Autumn on Deveronside.
A HOMELY LAY ON A HOMELY THEME.
The bonnie sheaves they a’ day lead -
Kind Nature’s golden treasure!
There’s ne’er a year but brings its breid,
And this gies heapit measure.
Oor ain bit Haugh was early cleared -
The first in a’ the pairish -
And though wi’ aits sae aften eared,
Again the yield was fairish.*
Already girss is grouin’ green
Faur lately waved the yellow,
And snod and loesome lies the scene,
While autumn still is mellow.
The trees yet keep their leafy dress,
The burn rins low and clearly,
The daylight oors weir less and less,
And frosts are late and early.
The fishers haunt the waterside,
And tempt the troot fu’ eydent
Faur darklin’ waters slowly glide,
And banks gie shade to hide in’t.
The reaper’s birr comes owre the hill,
Though cairts are likewise leadin’,
And though the dronin’ thrashin’-mill
Keeps tenty hands a-feedin’.
Trig, lythe, yet airy stands oor toon
On Deveronside rale jaunty,
Wi’ trees, and knowes, and streams aroun’,
And fowk and bields fu’ canty.
The vale ’twixt here and Hatton’s towers
Lies level as ’tis spacious,
An emeralt strath and emeralt bowers,
A prospect wide and gracious.
* The Haugh lands belonging to the Town of Turiff were reaped, cleared, and the crop threshed by the last Saturday in August, and the oats fetched 22s. a quarter, the weight being 45½ lbs. to the bushel, or 3½ lbs. above the standard, though it was the third corn crop in succession on cold and wet land. The work was directed by the Burgh Surveyor, who has no regular staff, but simply hired casual labour. The neighbouring farmers are still struggling with the harvest in the second week of October, and the price of oats has fallen in the interim to 18s. to 2os. This is presumably another illustration of how inefficient public enterprise is as compared with private enterprise!
To a’ that till the earth, and drive
A bargain hard wi’ Natur,
We gie the wish, Lang may ye thrive,
Ilk man an’ mither’s cratur!
The fowk in ceeties get their keep
In mony a curious set o’t,
And if ye tak them in the heap,
They’re maybe in oor debt o’t,
‘Tis true they send us ferlies grand -
News, music, books, and fashions,
But ’tis the country-workin’ band
That hands them gaun in rashuns.
Meal, mutton, eggs, and pork and beef,
The steens to bigg their dwallins,
Wi’ sticks to cover fleer and reef,
An’ furnish forth their hallans.
The ’00 that cleeds their backs, the lint
For bed and table linens,
Cheese, butter, milk (wi’ fushion in’t!),
And vegetable trimmins.
Fruit, nits, and flooers, the feathered race,
The salmon fae the rivers,
The coal that lichts and warms a place,
And likewise cooks your vivers.
They’re a’ the products o’ the lan’,
An’ got by folk deservin’;
The miner, quarrier, husbandman
Stand first at life-preservin’.
’Tis for the labourer himsel’
To see he’s richt rewardit;
They that would live, and live full well,
Their standard they maun guard it.
If fashions cheenge and meal gaes oot,
And corn an’ bear’s less wantit,
We jist maun turn oorsels aboot,
Refusin’ to be dauntit.
If grain comes in fae foreign pairts
At figures past the beatin’,
And aye the price for yowes and mairts
Suggests that some fowk’s cheatin’,
We’re free to buy and sell direct
In sound Co-operation.
Lat interaistit fowk object -
The middleman’s ruination.
We hae the pooer the law to set,
That, spite o’ a’, the boddom
Is nae ca’d oot o’ Scotland yet
If we’ll but show some smeddum.
Nae vexin’ tariffs we would seek
To hamper naitral tradin’,
And fill the pooches o’ a clique
Gie public servants full Control
O’ import beef and grain stock,
And free’t at prices that would thole
A livin’ to oor ain folk.
The profits made would be for a’
Instead o’ for the feow, man,
And agriculture far awa
Would thrive as weel, I trow, man.
For husbandry the warld owre
Fares in but poorish wyes, man,
And time it is we harled owre
The system, reet and rise, man.
There’s plenty still for willin’ hands
That would fulfil the Scriptur,
And, cultivatin’ gratefu’ lands,
Enjoy the honest raptur
O’ cleedin’ honest backs wi’ ’oo,
And feedin’ still the hungry;
For plenty follows still the ploo -
To doot o’t maks me angry.
There’s beet for sugar, hens for eggs,
And swine for ham and bacon;
If corn’s less nott for feedin’ naigs,
By pigs and hens it’s taken.
And so I say, enjoy this time
When hairst is led and thackit;
In every land, in every clime
We’ll still be fed and happit.
And if the produce o’ the rigs
Can nae be sell’t for cash, man,
We still can weir and eat it. Fegs,
Oor thooms we needna fash, man!
Though stocks and shares and foreign trade
Had a’ gane helter-skelter,
We’d still be fed and warmed and claid,
And still hae fun and shelter.
Whatever serves man’s lawfu’ need
Is wealth withoot financin’
The fowk that haud the contrar’ creed,
It’s they that are romancin’.
The willin’ lan’, the eydent sun
Reward our due endeavour,
And while the world its course shall run
We’ll still enjoy this favour.
Turriff, Sept., 1926.
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