― 73 ―

A Nicht Wi' Burns in Yackandandie

'Tis said that in the world's great span,
Be't het or cauld, or foul or fair,
Where'er ye find the trace o' man,
Ye're bound to find a Scotchman there.
I never met a dizzen men
But there was “Jock,” or “Mac,” or “Sandy,”
I've proved it ower and ower again;
An' sae it was at Yackandandie.

'Twas there I met wi' Jock Munroe,
An' Jamie Craig o' Ballarat,
Wi' Rob McNab, frae Bendigo,
An' Sandy Scot, frae Lambing Flat.
Eh, mon! it was a droothy day;
Oor throats were parched, oor voices husky;
Sae we resolved, withoot delay,
Tae droon oor drooth wi' Auld Scotch whusky.

  ― 74 ―
We had ae glass or maybe twa,
When Jamie's throat began to clear,
He sang, “The Fair sae far awa',”
An' then, “The Bonnie Banks of Ayr.”
Auld time gangs bruskly on his flicht
When Scotland's ploughman bard is handy;
An' sae it cam, we spent the nicht
Wi' Rabbie Burns in Yackandandie.

We sang “John Anderson, my Jo,”
An' “Willie brewed a peck o' maut,”
An' then, “My ain kind dearie O,”
An' “Rantin' dog the daddy o't.”
We shook the roof wi' “Duncan Grey,”
At ilka sang we wat oor throttles,
'Till Jamie laid McNab awa'
An' fenced him in wi' empty bottles.

Then Jamie sang “O steer her up,”
An' Jock, “O, why should I repine?”
And then we took “anither cup,”
But couldna' sing “For Auld Lang Syne.”
For Jamie was too fou' to speak,
An' sae in truth was Jock and Sandy;
Sae I went forth, ma camp to seek,
Aboot a mile frae Yackandandie.

  ― 77 ―
The road had mony a twist and turn,
The vera fences a' seemed fou';
An' when I reached the creek or burn,
Whaur ae brig stood - there noo stood twa!
I couldna' cross the twa at ance,
I didna' wish to fash or bustle,
Sae sat me down, beside a fence
To rest ma legs, and wat ma whustle.

Jist haufway twixt the fence an' creek
There stood an auld black hollow stump;
An' when I heard the auld stump speak,
Ye micht ha' heard ma gizzard jump.
Frae out the stump a heid appeared,
An' on the heid “an auld blue bonnet,”
Then cam a figure, strange an' weird,
That “crooned awa' an auld Scots' sonnet.”

His withered hauns he waved on high,
As ane, new-risen frae the deid;
Ma tongue refused to speak, or cry;
Ma hair stood upricht on ma heid.
"Ye drucken carle,” the Form began;
"Ye bletherin', blinkin', feckless ranter;
Ye gowk! that ca'st yersel' a man;
Ye needna' quake at Tam O'Shanter.”

  ― 78 ―
"It is nae ghaist nor wraith ye see,
That ye should fyke yersel' wi' fear;
Auld Tam O'Shanter winna' dee
Whiles min or stars their courses steer;
I chase doure sorrow to its lair,
I fling ma rung at toil and trouble,
I skelp the lug o' dolefu' care,
An', fuff! they vanish like a bubble.”

"Search torrid zone, or Arctic sea,
Ye'll find a bonny Scotsman there;
An' where the sons o' Scotland be
There's Tam O'Shanter and his mare.”
Then stalkin' in the pale moonlicht,
Tam saw the whusky bottle handy,
An' seizin' it, wi' great delicht,
He cried, “I'll drink to Yackandandie.”

"O Tam,” cried I, “ye bear the name
O' bein' neebourly an' fair,
Ye ken, fair play's a bonny game,
We'll drink aboot, an' ca' it square.”
But Tam, he laughed, an' gied a jump,
An' louped a loup sae gay and frisky;
Then disappeared, within the stump,
An' wi' him went ma flask o' whusky.

  ― 79 ―
When next I waked, the sun's first beam
Was shinin' on my aching heid.
I asked mysel', “Was Tam a dream?
Or frightfu' eerie frae the deid?”
But no, 'twas Tam himsel' I'd seen,
Nae wraith has sich a droothy throttle;
An' there's the stump, before ma een,
An', in the stump, the empty bottle.

If any scornfu' loon should dare
Tae doubt the truthfu' tale I tell,
The vera stump is stannin' there
An' he can see it for himsel'.
An' I, for ane, would e'en rejoice
To see that unbeliever bandy,
Wha doots that Tam O'Shanter's voice
Could reach frae Ayr to Yackandandie.