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Full text of "Loss of the pack; to which is added, The auld sark sleeve"

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Far la a miiir amang the wLIriing drift, 

Whor iriought was seen, but mountains and the lift* 

I lost viij uml and wander'd mony a mile, dfead wi* hunger, cauld, and fright, and toi1> 





^Boat»gate!& 1 hate^ quo^glrning Maggy Pring! 
Syne harb'd Watty, greeting, thro^ the ingle. 
Since this fell question seems sae lang to hing oi 
In twa-lhree words 1^11 gie ye my opinion. 

I wha stand here, in this bare scoury coat, i 
Was ance a Packman wordy mony a groat : i 
I^ve carried Packs as big's your meikle table ' 
iH'e searted pats, and sleepet in a stable : 
Sax pounds I wadna' for my pack ance ta^eii. 
And I could bauldly brag ^twas a' mine ain. j 
Ay ! thae were days indeed, that gart me ho| 
Aiblins, thro^ time, to warsle up a shop : 
And as a wife aye in my noddle ran 
I kend my Kate wad grapple at me than. 

O Kate was past compare ! sic cheeks ! sic eei 
Sic smiling looks, were never, never seen. 
Dear, dear I lo^ed her, and whane^er we m 
Pleaded to have the bridal- day but set : 



Slapped her pouches fu' o' prins and lacesj 
And thought myselweel paid wi*twa three kisses 
Yet still she put it aff*frae day ta day. 
And aften kindly in my lug wad say, 
<«Ae half year langer is nae unco stop, 
*<We'll marry then, and syne set up a shop". 

O, Sir, but lasses words are saft and fair 
They soothe our griefs^ and banish ilka care ; 
Wha wadna toil to please the lass he lo'es? 
A lover true minds this in a' he does. 
Finding her mind was thus sae firmly bent. 
And that I cou'dna' get her to relent^ 
There was nought lelt, but quietly to resign, 
To heeze my pack forae lang hard campaign : 
And as the Highlands was the place for meal, 
I ventured there in spite of wind and v/eet. 
Cauld now the winter blew and deep the snaw 
For three haill days incessantly did blaw. 
Far in a muir, amang the whirling drift, 
Whar nought was seen but mountains and the 

I lost my road, and wandered inony a mile, 
Maist dead wi^ hunger, cauld, and fright^ umi 

Thus wandering east or v^^est, I kend na^ \vhei«% 
My mind overcome wi' gloom and black despair 
Wi'a fell ringe, I plunged at ance, forsooth, 
Down thro^ a wreath o' snaw, up'lo my mouth 
Clean o^er my head my precious wallet fle^s 
But whar it gaed, Lord kens ! I ricvcr knew. 

What great misfortunes are pour down o 

I thought my fearfu' hinderen^ was come ; I 
Wi* grief and sorrow was my sou! overcast, |i 
Ilk breath I drew was like to be my last, | 
For aye the mair I warsl'd round and rown^ I 
I fand mysel^ aye stick the deeper down ; I 
Till ance, at length, wi' a prodigious pull^ | 
i drew my poor cauld carcase frae the hole. | 
Lang, lang I sought, and graped for my pack J 
Till night and hunger forc'd me to come back.| 
For three lang hours I wandered up and down 
Till chance, at last convey'd me to a town ; 
There, wi' a trembling hand, I wrote my Kat 
A sad account of a' my luckless fate; 
But bade her aye be kind, and no despair, 
Since like was left, I soon wad gather mair; 
Wi' whilk, I hop*d, within a towmond's date 
To be at hame, and share it a* wi' Kate, 

Fool that I was, how little did I think 
That love would soon be lost for fa't, o' Clin 
The loss of fair won wealth, tho' hard to bea 
Afore this — ne'er had pow'r to force a tefir. 
I trusted time wad bring things rouud again, 
And Kate, dear Kate, wad then be a' mine ai 
ConsoPd my mind, in hopes o' better luck, 
But, O ! what sad reverse ! — how thundei 
struck ! 

