Jeemsie Miller

By Violet Jacob

    There’s some that mak’ themsels a name
    Wi’ preachin’, business, or a game,
    There’s some wi’ drink hae gotten fame
        And some wi’ siller:
    I kent a man got glory cheap,
    For nane frae him their een could keep,
    Losh! he was shapit like a neep,
        Was Jeemsie Miller!

    When he gaed drivin’ doon the street
    Wi’ cairt an’ sheltie, a’ complete,
    The plankie whaur he had his seat
        Was bent near double;
    And gin yon wood had na been strang
    It hadna held oor Jeemsie lang,
    He had been landit wi’ a bang,
        And there’d been trouble.

    Ye could but mind, to see his face,
    The reid mune glowerin’ on the place,
    Nae man had e’er sic muckle space
        To haud his bonnet:
    An owre yon bonnet on his brow,
    Set cockit up owre Jeemsie’s pow,
    There waggit, reid as lichtit tow,
        The toorie on it.

    And Jeemsie’s poke was brawly lined,
    There wasna mony couldna’ find
    His cantie hoosie i’ the wynd,
        “The Salutation”:
    For there ye’d get, wi’ sang and clink,
    What some ca’d comfort, wi’ a wink,
    And some that didna care for drink
        Wad ca’ damnation!

    But dinna think, altho’ he made
    Sae grand a profit o’ his trade,
    An’ muckle i’ the bank had laid,
        He wadna spare o’t,
    For, happit whaur it wasna seen,
    He’d aye a dram in his machine,
    An’ never did he meet a freen’
        But got a share o’t.

    Ae day he let the sheltie fa’
    (Whisht, sirs! he wasna’ fou – na, na!
    A wee thing pleasant – that was a’,
        An’ drivin’ canny)
    Fegs! he cam’ hurlin’ owre the front
    An’ struck the road wi’ sic a dunt,
    Ye’d thocht the causey got the brunt
        And no the mannie!

    Aweel, it was his hin’most drive,
    Aifter yon clour he couldna thrive,
    For twa pairts deid, an’ ane alive,
        His billies foond him:
    And, bedded then, puir Jeemsie lay,
    And a’ the nicht and a’ the day
    Relations cam’ to greet an’ pray
        An’ gaither roond him.

    Said Jeemsie, “Cousins, gie’s a pen,
    Awa’ an’ bring the writer ben,
    What I hae spent wi’ sinfu’ men
        I weel regret it;
    In daith I’m sweir to be disgrac’t,
    I’ve plenty left forby my waste,
    An them that I’ve negleckit maist
        It’s them’ll get it.”

    It was a sicht to see them rin
    To save him frae the sense o’ sin,
    Fu’ sune they got the writer in
        His mind to settle;
    And O their loss! sae sair they felt it
    To a’ the toon wi’ tears they tell’t it,
    Their dule for Jeemsie wad hae meltit
        A he’rt o’ metal!

    Puir Jeemsie dee’d. In a’ their braws
    The faim’ly cam’ as black as craws,
    Men, wifes, an’ weans wi’ their mamas
        That scarce could toddle!
    They grat – an’ they had cause to greet;
    The wull was read that garred them meet –
    The U. P. Kirk, just up the street,
        Got ilka bodle!

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