At Hallowmas, whan nights grow lang,
And starnies shine fu' clear,
Whan fock, the nippin' cald to bang,
Their winter hap-warms wear,
Near Edinbrough a fair there hads,
I wat there's nane whase name is,
For strappin dames and sturdy lads,
And cap and stoup, mair famous
Than it that day.
Upo' the tap o' ilka lum
The sun began to keek,
And bid the trig made maidens come
A sightly joe to seek
At Hallow-fair, whare browsters rare
Keep gude yale on the gantries,
And dinna scrimp o' a shair
O' kebbucks frae their pantries,
Fu' saut that day.
Here country John in bannet blue,
And eke his Sunday's claes on,
Rins after Meg wi' rokelay new,
And sappy kisses lays on;
She'll tauntin' say, Ye silly coof!
Be o' your gab mair sparin',
He'll tak the hint, and criesh her loof
Wi' what will buy her fairin'
To chew that day.
Here chapman billies tak their stand,
An' thaw their bonny wallies;
Wow, but they lie fu' glaeg aff hand
To trick the silly fallows.
Heh, Sirs!what cairds and tinklerss come,
An' ne'er-do -weel horse-coupers,
An' spae-wives fengying to be dunmb,
Wi' a' siclike landloupers ,
To thrive that day.
Here Sawny cries, frae Aberdeen,
"Come ye to me fa need;
"The brawest shanks that e'er were seen
"I'll sell ye cheap an' gnid
"I wyt they are as protty hose
"As come frae weyr or leem;
"Here tak a rug an' shaw's your pose;
"Forseeth, my ain's but teem
An' light this day."
Ye wives, as ye gang thro' the fair
O mak your bargains hooly!
Of a' thir wylie louns beware,
Or fegs they will ye spulzie.
For fairn-year Meg Thamson got,
Frae thir mischievous villains,
A scaw'd bit o' a penny note,
That lost a score o' shillins
To her this day.
The dinlin drums alarm our ears,
The serjeant screechess fu' loud,
"A' gentlemen and volunteers
"That with your country gude,
"Come here to me, and I sall gie
"Twa guineas and a crown,
"A bowl o' punch, that like the sea,
Will soum a lang dragoon
Wi' ease that day.
Without, the cussers prance and nicker,
An' our the ley-rig scud;
In tents the carls bend the bicker,
And rant and roar like wud.
Than there's sic yellowchin and din,
Wi' wives and wee-anes gablin,
That ane might true they were a-kin
To a' the tongues at Babylon,
Confus'd that day.
Whan Phoebus ligs in Thetis lap,
Auld Reikie gi-es them shelter,
Whare cadgily they kiss the cap,
An' ca'd round helter skelter.
Jock Bell gaed furth to play his friaks,
Great cause he had to rue it,
For frae a stark Lochaber aix
He gat a clamihewit
Fu' fair that night.
"Ohon!" quo' he, "I'd rather be
"By sword or bagnet stickit,
"Than ha'e my crown or body wi'
"Sic deadly weapons nicket."
Wi' that he gat anither straik,
Mair weighty than before,
That gar'd his feckless body aik,
An' spew the reikin' gore,
Fu' red that night.
He peching on they causey lay,
O' kiels and cuffs weel saird;
A Highland aith the serjeant ga'e
"She maun be see our guard."
Out spak the weirlike corporal,
"Pring in ta drunken sot."
They trail'd himben, an' by my saul,
He paid his drunken groat
For that neist day.
Good fock, as ye come frae the fair,
Bide yont frae this black squad;
There's nae sic canker'd pack elsewhere
Allow'd to wear cockade.
Than the strong lion's hungry maw,
Or tusk of Russian bear,
Frae their wanruly fellin' paw
Mair cause ye ha'e to fear
Your death that day.
A wee soup drink dis unco weel
To had the heart aboon;
It's gude as lang's a canny chiel
Can stand steeve in his shoon.
But gin a birkie's owr weel saird
It gars him aften stammer
To pleys that bring him to the guard,
An' eke the Council-chawmir,
Wi' shame that day.