This excellent poem was sent in anonymously to the newspaper by the rather amusing person “AuchenWarlock”, in January 1901. Titled, the Blantyre Ghost. A local poem, you may not have heard before, now 120 years old! I won’t pretend to understand all the “auld language”, but I definitely get the ‘jist’. I’ll add too, this seems a local person with good knowledge of Blantyre and personally, I think this poet is rather good.
Some sages fain would gar us trow,
Threre’s neither ghosts nor witches now,
Stravaigin in the hours o’ nicht,
To fill belated folk wi fricht
But a’ their theories are fause,
Their dreams aboot effect an’ cause
Can ne’er prevent the imps o Sawtan,
Frae workin’ mischief fell,
An’ wi dire ettle wretches clawtin,
Within their gruesome spelL
‘Twas when December dreer was born,
An’ oe’er the moon had filled her horn,
A vision ghastly, grim an’ tall,
The folk o Blantyre did appal.
Nae wonder o’t for sic a fricht
Had ne’er been seen ‘neath cloud o’ nicht.
‘Twas fully aught lang cubits high.
An’ thro’ ilk street an’ lane did fly
On souple shanks an’ noiseless tread,
Theo’ Auchenraith n’ Wheatlandhead.
Yea, even in Dixon’s Raws was seen,
Wi visage grim an’ fiery een;
A blue flame followed in its wake.
Sae nane its presence could mistake.
0, monv were the pranks it played,
As on its nichtly rounds it gaed;
When Peggy Ramage hameward hied,
The gruesome figure she descried,
The nicht o’t filled her wi’ dismay,
An as wi’ fervour she did pray,
In time o’ need some neabours came,
An’ carried the auld body hame;
Mick Brannigan, as bold’s a lion,
Down the clay road yae nicht was flyin’,
Wi’ mony a shout an’ wild halloo;
But tumblin’ ower a wander’t soo,
He swore the “divil” had trepanned him,
Or else the goblin had unmanned him.
Twa lovers that ne’er cared to gang
Thegither in the village throng.
Repaired, to shun ilk gaser’s view,
Among the braes o’ sweet Milheugh,
But ere they yae short hour had passed,
In quakin’ terror stood aghast :
For, lo! the dreadfu’ sprite fade by,
An’ baith gi’ed a despairin’ cry:
But mindfu o’ fond love’s alarms,
They fainted in each ither’s arms.
Pate Hardie swears wi’ solemn face,
An’ wha daur doubt his aith!
He saw that gruesome ghost ding down
The stalk at Auchenraith.
Sic cantripe werena to borne,
For ilka nicht an’ ilka morn
Brocht tidings o’ some hapless wight
Bein’ landit in a waefu’ plight.
So a’ the learned aboot the toon,
Wi’ serious faces sat them doon.
To search in mystic dissertations.
Writ by wise men o foreign nations.
For some else secret to unravel
The mystery o’ that imp o’ evil.
In an auld tome o’ ancient lore,
Which they had never read before.
They found a cure which put in force,
Garrd ‘s ghostship flee like a racehorse,
Nae mair the lieges here to torture.
For he’s ta’en leg-bail to the Quarter.
Photo: For Illustration only