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And were ye at Duntocher Burn, by Robert Tannahill

8th August 2016

Robert Tannahill (1774-1810) lived in Paisley where he was famous is his time and after it, when he was very popular with the mill workers. His poems were mostly songs and CDs are available of these. He was a poet in the Burns tradition. James Hogg knew him amd tried to help him.  He died tragically by drowning, possibly while under the influence of drugs administered for depression. A publisher in Edinburgh had said he was unable to publish Tannahill's poems, and Tannahill took this to mean the poems were not good enough, which added to his depression. 

Read Raw Ltd the Paisley writing organisation are currently running the Robert Tannahill Poetry Prize, a competition which has a section for poetry in Scots. Their aim is to raise awareness of Robert Tannahill's work as well as to seek out the best current poetry in Scots and English. 


Robert Tannahill 
And were ye at Duntocher burn,
And did ye see them a', man?
And how's my wifie and the bairns?
I hae been lang awa', man.
That cotton wark's a weary trade,
It does na' suit ava, man;
Wi' lanely house, and lanely bed,
My comforts are but sma', man. 

And how's wee Sandy, Pate, and Tam?
Sit down and tak' your blew, man:
Fey, lassie, rin, fetch in a dram,
To treat my friend, John Lamon'.
For ilka plack you've gi'en to mine,
Your callans shall get twa, man;
O were my heels as licht's my heart,
I soon would see them a', man. 

My blessing on her kindly heart,
She likes to see me brew, man;
She's darn'd my hose, and bleach'd my sarks
As white's the driven snaw, man.
And ere the winds o' Martinmas
Sough through the scroggie shaw, man,
I'll lift my weel-hain'd penny fee,
And gang and see them a', man.