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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Baudrons and the Hen Bird

29th April 2010

Deborah, an auld wealthy maiden,
With spleen, remorse, and scandal laden,
Sought out a solitary spat,
To live in quiet with her cat,
A meikle, sonsy, tabby she ane,
(For Deborah abhorr'd a he ane);
And in the house, to be a third,
She gat a wee hen chuckie bird.
Soon as our slee nocturnal ranger
Beheld the wee bit timid stranger,
She thus began, with friendly fraise:
“Come ben, puir thing, and warm your taes;
This weather's cauld, and wet, and dreary,
I 'm wae to see you look sae eerie.
Sirs! how your tail and wings are dreeping!
Ye 've surely been in piteous keeping;
See, here 's my dish, come tak' a pick o 't,
But, 'deed, I fear there 's scarce a lick o 't.”
Sic sympathising words of sense
Soon gain'd poor chuckie's confidence;
And while Deborah mools some crumbs,
Auld baudrons sits and croodling thrums:
In short, the twa soon grew sae pack,
Chuck roosted upon pussy's back!
But ere sax wee short days were gane,
When baith left in the house alane,
Then thinks the hypocritic sinner,
Now, now 's my time to ha'e a dinner:
Sae, with a squat, a spring, and squall,
She tore poor chuckie spawl frae spawl.
Then mind this maxim: Rash acquaintance
Aft leads to ruin and repentance.

Robert Tannahill

Selected by the Scottish Poetry Library