Watty & Meg, or, The Wife Reform'd

Watty & Meg, or, The Wife Reform'd  (1816) 
by Anonymous



The Wife Reform’d:



Falkirk, Printed by T. Johnston.






KEEN the froſty winds war blawin',
Deep the ſna' had wreath'd the ploughs,
Watty, weary't a' day ſawin',
Dannert down to Mungo Blue's.

Dryſter Jock was ſitting crocky,
Wi' Pate Tamſon o’ the hill,
"Come awa'," quo' Johny, "Watty,
Haith we'ſe ha'e anither gill."

Watty, glad to ſee Jock Jabos,
And ſae mony neighbours roun’,
Kicket frae his ſhoon the ſna'ba's,
Syne ayont the fire ſat down.

Owre a broad, wi' bannocks heapet,
Cheeſe and ſtoups, and glaſſes ſtood;
Some war roarin', ithers ſleepit,
Ithers quietly chewt their cude.

Jock was ſellin' Pate ſome tallow,
A' the reſt a racket hel’,
A' but Watty, wha, poor fellow,
Sat and ſmoket by himſel'.

Mungo fill't him up a toothful,
Drank his health and Meg's in ane;
Watty puffin out a mouthfu',
Pledg'd him wi' a dreary grain.

"What's the matter, Watty, wi' you?
Trouth your chaſts are ſa'ing in!
Something's wrang—I'm vext to ſee you—
Gudeſafe! but ye’re deſp'rate thin."

"Ay, quo' Watty, things are alter't,
But it's paſt redemption now!
For O I wiſh I had been halter'd
When I marry'd Maggy Howe!

I've been poor, and vext, and raggy,
Try't wi' troubles no that ſma';
Them I bore—but marrying Maggy
Laid the capſtane o' them a'!

Night and day ſhe's ever yelpin',
Wi' the weans ſhe ne'er can 'gree;
When ſhe's tir'd wi' perfect ſkelpin',
Then ſhe flies like fire on me!

So ye, Mungo, then ſhe'll claſh on
Wi' her everlaſting clack;
Whyles I've had my nieve, in paſſion,
Liftet up to break her back!"

"O, for gudeſafe, keep frae cuffets!"
Mungo ſhook his head and ſaid;
"Weel I ken what ſort o’ life it is!
Ken ye, Watty, how I did?

After Beſs and I were kippl't,
Soon ſhe grew like ony bear?
Brak my ſhins, and when I tippl'd
Harl’t out my very hair!

For a wee I quaitly knuckl't,
But when naething would prevail,
Up my claes and caſh I buckl't,
Beſs, for ever fore you weel;

Then her din grew leſs and leſs aye,
Haith I gart her change her tune:
Now a better wife than Beſſy,
Never ſtept in leather ſhoon.

Try this, Watty—Whan ye ſee her
Raging like a roaring flood,
Swear that moment that ye'll lea' her!
That's the way to keep hec gude."

Laughing, ſangs, and laſſes' ſkirls,
Echo'd now out-thro' the roof;
Done! quo' Pate, and ſyne his erls
Nail't the Dryſter's wauket loof.

I' the thrang o' ſtories telling,
Shakin hauns, and ither cheer,
Swith! a chap comes on the hallan,
Mungo is our Watty here?

Maggy’s weel-kent tongue and hurry,
Darted through him like a knife!
Up the door flew like a fury!
In came Watty’s ſcawlin wife.

Scarcely had ſhe croſs'd the thraſhold,
Till ſhe rais'd a clam'rous din,
Which made Watty ſhak an' trimble,
For to hear her thus begin:

Ye naſty, gude-for naething being!
O ye ſnuffy, drunken ſow!
Bringan wife an' weans to ruin,
Drinkin' here wi' ſic a crew!

Devil nor your legs were broken!
Sic a life nae fleſh endures—
Toilan like a ſlave, to flocken
You, you dyvour, and your whores!

Riſe! ye drunken beaſt o' Bethel!
Drink's your night and day's deſire;
Riſe this precious hour! or faith I'll
Fling your whiſky i' the fire!"

Watty heard her tongue unhallow't
Pay't his groat wi' little din;
Left the houſe, while Maggy fallow't,
Flyting a' the road behin'.

Fowk frae every door cam lampin',
Maggy curſt them ane and a';
Claupit wi' her hauns, and ſtampin',
Loſt her bauchles i' the ſna'.

