Park Engineering

 John Park, 32 the Loaning, Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, Strathclyde, Scotland, U.K. ML1 3HE

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work of the Bonkle Poet William McCormack "Memories O' Hame" and other poems

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work of the Bonkle Poet William McCormack "Memories O' Hame" and other poems



In response to the request of Mrs. McCormack and her family it has given me great pleasure indeed, to carefully read over and select from the poetical productions of her late gifted honourer husband the contents of this little volume.

In making the selections. I have endeavered to give the cream of Mr. McCormack's musings, and have only made such changes as I'm sure he would have approved, could he have consented to the matter. If those who read "MEMORIES O' HAME" and other poems, derive as much pleasure and profit by doing so, as I have in preparing them for the press, they will indeed be happy.


Wildwood, New Jersey 1915


Memoir of Mr. William McCormack by John McNell M.E. Denver Colorado.

To write or speak of the reverence - the respect and tender affection I possess for the late William McCormack is a difficult task indeed, of his accomplishments, or the unbounded pleasure that was mine as in deep sweet converse i walked arm in arm with him, my gifted companion of thirty years, my pen-my lips fail in there eloquence to adequately portray. But unworthy as I am to perform the task-by special request assigned me, yet mine be the sacred duty and sweet pleasure of recalling , at least one of the sterling virtues, estimably qualities and and personal charms of my beloved life long friend and fellow countryman; and if I can crown his genius with a wreath of justice, I shall at least offer from my heart a garland of love in this brief memoir, made up from reminiscences of his own lofty feelings and sublime inspiration, which so often touched tender chords within my heart. I shall speak of Mr. McCormack in no cold, ordinary measure terms, believing with all my heart that he has "A well earned niche in the Temple of Fame" with modern Scottish poets.                Like many men who have made a name for themselves, William McCormack owed much to his early training and example of his "douce" God-fearing parents. hence the deep affection which he ever manifested towards them. Doubtless he had his faults, for, "the best of men are the least sinful" But as far as I new him-and few new him better, there was no serious blemishes to mar his manly character in it's entirety. He had a warm unselfish, loving heart, unseared by sordid thoughts, or soured by harking care, or, he never could have enjoyed the pleasure of such chaste fancy to sing so sweetly. Mr. McCormack was an ardent reader and was gifted with a wonderful memory. His intellect was acute, rather than strong; brilliant rather than proud. If his life had been prolonged it was his intention to have devoted much of his time to literature. But that was not God's will. Beyond such schooling he had obtained prior to reaching the age of ten, and by an occasional attendance afterwards at night-school, he was self taught. It was only by sheer  force of application, and in the face of many difficulties that he improved his mind, and developed literary tastes, bringing himself out from the seclusion of obscurity into a position of, at least, local influence and honour.               He was close student of Scottish folk-lore and history, and as such was honoured by those who knew him. His ability to accurately recall historic events, give dates and narrate facts relating to history of his native land, was truly marvellous. Few men, either at home or abroad, were more conversant with Scottish life and custom, past and present, than William McCormack. He was wonderfully familiar with the green glades, the heather moors, the woody groves, the ferny glens  and the rippling streams of his native shire; deeming them charmingly picturesque and enchantingly lovely; thus we find often singing of their peculiar charms, the rural beauty and sweet fragrance in such sweet poems as the following.   

"Beside the Calder", "the Shotts", and "Bonkle"

"Where he leaved as a bairnie langsyne"

"I have leaved in this whorl for for full fifty years

'Midst its joys its sorrows, its smiles and tears,

And th'ae magic word ever sweet tae ma ears-----

  Is hame wi its mem'ries and thochts,

I titches ma hert like saft melodie'

That I've heard lang syne by a fond mother's knee,

And again I'm a bairn 'neth that humble rif-tree,

By the road-side no faur frae th' Shotts


Like beautiful scenery, that we sometimes find in solitary cannons, hidden far from the paths of men, so we often find the best and most lovable types of mankind in the humblest walks of life, far removed from the busy haunts of men.  The life of my dear departed friend William McCormack, was a striking example of this. He entered the coal mines at Newmains at the tender age of 10 years, but, on reaching manhood, became a mechanical engineer, and for nearly forty years he worked at this trade, most of that time being in charge of machinery about coal and metaliferous mines. Being an excellent trades man, as well as a noble and lovable man, he was highly respected by his employers and "looked up to" by his fellow workmen. He was in love with his calling, for a while he had certainly talent to rise above it, he was always and contented  in it.                                                                                 In a cleanly swept engine room surrounded with bright shinning machinery, and wearing his newly washed overalls, he was unfailingly happy; to me it was a source of great pleasure to meet him there; and there too were some of his best poems conceived and composed. He would hum the composition of his words over in his leisure moments to some auld "Scotch air" , and when relieved from duty and seated by "his ain cosy, clean fireside" he would reduce them to writing. No man was fonder of home and family than William McCormack. Of his tidy thrifty Scotch wife he would say "ma we wife Teenie, cooks an' keeps a' things tidy an' please me better tha ony ither hoose-keeper I ken" His delicacy of thought, fertility of imagination, and felicity of expression, so clear, so simple and so fresh in utterance, were to me as refreshingly sweet as the fragrance of the flowery verdure of the hills and the valleys o'er which we roamed together; his pathos, tender and refined, went direct to the heart. The untiring grandeur and beauty of the all-enduring storied piles, and the illimitable sweep of Colorado's Rocky mountains, with their caps of perpetual snow, never ceased to have a strong fascination for his impassioned heart. He exhibited a deep love for the charms of natural scenery, and his descriptive, conversational powers in depicting the varied beauty of landscape, the grandeur of the hills, the rushing streams, the wild flowers and the waving pines, were the breathings of a pure exalted soul, which are now to his memory, enshrined within my heart as never--fading immortelles.


When our hands c'asped last, with heavy hearty grasp,

We little dreamt, 'twould be the last

I life, between you and I, old friend,

Between you and I, 

     But gazing now, through the mist of tears,

My boon companion of thirty years,

Lies cold and voiceless--dead, departed friend,

        Lies cold and voiceless--dead.

In the sombre hush of the graveyard's gloom,

When I saw thy silent form laid in the tomb,

My heart ached to it's inmost core, lost friend,

My heart ached to it's inmost core.

To realize that thou, and my precious "flow of soul"

Were adown the "Deathless Valley" beyond this earthly goal.

Here, ever lost to me, my beloved friend,

Here, ever lost to me.

Oh! vanished joy, I sadly mourn

for thee, true comrade, beyond the bourne

 Thy passing I deplore,

But tho' pierced by grief's keenest dart,

God's precious promise sooths my heart,

To know that we'll meet again--joyous friends,

 To know that we'll meet again.



Biographical Sketch

by Rev. Alexander Laird Ph. D, lItt. D


To me, it has been an esteemed privilege, as well as a highly appreciated honour to respond to the request to furnish the readers of this little volume of practical gems, with a brief sketch of their gifted author.

