I need to be careful with this document as the paper is a wee bit crumbly. This is a poem written by my great, great grandmother Margaret Bowie Duncan just over 125 years ago in 1889. She had just moved from Wanlockhead leaving behind her friends, one of whom was Annie Wilson, whom this poem was written for. Arriving in Blantyre, she must have been homesick or missing her pal. I need help with this , as it’s written in auld scots and i’m struggling. I should add, there are 12 verses of this poem, this is only the first four. Remember, shes talking about leaving Wanlockhead and moving to the big smoke….Blantyre! Here’s what I’m able to understand.
“I love my house & the dear auld folk,
and brothers a sisters sae dear,
they are dearer tae me in that dear little hut,
than a’ the grander (granduer?) here
I never see a spot like dear wau-lock (wanlockhead),
wi its wee hooses a up an doon,
o i wish i was in the country again,
for i’m tired of the auld reekit toon.
It’s the nicest wee bit that I kenl o’,
Sitting braw among ? Hills,
Wa; a bonnie bit ? That ? By oor ?,
All doon by the auld smelting mills.
Aye it’s there some men earn their bread,
Tae keep parents, wives and their weans,
They a hae a ? and ?
which mark their snug, happy hames.”
Anybody able to fill in the questions marks, please feel free to contact me.
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V2 “Wan-lock” rather than “wau-lock”
V3 heathery hills
With a bonnie bit burnie that runs by oor door
V4 They a’ ha’e a but and a ben
Which “mak” (make)
I’m a Wanlock (W) native. My mother Annie B Scott is from Blantyre (B). Her father, John Scott, elder in the Brethren, Gospel Hall, B was from W. Mum’s girlfriend sent to W to recover from TB. Mum and others visited. My father (Robert Reid McCall)’s mother, Mary Reid was from High B and married John McCall (Brethren) from W. Dad moved to High B for work and met Mum at Gospel Hall and took her “home”. Many links!