Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (7)


Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (7) (c. 1804–1819)
by Alexander Wilson
3322229Watty and Meg, or, The wife reformed (7)c/1804-1819Alexander Wilson (1766-1813)



The Wife Reformed.

"We dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake."

Published, and Sold Wholesale and Retail,
by R. Hutchison, 10. Saltmarket.


Keen the frosty winds war blawin'
Deep the sna' had wreath'd the ploughs,
Watty, wearied a' day sawin',
Daunert down to Mungo Blue's.

Dryster Jock was sitting cracky,
Wi' Pate Tamson of the Hill,
"Come awa'," quo' Johnny, "Watty,
Haith we'se ha'e anither jill"

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 board, wi' bannocks heapet,
Cheese an' stoups an' glasses stood;
Some war roarin, ithers sleepit,
Ithers quietly chewt their cude.

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

Mungo filled him up a toothfu',
Drank his health and Meg's in ane;
Watty, puffin' out a mouthfu',
Pledged him wi' a dreary grane.
Sawing timber

"What's the matter, Watty, wi' you?
Trouth your chaſts are fai'ng in!
Something's wrang—I'm vext to see you—
Gudesake! but ye're desp'rate thin!"

"Aye (quo' Watty) things are alter'd,
But its past redemption now,
O! I wish I had been halter'd
When I married Maggy Howe!

I've been poor, and vext, and raggy
Try'd wi' troubles that's no sma';
Them I bore—but marrying Maggy
Laid the cape-stane of 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 flecs like fire on me.

See ye, Mungol when she'll clash on
Wi' her everlasting clack,
While I've had any 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 of life it's;
Ken ye, Watty, how I did?

After Bess and I war kippl'd,
Soon she grew like any bear,
Brak' my shins, and, when I tippled,
Harl'd out my very hair!

For a wee I quietly knuckl'd,
But, when naething would prevail,
Up my claise and cash I buckl'd—
Bess, for ever fare ye well!

Then her din grew less and less ay,
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
Ragin' like a roaring flood,
Swear that moment that ye'll lea' her
That's the way to keep her gude."

Laughing, sangs, and lasses' skirls,
Echo'd now out through the roof,
Done! quo Pate, and syne his arls
Nail'd the Dryster's wauket loof.

I' the thrang o' stories telling,
Shaking han's and jocking, queer,
Swith! a chap comes on the hallan,
"Mungo! is our Watty here?'

Maggy's weel-kent tongue and hurry
Dartet thro' him like a knife:
Up the door flew—like a fury
In came Witty's scaulin' wife.

"Nesty, gude-for-naething being!
O ye snuffy, drucken sow!
Bringin' wife an' weans to ruin,
Drinkin' here wi' sic a crew!

Devil nor your legs war broken?
Sic a life nae flesh endures—
Toilin’ like a slave to sloken
You, ye dyvor! and your ’hores!

Rise! ye drucken beast o’ Bethel!
Drink’s your night and day’s desire:
Rise, this precious hour, or faith I’ll
Fling your whisk i’ the fire!"

Watty heard her tongue unhallowed,
Pay’d his groat wi’ little din,
Left the house, while Maggy fallow’d
Fly ting a’ the road behin'.

Folk frae every door cam’ lampin’,
Maggy curst them ane and a’,
Clappit wi’ her ban’s and stampin’,
Lost hear bauchels i’ the sna'.

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

"Ye’ll sit 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 durst na speak,
Sat, like patient Resignation,
Trembling by the ingle cheek.

Sad his wee drap brose he sippet,
Maggy’s tongue gaed like a bell,
Quietly to his bed he slippet,
Sighin' aften to himsel—

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

A night long he rowt and gantet,
Sleep or rest he could nae tak;
Maggy, aft wi' horror haunted,
Mumlin', started at his back.

Soon as e'er the morning peepet,
Up raise Watty, waefu chiel,
Kiss'd hiş weanies while they sleepit,
Wakent Meg, and sought farewel.

"Fareweel Meg!— And, Ol 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 could I been beside you,
Happy baith at morn at e'en:
A' the ills did e'er betide you,
Watty ay turn'd out your frien'.

But ye ever like to see me
Vext and sighin', late and air—
Fareweel Megl I've sworn to lea' thee,
So thou'll never see me mair.

Meg a' sabbin, saw to lose him,
Sic a change had never wist,
Held his hand close to her bosom,
"While her heart was like to burst.

"O my Watty will ye lea' me,
Friendless, helpless, to despair!
O! for this ae time forgi'e me,
Never will I vex you mair."

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

Owre the seas I march this morning,
Listet, testet, sworn an' a',
Forc'd by your confounded girning
Farewell, Meg! for I'm awa'.

Then poor Maggy's tears and clamour
Gusht afresh, and louder grew,
While the weans, wi' mourufu yaumer,
Round their sabbin' mither flew.

"Thro' the yirth I'll wander wi you—
Stay, O Watty! stay at home,
Here upon any knees I'll gi'e you
Ony vow ye like to name.

See your poor young lammies pleadin',
Will ye gang an' break our heart?
No a house to put our head in,
No a frien' to take our part."

Ilka word came like a bullet;
Watty's heart begoud to shake;
On a kist he laid his wallet,
Dightet baith his e'en and spake.

"If ance mair I could by writing,
Lea' the sodgers and stay still,

Wad you swear to drap your flyting?"
"Yes, Watty! yes, I will"

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

Marget Howel this hour ye solemn
Swear by everything that's gude,
Ne'er again your spouse to scaul' him',
While life warms your heart an' blood:

That ye'll ne'er in Mungo's seek me—
Ne'er put drucken to my name—
Never out at e'ening steek me—
Never gloom when I come hamt:—

That ye'll n'er, like Bessy Miller,
Kick my shins, or rug my hair—
Lastly, I'm to keep the siller,
This upo' your saul ye swear?"

"O—h!" quo' Meg;— Aweell" quo' Watty,
"Farewelll—faith I'll try the seas"
"O stand still," quo' Meg, an' gtat ay;
"Ony, ony way to please"

Maggy syne, because he prest her;
Swore to a' things ower again,
Watty lap, an' danc'd, and kis'd her
Wow, but he was won'rous fain.

Down lie threw his staff victorious;
Aff gaed bounct, claise, an' shoon;
Syne aneath the blankets glorious
Held anither Honey-Moon.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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