My recollection of William McCormack, run away back through four and a half decades--to the time I was a lad and he was a young man. Mr. McCormack was born at Gasswater, Ayrshire on the tenth day of May 1851, and eleven months later was brought by his parents to Newmains, where the happy years of his childhood, boyhood and early manhood were spent. At the tender age of ten, he became a pit-laddie, toiling over ten hours each day in the bowels of the earth. He devoted most of his evenings to his mother's clean warm fireside, or in the Newmains night school, reading wholesome literature and studying subjects of a practical character. From an examination of the copy book which he used in the Newmains night school, in 1864, I find that as a mere lad he possessed marked literary taste and general ability away above the average. Ere he had reached his majority, he had worked himself out of the mines, and was acting in the capacity of winding engineman at one of the mines in Newmains. About the year 1876, he began contributing verse to the local newspapers, particularly the Hamilton Advertiser, and from that period up to the time of his death, wherever he was, he was sensitive to the touch of the muse, and the contents of this little volume tell how naturally, and how sweetly he could sing.                                                                                  In 1885 Mr. McCormack came to America, settling in the state of Colorado, where he spent twenty happy and useful years. Because like Scotland's great singer Robert Burns, he could not witness "man's inhumanity to man", without expressing his indignation in verse: he was forced to seek employment beyond the state of Colorado, which he loved so well. In 1904, he accepted a position in Mexico, where he remained and prospered for over nine years, until forced by the Mexican war to get out of the danger zone. In July of that year, 1914, he returned to the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where he proposed spending the rest of his life, cultivating his gift of the muse, and following literary pursuits; But his twilight was short; he was only back in Colorado, two months, when after a few days suffering, God took him home, leaving in sorrow behind, his widow, two sons, one daughter and a host of warm, loyal friends. William McCormack was in the fullest and truest sense of the word a typical Scot. In spite of his long residence in the United States and his unswerving loyalty to it's institutions, he retained with a tenderness that was touching, his love for his native land, which can be traced like golden thread, running through almost everything he wrote. In a long letter which I received from him, less than a year ago, while he was still in Mexico, he said, "I have been home to Scotland twice, in 1891 and in 1912. If I thought I was going to die in a year, I would start for the old land again tomorrow,"  How unassuming he was in relation to his poetic genius and literary qualifications! to show this , I quote from another of his letters now open before me. "I am flattered", he writes, "that you should have noticed my verses in the Hamilton Advertiser. I am well aware that there is no great merit in them, but even the wild birds of the forest have not all the same gift of song. I do the best i can with the little gift I have, never forcing myself to write anything at any time, for the muse must be wooed gently--she will not be coerced. While a great deal is made of the influence of environment the true poet is found anywhere, he can soar above most prosiac surroundings."   Had Mr. McCormack been spared for a few years longer he would undoubtedly have been added to the laurels which were already his.     In deciding to publish her lamented and gifted husband's poems, Mrs. McCormack is not only perpetuating his memory, but is at the same time furnishing those who knew him in life and all others who may have read his musings on "Hame" and other subjects with many a pleasant and profitable hour.     May dear auld Scotia continue to give to the world men of the William McCormack type, and thus maintain her name and her fame, "Wherever Scots may gather"          As an exile son of Newmains, I am proud to have known and have numbered amongst the personal friends of the author of "Memories of Hame"                                


Memories O' Hame

 I've been across the sea, John,

Faur ower the stormy faem,

And spent a happy holiday

Wi the dear auld folk at hame:

Ay, mony a kindly freen. John

I met when I was there,

And some I sadly missed, John,

That's gaen fur ever-mair.


I've been across the sea, John,

Tae Scotland faur-awa.

I've wandered through the bonny glens,

And climbed her mountains braw,

And sweetly in the wildwood, John.

I heard the mavis sing

Aroon' the haunts o' child-hood, John,

The gledsome notes o' spring.


I've been to Bonny Scotland, John,

I wish you had bin there,

In a' my pleasant rambles, John,

And kindred joys tae share,

I saw the heather blooming, John,

The gowan on on the lea,

Amangst the fragrant clover, John,

I marked the busy bee.

I saw the auld kirk-yaird, John,

Whaur sleep the village deid,

And mony a weal-kent name, John,

Upon the stanes I read,

And the auld kirk-ivy-clad, John,

And the sexton auld and grey,

And the skule-hoose by the green, John,

Whaur the happy bairnies play.


I've been to Bonny Scotland, John,

There's music in the name,

Recain' sunny memories, John,

O' freen-ship love an hame.

And cauld maun be the loon, John,

Wha' disna fill with pride,

To hear O' "Bonny Doon." John,

The Devon Tweed an Clyde.

I grant this land is fair, John,

Wi' blue ethereal skies,

And rich in treasures rare, John,

That eager mortals prize

But ah' it lacks a charm, John,

We feel but canna name,

That mak's our boosoms warm, John,

When'er we think of O' hame.


Ailie's Awa

It wis in th' autumn o' th' year

Ay, weal mind th' day--

Th' leaves an' floers wur turnin' sere

An' hast'nin' tae decay.

Th' hills wur wrapt in hazy hood

An mantled owre wi snaw

A' nature seemed in dowie mood

Whin Ailie gaed awa.


Faur across th' broad an' furrowed deep

Oor Ailie she hes gane,

And (a secret a maybe should keep)

She'll no be back again.

O thou wha guides the surging billow,

An' th' wee bit sparrow's fa';

Aye gaird her peaceful pillow,

Oor Ailie that's awa.


Oor Ailie wis a winsome hizzie,

As rosy as th' dawn,

Wi nimble fingers ever busy,

As gracefull as a fawn.

Hoor sair we miss her in th' mornin'

As weal as gloamin' fa'

Ne'er tae oor hame again return'     

Oor Ailie is awa.


Sae noo oor montain hame is dreary,

Withoot oor Ailie's smile,

Hoo much wee mis her sang sae cheery,

Lichtin' oor daily toil,

A' things gang wrang aboot th' hoose,

There's naething richt ava;

E'en oor auld cat is no sae croose,

Since oor Ailie gaed awa.


In th' shady dell aboot oor cot,

Whaur rins th' burnie c'ear;

Aye sendin' oot its plaintive note

Tae reach ma list'in' ear,

Whin shin' th' balmy braith o' spring,

Back tae fu' life 'll ca

Th' floers tae bloom, th' birds tae sing

  But Ailie, she's awa.



Th' wee while we're here

 As we journey thro' this world,

O' bustle din a' strife;

Let us vie wi anither,

Tae leeve an' honest life.

Fur life at maist is a span,

And daith is is aye sae near,

Sae let us dae whit guid we can

Th' wee while we're here


   We've a' oor faults an' failin's,

We're deeply steep'd in sin;

Tho' oftentimes oor ootward mask

Concels the guilt within.

The let us throw th' mask aside

Be upricht a' sincere;

An' dae as muckle guid's we can

  Th' wee while we're here


Th' floers adorned n simmer's bloom

Hae sune t' fade an' dee

Sae we're fast hst'nin' tae th' tomb

Whaur we'll forgotten be.

But at the jidgement sate o' heav'n

Oor speerits maun appear

Tae answere  fur th' deeds we'eve done

 Th' wee while we're here.


Be ready aye wi cheery hert

Tae help a' brither on;

There's joy indeed in heav'n abin

Whin kindly deeds are dune;

An' whin at last it comes oor turn

Tae leave this earthly sphere

We never rue whit guid we've dune

 Th' wee while we're here



My Village Hame

O' weel dae' a mind o' ma village hame,

In fancy a' see it noo--

As it used tae be in my boyhood days

E'er care had furrowed ma  broo,

A' can hear th' tone's o' ma mithers voice,

Singin' sae sweet an' low,

The sangs that she sang whin' we wur weans

By the fireside long ago.


My village hame ! My village hame !

Whit mem'ries roon thee cling--

O' happy days a' ve spent in thee,

In youth's Bright joyous Spring.

O' brithers an' sister' dear

A' widely scattered noo--

O' merry pranks in skule-lad days,

Wi comrades leal an' true.


Th' wee cot-hoose aside the burn

Altho' th' rooms wur sma--

Th' kindly herts that leev'd within

A welcome had fur a'

Sweet haunts o'happy, youthfu' days

O' innocence an' glee;

Thy verdant banks an' bonny braes

Will aye be dear tae me.



