Traditional Scottish Songs
- How Blest Were The Days!

James Affleck, the author of the song below, was born in the village of Drummelzier, in Peeblesshire, in 1776. His education was scanty but after a spell as a cowherd, he learned the trade of being a tailor. He became established as a master tailor in Biggar in Lanarkshire and became a leading member of the local freemason's lodge there. His poetry and songs were produced for the entertainment of his friends, but they were later published in two volumes. He died in Biggar in 1835.

   How Blest Were The Days!

How blest were the days o' langsyne when a laddie!
   Alane by a bush wi' my dog and my plaidie;
Nae fop was sae happy, though dress'd e'er sae gaudy,
   Sae sweet were the days o' langsyne when a laddie.

Whiles croonin' my sonnet amang the whin bushes,
   Whiles whistling wi' glee as I pou'd the green rashes;
The whim o' the moment kept me aye frae sorrow,
   What I wanted at night was in prospect to-morrow.

The nest o' a lintie I fondly explored,
   And plundering bykes was the game I adored;
My pleasures did vary, as I was unsteady,
   Yet I always found something that pleased when a laddie.

The boy with great pleasure the butterfly chases;
   When manhood approaches, the maid he embraces;
But view him at once baith the husband and daddie,
   He fondly looks back to the joys o' a laddie.

When childhood was over, my prospects were greater,
   I tried to be happy, but, alas, foolish creature!
The sports of my youth were my sweetest employment -
   Much sweetness in prospect embitters enjoyment.

But now I 'm grown auld, and wi' cares I'm perplex'd,
   How numerous the woes are by which I am vex'd!
I'm tentin' the kye wi' my dog, staff, and plaidie;
   How changed are the days since langsyne when a laddie!

Meaning of unusual words:
langsyne = long ago
pou'd = pulled
aye = always
lintie = linnet bird
bykes = nest of wild bees
kye = cattle

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