I enter the kirk without my Nicky Tams.
I've often thocht I'd like tae be a bobby on the Force,
Or maybe I'll get on the cars, tae drive a pair o' horse.
Bit fativer it's my lot tae be, the bobbies or the trams,
I'll ne'er forget the happy days I wore my Nicky Tams.
Meaning of unusual words:
Nicky Tams=string used by farm workers to tie their trousers below the knees
pairish schweel=local school
fee'd me=apprenticed me
breeks=trousers (pants in US)
hap my spinnel trams=conceal my thin legs
baillie loon=boy who helps a cowman
caffhouse door=door of the chaff house, part of the winnowing machine
gype=foolish, stupid person
unco sweir=extremely unwilling
lirkit up=rumpled up
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