I can't remember any houses or house shells by the side of the Calder in Bonkle. The main road is a good half mile away from the Calder. The place they may have been is where the football park is. I must check up on this. Yes my father says he can recall house(s) on the banks of the Calder.



My native land

A've often heard o' ither lands,

Faur, faur ayont th' sea,

Whaur nature wi a lavish haund

Bestows her favours free,

Whaur frits an' flooers an' myrtle bow'rs

In rich profusion grow,

Wi' lofty mountains tow'ring high

An' fertile plains below.


Ma native land tho' rugged-wild,

Has still it's charms for me

That foreign lands wi a' thair wealth

An beauties canna gie.

Its glens an' birken shaws,

Are hallowed scenes, whaur martys true

Have died for freedom cause.


The exile from his native land,

A home still finds in thee,

And under Britain's noble stay

The down-trod slave is free.

We own no despot tyrant's power,

We fear no braggart knave,

For jusice, truth an' mercy rule

Whaur British banners wave.



To my worthy friend Alexander Sneddon of Engleville Colorado lately returned from a visit to Scotland  

Just now I have an hour to spare,

So down I sit to write to you--

And let me tell you on the square,

I never meant to slight you.

But better late than ne'er do weal

I've heard at kirk and weddin'

The words of mony an honest chiel

Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


No doubt we shirk oor duty whiles,

And say there's time tomorrow,

But when we heed the tempter's wiles

He's sure to bring us sorrow.

Procrastination is a thief

The "Guid Book" I have read in,

And time flies fast, and life is brief,

Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


But now, dear friend you must not think,

I mean to write a sermon,

Or idly to make words clink--

In English French or German,

Oh no that's scarcely in the line

That I was born and bred in;

I ne'er could boast of gifts divine

  Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


I'd really like to  see you noo,

And hear the news "frae Scotland",

Bout what ye saw, and what was new

Wha met ye at the the boat-land?

And did you go to Embro 'town

Or cross the mair to redden'?

To see't again I'd g a croon,

 Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


And did ye walk by old kinniel

By Lilburns ghost yet haunted?

Or whare Michael Scott once told "Ye deil"

Ane Brygge Meigle wanted?

Or did ye look on Falkirk hearth

Whare patriot Wallace led on

A gallant band to glorious death

 Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


My best regards to wife and bairn,

(How is the little lady?)

With much regret indeed, I learn

That seldom yet comes pay-day;

The masters hardly seem to care

How? when? or what? we're fed on,

As long as they get the lion's share--

Believe me Sandy Sneddon.


Accept this, friend of genuin worth,

Fraternity I greet you,

And in Boness, beside the forth

Wha' kens? I yet may meet you,

And if a policeman  dare frow

On him we'll put a "head on."

For by my faith we'll paint the town,

   Believe me Sandy Sneddon.




         Beneath the greenwood tree they stood,

Where fretted shadows thickly  fell.

And there he tries to muster strength---

To speak his words of sad farewell,

before he quit these scenes beloved.

To battle with an angry sea,

I love but thee!    I love but thee!


The dangers haunt the mighty deep,

Oh, let not grief thy bosom fret:

Thy love shall bear me safe through all,

More safe than fairy amulet.

Ere twenty moons have lit the heavens,

By thy dear side again I'll be

Once more to whisper in thine ear,

I love but thee!    I love but thee!

Till then shall fancy conjure up

Thy winsome to light mine eyes,

And in every dream thou'lt shine.


My guiding star of cloudless skies,

Till then, while seasons come and go

And scenes remote from the I see,

My heart shall pulse, but one refrain,

"I love but thee! I love but the!"

"He loves but me she fondly cries

And seeks to calm his rising fears,

The love-light sparkles in her eyes

Dim with the flow of happy tears,

And she treads he homeword path

The whisper bounds from tree to tree,

"He loves but me! he loves but me!"

Upon a lonely wave-beat shore,

Her watch, a weeping maiden keeps

And scans wid-eyed the waters cold

Where deep her sailor-lover sleeps;

While far above his lowly head

The careless breezes whistle free,

"He will; He will come back she moans,

He loves but me ! He loves but me"



Auld Mamie

Auld Mamie puir body, leev'd doon in th' glen

Naebody leev'd neer her, so she wis a' by her sel',

Th' folk o' th' clacchi ; wer feart o' ther life,

For thae thocht Mamie wis a weirdie auld wife.

Th' gossips a' ca'd Auld Mamie a witch,

And said 'twas th' deil made her sae rich,

Efter nicht they wer feart tae gang doon by the del!

In case she'd cast o'er them some ill-omen'd spell,

But Mamie, auld budy put her trust aye in God,

As she sat by the fire in her lonely abode

Or kneeled doon an' prayed on her ain hearthstane,

Ay' God wis aye wi her, she was niver alain.


Adieu My Love  

Adieu my love! stern fortunes frown

Compels us now to sever;

But tho' afar from the I roam,

Forget the I will never.

Each scarced vow so fondly pledged,

Within my breast I will cherish,

Yes, I to the will faithful be

'Till life itself shall perish


Adieu my love! when far from the

Beyond the rolling billow,

My thought by day thou still shalt be

In dreams thou'lt halt my pillow

Cheer up my love, come dry thy tears

Th' now we part in sorrow;

The fickle jade that frowns today,

May brightly smile tomorrow.

Written while contemplating going abroad.


Scotia's Darling Bard 

Written for a burn's celebration held at Florence, Colerado January 25th 1895.


Ye powers that rule the fates o' men,

My wandrin' wits restore me,

To shape my thoughts and guide my pen

I humbly do implore ye.

To lofty strains I ne'er aspire,

But jist some hamely jingle--

Gi'e me a spark o' natures fire

That mak's the hert-strings tingle.


"The 25th" again returns

Auld time my mem'ry joggin'

The natal-day Scotland's Burns,

Oor ain immortol Bobin

And here beside the Arkansaw

We've met to sound the praises

O' him who sweetly sings of a'

The dear family places.


The bony lasses bless them a'

He sweetly sung aboot them

And wisely held by nature's law

The world would end withoot them.

But if he saw them noo, he'd stare

With wonder on his features,

To see them ride a wheel and wear--

He'd hardly ken the creatures.


The inmost passions of the heart,

He pictured forth and feeling,

And grace beyond the reach of art,

The heart to heart appealing,

And surely when we love him best,

"Tis when he climbs Parnassus"

And sweetly sings above a' th'e rest,

Of Scotland's bonny lassies.


Hypocrisy he aye abhorred,

And uncannily exposed it,

But friendship firm and fast bestowed,

Whereever he reposed,

It mattered not for humble lot,

When genuine worth he found it,

With stamp of genius burning hot,

He cast a halo around it.


In every land beneath the sun,

Whereever Scotsmen mingle;

Mid scenes of death where fields are won'

Or round the cheerful ingle,

His strains have nerved the soldiers arm,

T noble deeds of daring,

And lent to noble youth a charm,

Unbounded and unsparing.


The starwart ploughman on the lee--

The rosy milkmaid cheery,

The sailor boy far out at sea,

On midnight watch so dreary,

Tho' burn to heritage of toil,

What e'er may be denied us,

We glory in our native soil,

And the song's that Burns has gi'en us.



the Lass I Met at Penty

air:- the rigs o' Barley.

I  hae been oot ay mony a spree,

 Wi' comrades blythe an' canti o'

But faur the happiest nicht tae me

Wis that happy nicht at Penty o' 


That happy nicht,! that happy nicht,

That happy nicht at Penty o'

The win may blaw and the rain may fa'

But we' a' ca' back at Plenty o'

I hae been in the gaudy ha---

I hae seen lassies plenty o'

But ther'es nane tae me, seems hauf sae rair,

Chorus  :- That happy nicht ect.


