The Witch of Ae’s Song.


Turn round, thou bit o’ the rarest timmer1
Ere bore a bud to the dew o’ simmer,2
Thou wert nursed in a cleugh o’ blood and strife,3
I’ the mirkest nook o’ the haunted Dryfe ;4
Nor wert thou plucked by steel or airn,5
But by the cauld hand o’ a strangled bairn,6
When the stars fell sick, and the moon grew dull,7
By the will-o’-wisp gleam frae a dead man’s skull.8


Thou ae best friend i’ my starkest need,9
That grinds my corn, and bakes my bread ;10
That frae the bawk the fat hen wiles,11
And milks the kye for a thousand miles ;12
That keeps me cozie, and brings to me,13
The bird frae the bush, an’ the fruit frae the tree ;14
That reaps me riggs I never plowed,15
And melts men’s hearts like minted gowd16


’Gainst the flight o’ the sun, as I spin thee about,17
A thousand lights i’ the earth gae out.—18
As I turn thee around wi’ the warld, I win19
A thousand lives to this land o’ sin.20
Muckle dool hast thou done—an’ gory wark,21
To unbaptized brows, and the cruel Turk ;22
Muckle dool hast thou done, and may do mair23
To th’ unwelcome foot in thy owner’s lair.24


A bonnie ship o’er the Solway went,25
An’ snored through the brine wi’ her white sails bent,26
I turned my timmer, the shriek frae the sea27
Came far up Criffels’ green mountain to me28
I turned it back, with a moistened wing,29
Away shot the ship, and I heard the men sing,30
An’ the maids o’ Colvend, with a startling laugh,31
Grat an’ shouted for joy to see her safe.32


There was dool to win—there was dool to pu’,33
Frae the bird o’ the fiend this sooty woo.34
A strange black raven, wi’ croak and peck,35
Poud this lock at midnight frae a black tup’s neck ;36
I turned my timmer—and now I twine37
My thread, an’ sing i’ the bonnie sunshine ;38
But I hae a darg i’ the dwine o’ the moon,39
To do, an’ syne my song is done.’40