Hame at length ſhe turn'd the gavel,
Wi' a face as white's a clout,
Raging like a very devil,
Kicken ſtools and chairs about!

"Ye’ll fit wi' your limmers round you!
Hang you, Sir! I'll be your death!
Little hauds my hands, confound you!
But I cleave you to the teeth."

Watty, wha, 'midſt this oration,
Ey'd her whiles, but durſtna' ſpeak,
Sat, like patient Reſignation,
Trim'ling by the ingle cheek.

Sad his wee drap broſe he ſippet,
Maggy's tongue gaed like a bell;
Quietly to his bed he ſlippet,
Sighan af'en to himſel':

"Nane are free frae ſome vexation,
Ilk ane has his ills to dree;
But, thro' a' the hale creation
Is a mortal vext like me?"

A' night lang he rowt and gauntet,

Sleep or reſt he cou'dna tak;
Maggy aft, wi' horror hauntet,
Mum'lan, ſtartes at his back.

Soon as e'er the morning peepet,
Up raiſe Watty, waefu' chiel,
Kiſt his weans while they ſleepit,
Waukent Meg, and ſought farewel,

"Farewel, Meg!— And O may Heav'n
Keep you ay within his care;
Watty's heart ye've lang been grievin',
Now he'll never faſh you mair!

Happy cou'd I been beſide you,
Happy baith at morn and e'en;
A' the ills did e'er betide you,
Watty 'ay turn’d out the frien'.

Bet ye ever like to ſee me
Vest and ſighan, late and air:
Farewel, Meg ! I’ve ſworn to lea' thee,
So thou’ll never ſee mair?"

Meg a’ ſabban ſae to loſe him.
Sic a change had never wiſt,
Held his haun cloſe to her boſom,
While her heart was like to burſt.

"O my Watty! will ye lea' me
Frien'less, helpleſs to deſpair?
O! for this se time forgi'e me!
Never will I vex you mair.”

Ay! ye've aft ſeid that and broken
A' your vows ten times a-week
No, no, Meg!- See there's a token
Glittering on my bonnet-cheek.

Owr the ſeas I march this morning,
Liſtet, teſlet, ſworn an' a';
Forc'd by your confounded girning!
Farewel Meg! for I'm awa'."

Then poor Maggy's tears and clamour
Guſht afreſh, and louder grew,
While the weans, wi' mournfu' yammer,
Round their ſabban mother flew!

"Thro the yirth I'll wauner wi' you!
Stay, O Watty! ſtay at hame!
Here upon my knee, I'll gi'e you
Ony vow ye like to name!

See your poor young lammies pleadin'!
Will ye gang and break our heart?
No a houſe to put our head in!
No a frien' to tak our part!"

Ilka word came like a bullet!
Watty’s heart begoud to ſhake!
On a kiſt he laid his wallet,
Dighted baith his een and ſpake:

"If ance mair I cou'd, by writing,
Lea' the ſogers, and ſtay ſtill,
Wad you ſwear to drap your flyting?"
"Yes, O Watty! yes I will!"

"Then," quo' Watty; "mind be honeſt,
Aye to keep your temper ſtrive;
Gin ye break this dreadful promiſe,
Never mair expect to thrive.

"Marget Howe, this hour ye ſolemn'
"Swear by every thing that's gude,
"Ne'er again your ſpouſe to ſcald him,
"While life warms your heart and blood:

"That ye’ll ne’er in Mungo’s ſeek me—
"Ne’er put drunken to my name—
"Never out at e’ening ſteek me—
"Never gloom when I come hame—

"That ye'll ne'er, like Beſſy Miller,
"Kick my ſhins, or rug my hair—
"Laſtly, I’m to keep the ſiller—
"This, upon your ſoul, ye ſwear!"

"Oh!" quo' Meg—"Aweel," quo' Watty,
"Farewell! faith I’ll try the ſeas!
"O ſtan' ſtill!' quo' Meg, and grat ay;
Ony, ony way you pleaſe!"

Maggy ſyne, becauſe he preſt her,
Swore to a'thing owr again:
Watty lap, and danc’t, and kiſt her!
Wow but he was wond’rous fain!

Down he threw his ſtaff victor'ous!
Aff gaed bonnet, claes and ſhoon!
Syne below the blankets, glorious,
They enjoy’d the honey-moon!


Falkirk - T. Johnston, Printer.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.