She was a merry modest queen,

Her face was sweet an' dainty o'

A brawer lass there cud nae be

Chorus  :- That happy nicht ect.


If I had wealth at my command

If I had thoosan's twenty o'

I wid gie thm a' fur th' hert and haund,

O' the lass I met at Plenty o'

Chorus  :- That happy nicht ect.


But fortune tae me's no sae kind,

Sae I maun contented o'

But still that happy nicht I'll mind,

And the lass I met at Penty o'

That happy nicht,! that happy nicht,

That happy nicht at Penty o',

The win may blaw an' the rain may fa'

But we''l aye ca' back at Penty o'.


My father told me the other day  that Penty is a farm on the outskirts of Shotts. It's either on the road to Fauldhouse or Harthill.



Auld Scotland

 I canna boast o' college lear,

I ken no rule o' grammar;

And pen and ink I haundle queer,

Compared wi' file and hammer,

Bute whiles I'm fain tae tune ma lyre,

And sing auld Scotland's praise,

Tho' lacking in poetic fire,

And couched in hamely phrase. 


Oh, Scotland ! dear auld Scotland !

Faur owre the stormy deep;

The land whaur first I saw th' licht.

And whaur my kindred sleep:

Nae ither land surpasses,

The land o' hill an' glen,

Fur bonnie winsome lassies

And gallant-herted men.


Oh Scotland ! dear auld Scotland !

The land I love so well,

Where the purple blooming heather grows,

And the nodin' sweet blue-bell,

The hawthorn white, the yellow broom,

An the bonnie rowan tree,

The load the breeze wi' sweet perfume,

That wafts frae sea to sea.

Hail Scotland grand auld Scotland,

The land o' Wallace brave,

Who for his country and her cause,

His life so nobly gave.

On may a field o' carnage,

In Scotland darkest hour,

He bore her flag untarnished,

Defying Edwards power,

Oh' Scotland glorious Scotland,

Where "guide King Robert" rang

The theme o' martial story,

And many a minstrel's sang:

He quelled the proud invader

Who dared our rights to spurn,

And Scotland free he made her

The Bruce of Bannockburn.


O Scotland, leal auld Scotland,

Whaur the buirdly thistle waves,

And the mairland breezes murmer,

Owre the martyrs lonely graves;

Whom heaven Lord On High lent,

The kindly mist to shroud,

When the voice of man was silent,

And the voice of blood was loud.


Oh dear auld mither Scotland,

Thy sons and daughters fair,

In every clime, in prose and rhyme,

Belaud the beauties rare;

Across the trackless ocean,

A weary hert oft turns

To the with warm devotion,

the land of Scott and Burns.


Oh' Robbie Burns!  Oh Robbie Burns!

'Tis much indeed we owe thee,

And vain regret each true hert mourns,

The world too late and did not know thee,

But such too oft is genius' fate.

In every age and nation--

In life we meet with scorn and hate,

When dead--with adulation.


Ailie wi th' Gowden Hair 

Ailie wi th' Gowden Hair 

Winsome Ailie; witchin' Ailie

Wis a lassie e'er sae fair,

In a' th' world afore?

Wisfu' e'en a' bonnie blue,

Rosy cheek and snaw white brow,

Queen ower a' oor herts are you,

And humbly we adore thee.


Ailie has a form devine,

Modest Ailie, graceful Ailie;

Prood am I tae c' her mine,

And boo to her dominion;

Sweet as gowans on the lee,

Happy herted blythe and free,

Merry as a lark can be,

That soars on airy pinions.


Ailie in the days tae come,

Blythesome Ailie, lithsome Ailie;

Happy may'est thou be with one,

Tae cherish thee and love thee,

Tae shelter thee from every blast,

And love thee fondly tae th' last,

And when the storms o' life are past,

Be true as heaven above thee.


Partin' at the Brimilaw

Ae darksome morn, wi tearfu' e'e

I saw ma laddie sail awa''--

And whin we parted on th' quay

I thought ma hert wid brek in twa

Oh! hard I tried ma grief tae hide

But aye th' bitter tear wid fa-

And life o' licht and joy seemed deid,

Whin partin' at the Brimilaw.


He whispered words o' hope tae me

He vow'd he wid come back again

And tho' divided by the sea

His hert wid aye be a' ma ain;

The busy crood we stood amang,

But, ah' it was a bitter pang---

That partin' at th' Brimilaw.


At nicht when a' is hushed in sleep,

Again I see him in ma dreams,

And haun tae haun we sclim th' steep

Or rove thro' glens by crystal streams

Again I hear his whispered vows--

I winner if he minds them a'--

I ne'er can think th' laddie fause--

That left me at th' Brimilaw.


Thae tell me that I'm fadin' noo--

Ma raven hair is tinged wi gray

And furrowed lines across ma brow

Are signs o' care and youth's decay;

But still within ma hert o' herts,

Wi fondest mem'ries I reca'

The blissful hoors I spent wi him

That left me at th' Brimilaw.


Ah! weary years hae passed since then,

Tho' simmer's heat and winter's snaw

But whin mae laddie comes again,

I'll met him at th' Brimilaw.

Ye winds that swept across the main

In gently zephers saftly blaw,

And bring th' laddie back again--

That left me at th' Brimilaw.


Faur ower yon wild wide western plains,

That in th' distance meets th' skies,

Blached by th' wanton winds and rains,

His mould'ring form unburied lies,

By savage Indian cruellly slain,

Life love and hoppe are endit a'

On earth we meet nae mair again--

Thae pairted at th' Brimilaw.


My Teenie was the Fairest


I met her in th' glen one day,

when summer flowers were blooming,

And little birdies blythe and gay,

Their merry pipes were tuning;

Amonst the fragrance of th' hay,

And lovely flowers the fairest.

I vow'd with pride that summer day

My Teenie was the fairest.


I met her in th' glen one day,

When all breathed joy and gladness,

And winter's storms seemed far away;

No touch of care and sadness;

Dame nature don'd her freshest green,

By sparkling streams the clearest,

And the lovliest of that lovely scene,

My Teenie was the rarest.


I met her in th' glen one day,

When summer flowers were fading,

'Midst autumn tints of brown and gray,

And fair fields harvest-laden.

Oh! were I doomed to exile drear

On earth's bleak spot, the barest,

Her image still my heart would cheer--

My Teenie is the fairest.



What Could I Do?

What could I do but love her?

The brightest sweetest flower;

The theme of all my fancies

Thro' many a lonesome hour,

Her smiles of sunny gladness,

Her gentle graceful mien,

Dispelling care and sadness,

Creation's fairest queen.


What could I do but love her?

So trusting, fond and true.

The highest earthly rapture

My young heart ever know;

Tho' distance may divide us

And years may pass away,

The love I bear my darling,

Will last for aye and aye.



The Days are Creepin' In

  The corn is ripenin' on th' fields,

The leaves are turnin' broon,

The simmer flooers are fadin' noo,

And sadly dropin' doon,

I sit ootside th' at e'en,

Efter mae sair day's work is dune,

And watch th' shade's o' gloamin' fa',--

The day's are creepin' in.


I loe th' gledsome simmer days,

Sae sunny and sae long,

On nature's beauties then tae glaze

And roam her sweets amang;

I hail wi joy th' birds and flooers,

Sweet gifts  frae Heaven abune,

But dowie dreed th' winter's storms

Whin days are creepin' in.


The year is fast declinin' ,

The simmer noo is gane,

And could I like the swallow flee,

I'd follow in it's train:

Cauld winter wi it's winter blasts

Wull be apon us sune,

The rustlin' breezes whisper--

The days are creepin' in.

