Hughie at the Smiddy – A Dramatic Idyll – Part II., pp.90-95.

[Horace in Homespun Contents]

Smith as before. Later evening. 


Outside at half-door, A TALL STRANGER, with a half-ell beard, leading a Saddle-horse


Tall Stranger – Who owns this hole? Holloa there – you! 

Blacksmith or blackguard! 

Smith – What’s ado? 

Hugh – It’s him! it’s Geordie! 

Tall St. – Horse to shoe! 

And look out – there’s ‘t! 

(Quoiting in the iron.) 

Smith – Man, folk hae time to dicht their mou’ 

I’ th’ heat o’ hairst! 


Ca’ in your naig! (Enter Tall Stranger.) 

Hugh – It’s Maister Sym! 

Noo, blacksmith, say’ ‘t! 

Smith – Hughie, it’s him! 

‘Faith, Sir, ye come in ither trim 

Than ance I’ve kent ye – 

Sym – That’s years ago! 

Smith – lang, lowse, an’ slim! 

Ay, sir, it’s twenty! 


Sym – Twenty? – a hundred! You don’t know 

How much your country clock’s gone slow. 

Well, Hugh? What is’t to be then? Go? 

Or stay and sterve here? 

“Ay” means – well, look at me! And “no,” 

For ever serve here. 


I leave, and soon; and not again 

To seek old Scotland o’er the main; 

My home’s on yon Australian plain, 

My hopes are yonder; 

Why, man, a County breadth’s my ain – 

What needs your wonder? 


What has old Scotland done for me? 

Hugh – At least she ga’e ye brains. 

Sym – May be

Hugh – An’ banes; an’ bu’k. 

Sym – Na – that’s a lee, 

The hin’most half o’t! 

The shank she ga’e me for a thie, 

I made a staff o’t! 


Well, and what else? No more, I trow, 

But hip-room on a thistly knowe, 

Or scartin’ rocks ahind a plow, 

For a rich neighbour – 

Out yonder, lads, there’s room to grow 

An’ wealth for labour! 


Take my advice – ye’ll ne’er repent it; 

Your country’s yonder if ye kent it; 

There’s Burn-the-wind – he’s nearhand faintit 

Ca’in’ a shoe on! 

At his age yonder – 

SmithHe’s contentit; 

Be joggin’ you on! 


There stands your naig. 

Sym (giving silver) – And there’s your pay. 

So, Hughie, you elect to stay – 

Well, wilful man will have his way. 

Good-by – but think on ‘t. (Mounts and rides off.) 

Smith (looking into his loof) – A croon! 

1st Pl. – He rides a bonnie gray. 

Smith – We’se ha’e a drink on’t! 

(Boy at bellows despatched with pig.) 


2nd Pl. – He’d gar ye troo it was a wrang 

To breathe in Scotland. 

3rd Pl. (to Hugh) – Will ye gang? 

Hugh – I’ve lo’ed auld Scotland far owre lang, 

Heart-thirled till her! 

An’ what’s the gospel o’ his sang 

But only siller? 


Na, na! that wasna in the plan, 

That’s no’ the great chief end o’ man, 

It’s no’ get a’ the gear ye can 

An’ syne content ye; 

But lift what’s lyin’ to your hand’ – 

Aneu’s a plenty. 


As sweet to me amang the knowes 

Whaur Devon’s caller current rows 

To lead the lambs an’ ca’ the yowes 

As to command them, 

As sweet to view the hecht an’ howes 

As if I awn’d them. 


Nar fairer warl’ I wuss to view, 

Nae loftier path wad I pursue, 

Nae trustier friends than you, an’ you, 

I care to hae; 

An’ here I wad gang slippin’ thro’, 

E’en as I dae. 


Here as my mortal hopes expire, 

And ilka earth-born dear desire 

Dees oot, as dees the desert fire, 

Let tranquil age 

Attend me thro’ the creepin’ tire 

O’ life’s last stage. 


Here let the sicht o’ hill an’ field 

The fragrance o’ my youth-time yield; 

Here let me totter doun to eild, 

An’ find a grave here – 

What ither than a gowany bield 

Amang the lave here? 


Nae pomp nor passion there appear, 

But winds the growin’ laurel steer, 

An’ solitary friends draw near 

At antern times 

To drap a saut but silent tear 

Owre Hughie’s rhymes! 


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