Saturday, 16 June 2018

A Mixed Bag of Rhymes (Part Two)

As a modest celebration of this blog's 150th post, I give you a second selection of randomly gathered rhymes from around the county. (The previous post can be found here: A Mixed Bag of Rhymes).  One of the simplest rhymes in that first entry was a simple recitation of place-names in one part of north Angus, but there is music in the words and poignancy when one thinks that the places mentioned may no longer exist, or not as habitations, and the people who lived there are long vanished and forgotten:

Deuchar sits on Deuchar Hill,
looking doon on Birnie Mill,
the Whirrock an the Whoggle,
the Burnroot an Ogle,
Quiechstrath an Turnafachie,
Waterhaughs an Drumlieharrie.

which leads on nicely to another localised rhyme:

There's Blackha, Buckit Hill,
Lochtie an the Lint Mill,
Cowford, the Waulk Mill, 
The Millton an Balmadity,
The Bogie an Ba'quharn.

   Another northern Angus locality which has a rhyme attached to it is Ledbakie which, in the 19th century, was joined to the neighbouring farm of Blairno.  Its situation, at the foot of the imposing hill of Berrycairn, means that it is destitute of sunlight and gets hardly any light at all in winter time.  A local rhyme described it thus:

Nae wonder though the maidens of Ledbakie be dun
Atween Martinmas an’ Canlemas they never see the sun.

   According to the Rev. Henry Cruickshank, writing in 1899:

It is a drearie place even in summer...A story, probably untrue in actual traditionally given respecting the Cobbs of Ledbakie. In their evening worship they sang a Psalm, which, whether long or short, was gone through from beginning to end. A person passing by one night on the way to Nathro overheard the family singing as was their wont. When he returned next morning, they were engaged in the same pious exercise. He put forth a report that the Psalm was the 119th, and that they had been singing it the whole night.

   Alan Reid in The Royal Burgh of Forfar (1902) gives another localised rhyme, in this case featuring places and burns in the Tannadice area:

The Feerich and the Fogil,
The Burn root of Ogil,
Deuks-Dubs, Tirlywhangie,
Water o Saughs an Drumly Harry.

   Reid also gives another rhyme, from Forfar (which he thinks may be the work of mid-Victorian local poet Davie Herd), and here the focus is not lost and forgotten places, but the names of local characters:

The Steeple o Farfar's biggit on a knowe,
Gang and speir at Bailie Low;
Bailie Low's busy workin,
Gang and speir at Doctor Rankin;
Doctor Rankin's sellin sa,
Gang and speir at Doctor Law;
Dr Law's awa wi's wife,
Gang an speir at Bailie Fyfe;
Bailie Fyfe's awa wi's coo,
Gang and speir at Benjie Rew;
Benjie Rew's lickin Jock
Wi a muckle kail stock!

   Civil strife in 18th century Brechin occurred in the hurly-burly local political field of Brechin in the early 18th century, with fierce rivalry between competing and successive provosts.  The provost who took over the hot seat of provost in 1733 was David Doig of Cookston.  His father had been provost in 1715 and had the misfortune to be imprisoned by the Earl of Mar for being a staunch Hanoverian.  The second provost Doig was deposed by a previous incumbent, John Knox, in 1740, and it may have been fans of the latter who composed a scandalous epitaph about the second provost Doig when he died:

Provost Doig's deid - God be thankit;
Mony a better dog's deid, since he whelpit.

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