The storms o' life we canna shun

Tho' fierce and wild thae be,

And as tae hoo and whan thae'll come,

'Tis hid frae you and me:

Kind provadence in mercy.

O' that has kept us blin',

We sudnae fret or murmer,

Oor days are creepin' in.



My little sweetheart Nan

   'Tis long yeas , yet weel I mine

When first I met the fairy,

Whose winsome face I love to trace,

In lines that never vary;

The passing years with hopes and fears,

Bring age to maid and man,

But still the same to me appears,

My little sweetheart Nan.


I was a striplin' in my teens,

And she was young and fair,

Then life was bright with fairy dreams,

And "castles in the air";

No high born dame with lofty name,

E'er coyed with jewelled fan,

As this "fair maide" with my heart played,

My little sweetheart Nan.


I was her escort everywhere,

Her beau, her cavalier,

At rustic dance, or country fair,

Most ardent and sincere,

That story old, so often told,

since first the world began,

Yet fresh and new as mornin' dew,

I told to sweetheart Nan.


I went wi' her to Kirk O' Shotts

One summer Sabbath day,

But of the sermon took no notes,

I'm most ashamed to say,

I heeded not when parson prayed--

My conduct you may ban--

I only worshipped this fair maid,

My little sweetheart Nan.


How fair the woods of Murdostoun,

When clad in summer green,

And bonny are the summer howms,

By Calder's winding stream;

Annd after then when gloamin' fell

Ower a' th' pleasant lan'

I roved through Calder's bosky dell,

With m y sweetheart Nan.


The years hae gane each well-kent name,

Has still the power to charm ,

As when I used to see her hame,

Around by Swinstie farm,

And while I sojourn her below,

Thro' life's allotted span,

My hert will feel a kindly glow

For my sweetheart Nan.


Swinstie farm is in Bellside just up from the Calder burn on the outskirts of Cleland on the road to Newmains.


Calder's Bonnie Glen

Now, gentle Spring returns aince mair,

The gowans deck the plain,

The wild birds 'mong the buddin' trees

Send forth a joyful strain,

Tae view the charms o' nature,

Nae sweeter nook I ken,

For fair in ilka feature

In Calder's bonnie glen.


E'en in the deid o' winter

a cosy look it wears,

And there in early spring-time,

The primrose first appears;

And there the lover meets meets his dear,

the happy hours tae spen'

Beneath the fragrant hawthorne

In Calder's bonnie glen.


'Twas there in childhood's happy days,

Unclouded free frae care,

Pu'd th' brambles an' the slaes,

That grow in plenty there,

And tho' I've been in distant lands,

And changes seen since then,

My memory loves tae linger,

In Calder's bonnie glen.


Beside the Calder. 

Sweet Calder! winding Calder !,

Beside thy woodland stream,

Where shadows play this autumn day,

I sit alone an dream.

The murmur of thy waters,

Seems to my listening ears,

Now gay with rippling laughter,

Now sad with wail of tears.


Sweet Calder! winding Calder !,

A pilgrim at thy shrine

Here oft I've roved with playmates loved,

In days of auld lang syne:

Tho' long in lands far distant,

'Neath glowing western skies,

Fond memory, warm insistent

Recalls those youthful ties.


The hazel, birch tasel'd larch,

Still shades the swimming pool,

That once was spanned by Roman Arch.

And oft when free from school,

We sported in the water clear ,

I merry boyish mood,

And often fled with haste and fear,

From keeper stern and rude.


In glorious days of summer

I've wandered by your side,

From Muirland burn, where you are born

Until ye join the clyde

I've watched your useful duties,

In mills and marts of men

And lingered with your beauties

In Westwood's lonely glen.


Sweet Calder ! murmuring Calder,

Old story-haunted stream,

Where fairy sprites oft danced o' nights,

By moonlight's mellow gleam:

The water kelpie whiles was seen,

When Lammas floods were high,

And mingling with the hoolet's scream,

Was heard "Old clootie's" cry


Long years have passed above me,

I'm getting gray and old,

Warm hearts that used to love me

Are in the kirkyard cold,

Their work on earth is over,

Their spirits passed away,

And yet they seem to hover,

Around me here today.


With joy akin to sadness,

These scenes again I view,

Our days of youth and gladness,

Are fleeting short and few,

The stream flows to the river,

The river to the sea,

And stream and men frever,

To vast eternities...

in Newmains the main drag is called Westwood Road it heads towards the Calder


The Auld Kirkyard


  The autumn winds are sighing

With sad and mournful sound,

The leaves are thickly lying'

Upon each grassy mound,

The little robin red-breast,

Hops lightly o'er the sward,

That wraps the slumbering tenents,

In the auld kirkyard.


Within these silent portals,

Ah' bitter tears are shed,

By suffering fellow mortals,

In anguish o'er there dead,

And cherished flowers are tended,

And monuments are reared,

In memory o' the dear ones,

In the auld kirkyard.


Tread softly o'er their pillows,

And speak with reverence low,

Beneath these drooping willows,

Secure from pain and woe,

The youth, the gentle maiden,

The grandsire silver haired,

In death's long sleep is laid,

In the auld kirkyard.


Here playmates of our childhood,

Who long since passed away,

And friends of man hoods upper years,

Lie minglin' in decay,

And loving hearts that warmly

Our joys and and sorrows shared,

In death's long sleep are laid,

In the auld kirkyard.


No dreams disturb their slumbers,

No angry passions rage,

The flowers that bloom an' wither,

Above the peaceful grave,

Convey the solemn warning,

We must all be prepared,

to lie beside our kindred,

In the old Kirkyard.


My Mither's Spinnin' Wheel

Now busy fancy fills my mind,

Wi' memories o' th' past,

And visions o' my youthful days,

Come tae me thick and fast,

And thro' the mists o' bygone years,

Come scenes remembered weel---

Oor blythe fireside, my faither's chair,

And mither's spinning wheel.


Wi thrifty haun she span th' 'oo,

Tae makin' th' hodder gray,

Oor checkit-plaid of white and blue--

She wore fur mony a day,

Auld Scotlands lassies trig an' braw,

I wat look unco weel,

When by th' inglesidethey ca',

The hummin' spinnin' wheel.


When wintry winds wi surly gusts,

Were blawin' cauld an' keen,

Aroond th' fire----a merry group--

We gathered in at e'en;

We heeded-na th' angry blasts,

Sae happy did we feel,

As faither read his paper, while

My mither turned her wheel.


O' happy days! whin life was young,

Wi a' the world afore,

We thocht o' but th' pleasures then,

The future held in store,

But stoppin' no' and lurkin' back,

Thro' life's sair fankled reel,

I min' th' words mt mither spak'

Beside her spinnin' wheel.


But years hae passed since an' an a'

We left th' auld rooftree,

And some sleep in th' auld kirkyard,

And some are our the sea,

But often when I lay me doon,

Ere sleep my e'-lids seal,

I see again my boyhood's hame,

And hear the spinnin' wheel.


An Old Man's Address to his Wife 


Come here guide wife' jist sit ye doon,

And resty yirsel' a while,

I like tae hear yir kindly words,

And see yir pleasant smile,

It makes the bygone days o' youth,

Rise up afore mae view,

We've seen the morn o' life, dear Jean,

'Tis gloamin' wi us noo.


We've had oor cares an' sorrows Jean,

As ilka ane maun hae,

An mony a' weary struggle Jean,

Tae sclime life's slippery brae,

A helpmate still in time o' need,

Ye aye wis leal and true,

We've seen the morn o' life, dear Jean,

'Tis gloamin' wi us now.


