Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (5)

Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (5)  (1808) 

Watty and Meg;


The Wife Reformed.

Ane Owre true Tale.

We dream in courtſhip, but in wedlock wake.


Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (5) - Title.png


Printed for George Caldwell, Bookseller,

By J. Neilson.



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

Dryſter-Jock was ſitting cracky
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' baunocks 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 fallow,
Sat and ſmoket by himſel'.

Mungo fill'd him up a toothfu',
Drank his health and Meg's in ane :
Watty, puffin out a mouthfu',
Pledg'd him wi' a dreary grane.

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

"Ay quo' Watty, things are alter't,
But it's paſt redemption now!
For, O! I with 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 l 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 flees like fire on me!

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

"O' for gudeſake, keep frae cuffets!"
Mungo ſhook his head and ſaid;
"Weel I ken what ſort o' life it's!
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't,
Harl't out my very hair!

For a wee I quietly knuckl't,
But whan naething would prevail,
Up my claes and cash I buckl't,
Beſs, for ever, fare you well!

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 her gude!"

Laughing, fangs, and laffes, ſkirls
Echo'd now out-through 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 threſhold,
Till ſhe rais'd a clam'rous din,
Which made Watty ſhak an' tremble,
For to hear her thus begin:

«Ye naſty, gude-for-naething being!
O ye ſnuffy, drunken ſow!
Bringan wife and 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 ſlocken
You, you dyvour, and your 'hores!

Riſe! ye drunken beaſt o' Bethel;
Drink's your-night and day's delight;
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,
Ragin' like a vera devil,
Kicken ſtools and chairs about.

"Ye'll ſit wi' your limmers round you!
Hang you, Sir! l'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,
Trem'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 himfel'.

"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'dn a tak;
Maggy, aft wi' horror hauntet,
Mum'lan, ſtartet at bis back.

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

"Farewel, Meg !...And, O may Heav'n
Keep you aye within his care ;
Watty's heart ye'v a lang been griven',
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 aye turn'd out the frien'.

But ye ever like to ſee me
Vext and ſighan, late and air,
Farewel, Meg ! I've ſworn to lea' thee,
So thou'll never ſee me 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
Frienʻleſs helpleſs to deſpair !
O! for this ae time forgie' me!
Never will I vex you mair."

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

Owre the ſeas I march this morning,
Liſtet, teſtet, 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, Il 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 fogers, 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 dreadfu' 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 eening ſteck 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,
"Farewel! faith I'll try the ſeas!
"O ftan' ſtill," quo' Meg, and grat aye!
"Ony, ony way you pleaſe!"

Maggy ſyne, becauſe he preſt her,
Swore to a' things owre again!
Watty lap, and danc t, and kiſt her!
Wow but he was won'rous fain!

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

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.