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Lat's see that bottle! Here's your line!

(An' may it dae ye muckle gude!)


He's a muckle man, Sandy, he's mair nor sax fit A size that's no' handy for wark i' the pit, But frae a' bad mis-chanters he'd aye keepit free Excep'in' that nicht he'd a fire in his e'e.

He was lyin' an' holin' at wark at the face, For the gaffer had gi'en him a gey dirty place, Sae while i' the gloamin' I sat owre my tea He lowsed an' cam' hame wi' a fire in his e'e.

Ae wife says "Saut butter," ane "Sugar o' leed,"

An' anither says "Poultice the back o' your heid!"

He first tried them singly an' syne tried a' three, But sairer an' sairer got Sandy's sair e'e.

Wi's heid in blue flannen (he couldna stan' licht) I'se warrant he lookit a bonny like sicht, Till dang near deleerit, as hard's he could flee, Eck ran to the smiddy for ease till his e'e.

The smith was a billy wha cam' frae the sooth, An' was awful sair fashed wi' a sutten-doon drooth.

He claimed half a mutchkin as fore-handit fee, An' syne yokit howkin' in Sandy's sair e'e.

The p'int o' his gully, an' sleeve o' his sark Was a' the smith's gibbles for surgical wark.

For ae fire extrackit the smith pit in three, Till Eck was fair rackit wi' pain in his e'e.

At last to the doctor he gangs daft wi' pain, An' gets a gude sweerin' an' syne some cocaine.

The fire was ta'en oot then, to Sandy's great glee, An' he spent the neist week wi' a drap in his e'e.


'Twas the turn o' the nicht when a' was quate An' niver a licht to see, That Death cam' stappin' the clachan through As the kirk knock chappit three.

An' even forrit he keepit the road, Nor lookin' to either side, But heidin' straucht for the eastmost hoose Whaur an auld wife used to bide.

Wi' ae lang stride he passed her door, Nor sign he niver gae nane, Save pu'in' a sprig o' the rowan tree To flick on her window pane.

"An' is this to be a' my warnin', Death?

I'm fourscore year an' four, Yet niver a drogue has crossed my lips Nor a doctor crossed my door."

"I dinna seek to be forcy, wife, But I hinna a meenute to tyne, An' ye see ye're due for a transfer noo To the Session books frae mine."

"At ilka cryin' I'm handy wife, Wi' herbs I hae trokit awa', An' weel ye may dae's a gude turnie, lad, That's dune ye ane or twa!"

"At the hin'er en' Fair Hornie then!

Fair Hornie lat it be!

An' Govy-dick! ye can tak your pick O' the ways fowk chance to dee!"

He rattled them owre till weel on fowre An' the cock gae signs o' life, On ilka ill he spak' his fill- But nane o' them pleased the wife.

"Wi' siccan a ch'ice ye're unco nice!

Hoots! came awa woman!" says Death, "Gin ye canna wale ane o' the fancy kin's, What think ye o' 'Want o' breath?'"

Noo, Faith! the auld jade was a humoursome taed, As an auld wife weel can be, An' she leugh sae sair at his fleechin' air It fairly gar't her dee!

Wi' a gey teuch sinon in your neck Ye'll lang keep clear o' skaith, But the craftiest carle in a' the warl', An' the kin'liest whiles, is Death.

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