Oor sons an' dochters hae grown up,

And left us ane by ane,

That little grand-bairn on yir knee,

We fondly ca' "oor-ain",

In years tae come, if she be spared,

She'll often think of you:

We've seen the morn o' life, dear Jean,

'Tis gloamin' wi us noo.


The spring o' life has langsyne past,

Ang gane is summer's bloom,

Sere autumn's unco fast,

And nears is winter's gloom,

O' may we in that better land,

Wauken tae life anew,

We've seen the morn o' life, dear Jean,

'Tis gloamin' wi us noo.


The Auld Hoose at Hame

   There are scenes in our live that we love to remember,

(And others perhaps that we fain forget)

Of the love O' our youth, sae fond, true and tender,

That awakens a thrill in our fond memories yet,

Ah! how dear to me hearts are the haunts of our childhood,

Tho' disant afar o'er the wide rolling main,

Recalling gay rambles by stream, glen and wildwood,

And the warm hearts that loved in the auld hoose at hame.


By yon greenwood glade, where the Calder rins clearly,

And the notes of the cuckoo are first heard in Spring.

Where the crawflowers and primrose bloom sweetly and early,

And the blackbird and mavis make the wood echoes ring,

There stands a wee hoosie, embower'ed 'midst the flowers,

And the sweet honey-suckle keeks in at the pane,

And there when a laddie, I've spent happy hours,

By Calders green banks, near the auld hoose at hame.


Ah! bright in the dawning of life's early morning,

When licht is the heart that kens nocht o' care,

But love casts it glamour in spite o' the warning,

That beauty alas' often blooms to ensnare:

Sill deep in my bosom, I yet fondly cherish,

The memory of one who awoke the soft flame,

And never till life and memory shall perish,

Can I forget her, or the auld hoose at hame.


In the lang days o' simmer, when the bluebells and heather,

Were bloomin' sae bonnie ower mountain and mair,

When we thochtless laddies, hoo often th' geither,

We've chased the wild bee and the butter-fly there,

Oh! aince happy days, that hae vanished forever,

My playmates of childhood, whaur hae they o' gane?

Ah ! mony hae crossed ower the dark silent river,

And ithers are faur frae the auld hoose at hame.


Oh! Bonkle, dear village, how often I ponder,

On the sweet sylvan scenes, I once knew so well,

And tho' in a strange land. far distant I wander,

I see them again under fancys' bright spell:

The roses still bloom in the garden sae fair,

The trim hawthorn hedges yet border the lane,

But, ah! there is ane that I'll never ser mair,

The licht and the love o' the auld hoose at hame.



An Emigrant's Sights  

Written on board the steamer "Panovia" of the Cunard line during the voyage from Liverpool to Boston, September 17th to September 28th 1891.

Dear land of my father's thou'rt fading from sight,

As darkness enshrouds the wild main,

The morning will scatter the shades of the night,

But never will I see the' again,

Dear land of my sires! the land of my birth,

The home of the brave and the free,,

Wherever I wander o'er the all the wide earth,

My heart will beat warmly for thee.

The dark heather waves o'er the mountain and moor,

And the streams as they flow to the sea,

Are singing a dirge for the heroes of yor--

Who died that our land might be free;

O' where is the land that with thee can compare,

In song, or in soul-stirring story!

Enshrined in the hearts of thy sons everwhere,

Are the words of undying glory.


Fairwell, thou dear land! tho' never again,

my feet shall trample thy heather:

Farewell each green mountain, and valley and plain,

Rare beauties all clustered together,

Dear land o' my sires! the land of my birth,

The home of the brave and the free,

Wherever I wander o'er all the wide earth,

My heart will beat warmly for thee.



Robert Burns

Read by the author at a Burns' Anniversary in Walsenberg, Colorado, January 25th 1894.


The night in many a distant clime,

Auld Scotland's sons have met with pride,

I honour of their ploughman bard,

Whose fame rings thro' the world-wide,

Wher'er you meet the waner'ring Scot,

Wher'er is heard the Doric tongue,

In lordly hall, or humble cot,

Are heard the songs that robin sung.


He sang "Lad was born in Kyle,

A cantie lit aboot himsel'

His partner in the harvest toil,

When but a lad, his "Handsome Nell"

His "Mary Dear" who soundly sleeps,

Beside the Clyde in Greenock toon,

His "Darin' Jean", the Banks of Ayr"

"Sweet Ballochmyle" and "Bonnie Doon"


With master hand he touched the lyre,

And sweet and clear his woodnotes wild,

Came throbbing, trembling at the touch,

Of nature's bard, her darling child,

Hark! how he woos intender strains,

And now with passions "wild and strong"

And country maids and rustic swains,

Are framed in never-dying song.


We mark him toiling at the plough,

With glowing eyes and heart elate,

Or, musing perchance with pensive brow,

On "Daisy " crushed, or "Mousie's" fate:

For wearie cattle in the stall,

His tender heart can pity feel,

Extended to Creation all,

He pities e'en the very "diel"

We see him the festive ha'--,

The guest of lords and ladies gay,

With "aye a hert aboon them",

Tho' clad in home-spun hodder grey,

Let us a toast in memory here,

While yearly as the day returns,

His name to mankind grows more dear,

Auld Scotland's Bard-Immortal Burns.


The Engineer 

Read by the author before a meeting of the Master Mechanics Club of Cripple Creak District Colorado in February 1900


My theme is not a "gallant knight"

Nor gentle "layde faire"

It is no romance that I would write,

Your fancy to ensnare,

But musing on the "Passing Show"

I start my rhyming gear,

To sing the praises of one you know,

The humble engineer.


Of late we've read and heard about,

The man behind the gun,

Of how he "Knocked the Spaniard out

And glorious victory one"

A tribute to his worth we pay,

With many a rousing cheer

But seldom have a word to say

About the engineer.


While stormy winds at sea prevail,

Yon steamship tempest-tossed,

Has weathered out the fearful gale,

And safely reached the coast,

The passenger with tongue and pen,

And costly souvenir,

All think about the captain then,

But where's the engineer?.


O'er mountain pass, thro' tunnel black,

The iron horse swiftly flies, 

And ever brooding o'er the track, 

death lurks in awful guise;

And ever looking out ahead,

To mark the "white light" clear,

The "caution green" or "danger red" ,

You'll find the engineer.


The miner steps upon the cage,

Or the bucket clings,

In perilous labour to engage,

That wealth and comfort brings;

Of all the men who "handle steam"

The one who has no peer,

"par excellence" "creme de la creme"

Is the hoisting engineer.


There are heroes in the ranks of peace,

As well's the ranks of war,

Who battle with life's troubled seas,

And suffer wound and scar,

And many a noble deed is done,

of which we never hear,

And many a brilliant victory won,

By the humble engineer.



The Miner


Who toils in caverns dark and drear,

Where rays of sunshine never cheer,

Where death and danger's ever near.

The Miner


Who toils beset many a foe,

'Midst treach'rous gas that lurks below,

And bursting water's dreadful flow,

The Miner


In weary toil day after day,

Whilst health and vigour soon decay,

Ah! hard his lot and and scant his pay.

The Miner


Far down beneath the verdant fields,

Where mother earth her treasure yields,

With weary arms his pick he wields.

The Miner


His trade supports our commerce free,

And spreads our wealth o'er land and sea,

Ah! much indeed we owe to thee.

Poor Miner


Then let us praise the miner's skill,

And bear him friendship and goodwill,

Remember he is our brother still.