When ae black day brought word frae Ri 

my brither, 
That Kate was cried, and married on aniii 



Tho' a' my friends, and ilka comrade sweet. 
At ance, had drapped cauld dead at my feet; 
Or, tho' I^d heard the last day<s dreadfu* ca*, 
Nae deeper horror on my heart could fa*: 
1 curs'd myself I curs'd my luckless fate. 
And grat — and, sobbing, cried — O Kate ! 
O! Kate 

Frae that day forth, I never mair did weel 
But drank, and ran headforemost to the deel. 
My siller vanished, far frae hame I pin'd, 
But Kate for ever lan across my mind. 
In her were a' my hopes — these hopes were 

And now — 1*11 never see her like again. 
'Twas this, Sir President, that gart me start, 
WV meikle grief and sorrow at my heart, 
To gi'e my vote, frae sad experience, herej T 
That disappointed love is waur to bear, > 
Ten thousand times, than loss o' warld's gear J 


A reverend esteem'd divine, 
Upo"^ a Sabbath day short syne> 
, While studious, a drawer unlocket;, 
To get a napkin for his pocket; 
But, by mistak, didna perceive, 
He whippet in<t an auld lark sleeve ! 

Straught to the kirk he took his way. 
The puppet speel'd-sung psalms-did pray. 
When preaching in a little space, 
He wished to wipe his soncy face; 
But mony a ane could scarce behave, 
When he brought furth the an d sark sleeve 

Its curlie edges he ne^er heeded, 
But sjart it do the turn he needed : 
Bauldly the people he addressed, 
And earnest hame the matter pressed— 
?vlean while exposing in his neeve, 
The dirty, ragged, auld sark sleeve ! 

But on a kittle point he landed. 
Which chosen scripture proof's demanded ; 
He then the Bible grippet quickly, 
To trace the puzzUn' topic strictly— 
While he wi' looks composed and grave, ; 
Did lay aside t]ie auid sark sleeve ! 

Upo^ the pulpit edge he laid it. 
'Till through the Bible he pervadet. 

Explaining the dark critic point, 
Some heretic put out o' joint. 

Tills doon—-rail'd at the erroneous kuavCj 

An'' caught again'the auld sark sleeve ! 

Ance malr he held it up to view, ; 
An'^ wakened on the points anew- 
Zealous an* warmly he extended, j 
Till the discourse he fully ended : 
So when the subject he did leave, ; 
He, lastly —pouch'd the auld sark sleeve, 



The hin'most prayer and grace weel saicfj. 
He left the kirk and harneward gaed, 
To tak a chack and drap, and tune 
His heart for labour afternoon. 
His wife that morn stay'd in v/i' leave. 
So kendna the auld sark sleeve. 

But now they, arm in arm proceeded, 
'Mang wheens o' dandering bodies heededj. 
Wha cracked o* faith, election, grace, 
And scraped and bowed as they did pass : 
Some smirked at Mess John^s queer behave^ 
But nane spak o^ the auld sark sleeve. 

Again within the rostrum seated,— 

The prayer re-coned, the psalm re- bleated — 

He read his text :— Wash me, and so 

I shall be whiter than the snow." 

Still clutching in his waully neive 

The snuffy duddy auld sark sleeve. 

He preached o^ sprinkling and o' pourings 

dipping, scrubbing, and scouring/ 
And aye the rag, in illustration, 
He shewed as needing great purgation ; 
But whan his nose he wad relieve, 
His thumbs gaed through the auld sark sleeve 

*Twas then laid doon whar 'twas before, 
But by mischance 'twas soon ca^ed o^er> 
Meantime ihe sage precentor keepit 


His haffit on his hand and sleepit: 
When o^er his wig and face sae grave 
Fell flaffin doon, the auld sack*sleeve. 

A titter and a laugh began, 

Whilk o'er the congregation. 

The worthy priest's glide wife surveyed 

Wi* rage, the sport the young anes made. 

And fry'd, and wus'd the deil might have 

The gigglers, and the auld sark sleeve. 

But by his sermon sair impressed, 
He didna mird what round him passed, 
His dreepin* nose nybb'd on his luif, 
And on his coat tails dight it aff; 
While some, Frae sport, began to grieve, 
To see him miss his auld sark sleeve. 

A crone sat near, wha pity thought 
The man o^ God should want for ought : 
She scrambled on her stool fu' big, 
And trailed the clout afF Bangor's wig, 
And on her pike- staff made to wave, 
Like tattered fig, the anld sark sleeve. 

Then rax'd it heegh aboon the pulpit, 
To gar the earnest preacher note it, 
The folk nae langer could refrain. 
But burst out in a roarin' vein. 
The gude divine, like the laive, 
Observed it now — an auld sark sieeve !