Hughie at the Smiddy – A Dramatic Idyll – Part I., pp.83-89.

[Horace in Homespun Contents]

Ille terrarum mihi præter omnes 

Angulus ridet.” – CAR. II., 6. 

The Smithy – Evening




Hugh – Noo, billies, ken ye what’s the steer? 

1st Ploughman – Dave’s listed. 

2nd Ploughman – Lowrie’s on the beer. 

3rd Ploughman – Nick’s cut his throat. 

Hugh – The gude be here, 

An’ guard an bless us! 

There’s scandal for a lang loup-year – 

Gie owre your guesses! 


Blacksmith, ye’ll mind o’ Geordie Sym – 

He cam’ the day! 

Smith – Lang Geordie? 

Hugh – Him. 

Smith – I mind him weel – lang, lowse, an’ slim; 

The wind could bend him. 

Hugh – Ay; but he’s back in ither trim 

Than ance we kenn’d him. 


Smith – What’s that? 

Hugh – Ou, brawny, big, an’ weel; 

Beard like a buss, kite like a creel, 

As roond an’ soond as ony wheel 

Ye ever shappit – 

A buirdly, business, wice-like chiel 

As ever stappit. 


Smith – An’ weel pat on? 

Hugh – The best o’ claith; 

Coat, breeks – the wast o’ England baith; 

An’ gowd – 

1st Pl. – Noo Hughie, tak’ a breath! 

2nd Pl.  – An’ gie’s ‘t in plenty! 

3rd Pl. – Ca’t thoosan’s! 

Hugh – Weel, I’ll tak an aith 

At least it’s twenty. 


1st Pl. – Gude measure! 

2nd Pl. – Lippin’! 

3rd Pl. – To the brim! 

Smith – An’ wha’s he this? Lang Geordie Sym? 

This man o’ size an’ substance, him 

That aye gaed fleein’? 

‘Faith, Hughie, ye’re in famous trim 

The nicht for leein’! 


Come, steer aboot! wha’s aucht this gear? 

What’s wantit wi’ the sock-neb here? 

1st Pl. – Mair laund. A chap or twa wad near 

Do a’ that’s wantit. 

Smith – Hughie, we’ll no’ juist ca’ ye lear – 

Tak’ it for grantit! 


Hugh – That’s ceevil! Weel, it’s what I ken 

That Geordie’s rich amon’ rich men, 

Has siller baith to spare an’ spen’, 

An’ speaks forbye 

O’ flocks at the far warl’s en’, 

An’ droves o’ kye. 


His farm’s a coonty, an’ his sheep 

The coonty boon’s can hardly keep; 

He says a telescope micht sweep 

His ootmost border, 

But ae inch owre it coouldna peep, 

Tho’ made to order! 


An’ then his sheep – 

2nd Pl. – Wow! but it’s graund 

To hear o’ sic a sicht o’ laund! 

What say ye, chaps? we’ll mak’ a baund, 

An’ owre the ocean! 

1st Pl. – But hoolie! an’ let’s understaund – 

Whaur’s this new Goshen? 


Hugh – It’s on the underside i’ warl’ – 

Smith – Ay, man? Hoo dae they stick? 

Hugh – Daft carle! 

This earth’s a kind o’ whirlin’ barr’l, 

Some up, some under; 

It’s time aboot wi’ ilka wharl, 

An’ whaur’s the wonder? 


Owstralia’s up when Scotland’s doun, 

An’ that’s when we’re a’ sleepin’ soun’, 

But i’ the nicht time we’re ca’d roun’, 

An’ i’ the mornin’ 

We’re up, an’ at oor wark, to croon 

The day’s adornin’! 


3rd Pl. – Man, Hughie, but ye’ve rowth o’ wirds, 

They carve the subjec’-theme like swirds – 

Tell  us what kin’ o’ beas’ an’ birds 

Live thereawa’. 

2nd Pl. – An’ what they gie their hinds an’ herds. 

1st Pl. – Just oot wi’t a’. 


Hugh – Weel, first, they’ve neither craws nor doos, 

But craturs they ca’ cockatoos; 

An’ then for beas’, they’ve kangaroos 

An’ aborigins; 

The folk’s a mixtur’, I jaloose, 

O’ a’ religions, 


But brithers a’ – there’s nae pretence; 

An’ then the kintra’s sae immense, 

Ye’ll get a farm at sma’ expense, 

An’ hoose to sleep in; 

In fac’, ye juist rin oot your fence 

An’ ca’ your sheep in. 


There’s nane to steer ye whaur ye sattle. 

An’ there they breed like Jacob’s cattle, 

Till to the boon’s they spread an’ sprattle, 

Then – owre they rin 

Whaur neither fence o’ wire nor wattle 

Can haud them in. 


O then what muntin’ an’ what ridin’ 

The gressy wilderness wide in, 

To herd the flocks that winna bide in, 

An’ keep them clear! 

There’s naw sic guardin’ or sic guidin’ 

O’ cattle here. 


The shepherds i’ the saiddle sleep, 

The plains are populous wi’ sheep, 

The haill horizon seems to creep, 

An’ far ayont it 

They haena even time to keep 

The cattle coontit! 


Owre a’ the region, far an’ near, 

There’s bleatin’ there, an’ baain’ here; 

Then comes the crap-time o’ the year 

When packs are made up, 

An’ gowpenfu’s o’ gowden gear 

Are snugly laid up. 


In this way lang lowse Geordie even 

Has grown a man o’ means, an’ thriven, 

Staunds twa ell straucht, an’ lifts to heaven 

A half-ell beard, 

An’ looks as life-like an’ as livin’ 

As ony laird.

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