The Miner



Danny McLaren

Success and good health to you, Danny McLaren,

 And honours and wealth to you, Danny McLaren,

By the top of Pike's Peak, and that's mighty tall swearin' ,

Ye ken whaur tae seek,  Danny McLaren,


Ye're a real mining expert, Danny McLaren,

Sae ye're na cheeky upstart, Danny McLaren,

The camp they had killed it as deid as a herrin'

But wi' fresh life ye've filled it, Danny McLaren,


'twist knockers and knockers,  Danny McLaren',

They've knocked the life oot the stocks, Danny McLaren,

Till hunger and ruin in our faces are stairin',

And anorchy brewin' , man,  Danny McLaren,



We hivna heard the last frae ye,  Danny McLaren,

We will yet get a blast frae ye,  Danny McLaren,

Ye're pipes are your ain and dinna be sparin',

Sae strike up again , man, Danny McLaren.



The Man Who Wants a Job

The sun is shining bright today,

The skies are blue and clear,

The mountains that are far away,

Appear to be quite near;

Dame Nature wears a smiling face,

(Tho' somewhat scanty robe)

A grateful and redeeming grace,

To the man who hunts a job.


  He suffers many a heart-ache

When he asks for "Daily Bread"

He gets many an answer-- arctic,

And sometimes a stone instead,

While "clothed in brief authotity"

He meets with many a snob,

Who smiles with sneeniority

 To the man who hunts a job.


When fiercely drives the wintry blast,

And deep the drifting snow,

When wanderings of the day are past,

How cheerful is the glow,

Of evening fire, while merrily steams,

The kettle on the hob,

Then bright the hopes and walking dreams,

To the man who hunts a job.


I envy not the sordid rich,

With all their selfish cares,

Whose lives are set at market pitch--

Valued by stocks and shares,

A kindly heart is a noble heart,

There's joy in every throb,

The greatest master of his heart,

 May sometimes hunt a job.



Johnnie Walters

To my dear friend Joseph Patterson, Florence Colorado.


Dear Joe I somehow fear you'll think,

I'm rather long in writing,

And freely own the task I shrink,

When I have no delight in,

Your slightest wishes I'll attend,

Ne'er count me, 'mong defaulters,

Besides, I'm pleased, my worthy friend,

To hear of Johnnie Walters.


If I had but the painters art,

Divinely I'd portray him,

The beaming eye, when kindly heart,

With tenders passions sway him,

Or were I gifted with the muse,

That neither fails or falters,

My heaven born gifts I'd gladly use,

In praise of Johnnie Walters.


For drinkin' bouts and rabble routs,

I have a great abhorrence,

But for Soda Springs and other things,

I'll own "I'm stuck in Florence",

And when I go to that fair town,

I'll seek the house that shelters,

And o'er a brew, sweet joys renew,

With you and Johnnie Walters.


And mind ye Joe,, and tell him so,

 My complements I send him,

a guid New Year, may health and cheer,

Through all his life attend him,

And who in this see aught amiss,

I wish their necks in halters,

For I'll maintain I'd like again

To meet with Johnnie Walters.


And further yet, prey don't forget,

remember me to Glasson,

And his good wife--upon my life,

I wish my pen would pass on,

O'er friendly names and comely dames,

Lie wayward steed it falters,

So I'll conclude my rhyming mood,

With love to Johnnie Walters.


John McNeil M.E.


My dear friend, John, with right good will,

I've read your kindly letter,

The more you run your writing mill,

It seams to work the better,

From mine reports, concise and terse,

It turns with little friction,

To shape a smoothly lowing verse,

And whiles--a playing fiction.


For truth, no "man of men" am I,

A very common mortal--,

The door of fame, were I to try,

I'd never reach the portal,

Tho' once a wild dream filled my mind,

To be "Engineer Professor" ---

But now for means to raise the wind

I run an air compressor.


But, pardon, John, I'm well content,

I've health and all my senses--

I'm able aye to meet the rent,

And other small expenses;

The little sum that Teenie saves,

(It's bankit wi' "my uncle")

May help us canny to our graves--

Or a cottagr hame in Bonkle.


But, John, your skill is in demand,

Profoundly scientific---

From Yukon to Rio Grande,

Atlantic to Pacific.

You read the rocks like printed page,

With knowledge sound and veracious,

From lower Paleozoic age--

To uppper Cretaceous.


You've travelled many "weary miles"

Since last we saw each other,

From far north west to British Isles,

From sage brush to the heather,

You've trod the busy haunts of men--

And crossed o'er lofty mountains,

You've roved thro' lonely Highland glen,

By clear perennial fountains.


I'm pleased to hear you've rugged health,

And with aye full share o't,

Forbye a modicum of wealth;

And judgement to take care o't,

But words of caution should be few,

From one whose barque has drifted,

Tho' even with a steady crew,

The cargo whiles gets shifted.


Mention us to the good, old man,

With kindliest heart-felt wishes,

Who, tho' beyond the allotted span,

Still bravely meet's life's issues,

A heavy blow was Ronald's loss,

T him and sister Neillie;

Lord, strengthen them to bear their cross,

And lead them thro' the valley.


I'm truly sorry, John, to hear,

You're dear wife is so poorly,

But hope for words of better cheer,

Her illness lingers drearily;

Our compliments to her and you,

Are cordial extended,

And may our friendship, leal and true,

By death alone be ended.


P.S. I know you're pressed with business cares'

"Too numerous to mention",

That whiles ev'n some of "Teddy's Bears"

Demand your your close attention;

Bur write me, John, when e'er you've time,

(Let typist think we're "silly")

Please don't remark the ready rhyme,

That last word is for Willie.



The Udston Mine Disaster 

To the brave rescuers.


What tho' no medal decks your breast

To tell of deeds you've done,

Nor courtly bards in fulsome strain

Your victories have sung;

A nobler band with hearts so brave

Ne'er stood in battle line,

Than ye who risked their lives to save

In Udston's fatal mine.


When up the shaft with lurid glare

The gas flames quickly spread

And fancy pictured with despair

The dying and the dead;

No craven cowards 'monst you then,

Tho' well the risks you knew;

You thought but of your fellow men

And hastened to the rescue.


Then tho' no medals deck your breasts,

No laurel wreaths your brow,

You still have that which serves you best,

Which kings can ne'er bestow;

The willing hands, the dauntles heart,

The sense of duty don e,

And all the praise the world can give,

'Twas surely nobly won.


To a comrade in America

to William Cairns, who left the Law, in the parish of Carluke, for America in 1866. 

Aince mair, dear Wull, wi' joyful' hert,

I've read yir letter thro'

And prude I am tae see thereby,

That you, and those ye lo--

In yir hame across the see,

Are a' sae guid and healthy,

Ma earnest prayer for ye a'

Is that ye shall be wealthy.


It's true, dear Wull, the auld place noo,

I think, ye'd hardly ken,

The launchn' bairnies, o' your day,

Are noo oor wives and men;

Ithers hae gaun tae distant lands,

Like you, to push aheid,

Ithers lie in the auld Kirkyard.

Amongst oor saintly deid.


Wull, often in ma Summer walks,

I dauner tae Lawhull,

Whit mem'ries then o' ither days,

As I gang by the mull;

 Alas it's a' in ruins noo,

The dam's a' broken doon,

The muckle wheel grown over wi' weeds

Nae mair gangs merr'ly roon.


The muller, tae, ye speak o' him--

Ye mind auld Tam Muirheid,

Weel, prood am I tae tell ye', Wull,

That aul Tam isna deid;

He's leevin' yet and workin' tae,

Tho' fast gaun doon the hull,

Let's houp it'll be mony a day,

Ere he is like the mull.


Ye min tae, Wull, aboon the Gill,

The place we used to sit

And lauch at ither's stories, till

Oor sides wur like tae split.

And hoo we made the echos ring

And scared the birds away,

As in mimic strife we tried tae push

Ilk ither doon the brae.


And dae ye mind whit strolls we had

0'er montain, moss and mair,

Whit plans we laid fur efter life,

Whit castles in the air?

Als, thae a' hae vanish't noo

And left the stern and true,

But unco glad I am, dear frein',

that there's nae change in you.


Ye tell me o' yer Prairie hame,

Nae doot it's wondrous fair,

But still I fear wi' its wealth,

Te'll miss the heather sair;

For tho' at hame he's sairly tired,

Beset wi' mony ills,

A Scotsman never can forget

His native heather Hills.


Then aince again ma cronnie dear,

I wish ye ever weel,

Mat strength be granted tae ye aye,

The hull o' life tae speil,

And if tae Scotland ye return

Tae view her beauties fair,

A herty welcome ye will get,

frae your auld cronnie there.



I Wonder Wha' I'll Meet There


'Tis a maiter I've often pondered o'er,

And wondered mony a time,

When aboot to sail tae fur a foreign shore,

Ot tae veesit a distant clime;

In leavin' the freens and scenes o' land syne,

But the query that oftenest comes tae ma min'

Is--! winner wha' I'll meet there?


Not long to go, down to old Mexico,

On a mission I was sent;

'Tis a land of romance, of hazard and chance,

Of mosquitoes, and strife, and torment;

In political dreams, o'er tropical scenes,

I really had nae time to spare,

But, noo, when I think o' ma kind-herted freens,

I'm weel pleased wi wha I met there.


There I met wi George Spence, a miner o' sense,

Wha wis manager aince at Newmains,

His guid wife and he made me ma e 'en kind o' dim;

When they crack't o' lang syne and byganes,

They were herty and hale, o' guid comp'ny the wale,

And I enjoyed a treat that wis rare,

As we spak' o' Coltness, I am free to confess

I wished that I wis bodily there.


Whin I wis a laddie I ne'er tried tae shine,

  If invited tae pairty, or ba---

The lassies--a' times an attraction o'  mine,

And whiles ane mair sae than them a';

A rose-tinted cheek, a lauchin' blue e'e,

Or a ringlet o' bricht gowden hair,

Wid haunt me for days, pit ma mind in a haze,

Wi wonderin' wha I'd meet thair.


 When balmy spring melted the cauld winter snaws,

And the hedges were budding and green;

And the dark swayin' pines wur the roosts o' the craws,

When thae flew frae the ploughed fields at e'en;

Ina lanesome bit walk doon by the burnside,

Or stroll through the streets wi thair glare,

Wi pretended surprise my job whiles I hide,

When I meet some kent folk there.


When death, that grim king, wha shall ca' fur me sune,

And gie me short time tae prepare,

Grant, Lord that I may gans tae the mansions abune,

I winder wha I'll meet up thair?

Fur ae thing I ken if I trust in the bluid

And leeve my life here on the square,

Trying each day tae dae somebody guid,

I'll meet my dear Saviour up thair.



The Shotts


A.D. 1802-1902 Suggested by reading in the Hamilton Advertiser of the centenary of the Shotts Iron Works, and to J. W. Ormiston, Esq. for many years the general manager there , the following lines are m ost respectfully dedicated by the author.


It's a wild hilly countrie, sae bleak and sae bare,

Except fur the heather that grows every where,

And a few bonnie wild flooers baith hardie and rare,

 That bloom in the lown boildly spots;

And yet it is richer that mair favoured climes,

Wi it's tales o' romance, and it's auld warld rhymes,

And wha it's hisna in modern times

Heard tell o' the place ca'd the Shotts.


In the year ninty-ane, whin on a trip hame

Among ma dear freens and auld places again,

At Goodockhill ferm, my freen Mistress Graham,

Gied me a book o' "Historic Notes" 

By ane Doctior Grossart 'tis written fu well,

And happy I'd been tae meet wi the chiel,

But I learned he had passed to tae land o' the leal

Ere I read his book on the Shotts.


Here is primitive times, I hae heard it declared,

Whin oor ancient forefathers each had a yaird,

And muckle hard labour upon it the waird,

Tae cultivate baarly and oats;

But whin at yuletide it was still "green as a leek"

(Tho' then guid be thankit no polluted wi reek)

Thae thocht it high time somewhaur else tho' should seek

For a fortune in ferms, than tae Shotts.


But if tae the surface dame nature's unkind,

'Twas shin found that 'neath it wis rich treasure-lined,

And sae like douce men thae turned in their mined

For the wealth in her deep-hidden grotts;

The staple industry at length it became,

Anh tho' it was Omoa, saw the first furnace flame,

'Twas ne'er quite successful--perhaps 'twas the name--

For ye ken that is foreign tae Shotts.     


Near the source o' the Calder ae fine efternune,

Some geologist bodies (David Mosket was ane)

Wur takin' a walk whin he linger 't akin,

Tae luk 'roon aboot him and slyly "tak notes"

And the longer he lookit' on't , he like't it the mair,

For he saw baith coal and airnstane wur thair,

"Sic a plaice fur an airnwark" quoth he, I declare,

I hae ne'er hae seen the like o' the Shotts.


It was that the airnwarks in eichteen and twa

First reflected thair glare in the sky's azure blue,

After since tae be cheenged tae a dark murky hue,

That the poets and penters ca' blots,

The skilled fellow craftsmen assembled fu soon,

And there by the Calder sprang up the bit toon,

And tho' a hale hunder years hae past 'roon,

It's a flourishin' place yet the Shotts.


Whin I wis a bairnie in Bonkle I leeved,

And there my first lessons o' life I received,

And tho' you may doot it, I've always believed

In the story 'bout that wife o' Lots;

For the hame she was leavin', it seemed she did yearn,

Day and nicht she did naethin' but yamer and girn,

Lukin' back she wis turned intae saut--'twad bin airn

Had she happened tae leeve in the Shotts.


i hae leeved in this wurl' fur full fifty year,

'Midst it's joys, its sorrows, its smiles and its tears,

And the ae magic word, ever sweet tae ma ears,

Is hame, wi its mem'ries and thochts,

It tiches ma hert like some saft melodie

That I've heard lang syne by a fond mother's knee,

And again I'm a bairn 'neath the humble rif-tree

By the roadside no faur frae Shotts.



To My Dog

        The more I see of men the better I love dogs Madame De-Stael


He may have come of a mongrel breed,

I know not his pedigree,

But that is  a matter unworthy of heed,

He is all that a dog should be,

On his faithfulness I can always depend,

I have tried him and found him true,

And that much cannot be said about my friend,

I doubt, about me and you.


He welcomes me home when i come from my work,

With the most exuberant joy,

And if his speech was as plain as his bark,

I know he would say "Old boy"

I'm delighted to see, you're hungry and tired,

But we'll have supper ready soon;

I'm at your service, and cannot be tired,

Not even to 'bay at the moon'     


He sits on the stair with a pensive air,

And looks on the world around,

And growls a challenge to any who dare,

Disturb his studies profound;

With a faraway look in his honest brown eyes,

That you never will see in a rogue,

On frail human nature, I whiles moralize,

Then the better I love my dog.


When the evening is fine, I saunter abroad,

He soberly walks by my side,

And he never betrays by a look or a nod,

Any secrets in him I confide,

"My views" he will patiently hear to the end,

And with them entirely agree,

Such courtesy cannot be said, my friend,

I doubt about me and you.


His coat is curly and glossy and black,

He knows every word that I say,

Ev'n if he could speak, he would never talk back,

I'm sure, in a short saucy way;

He is quite content to stay with me

And live on the humblest fare,

But the way he fawns, you can plainly see

That he thinks he's a millionaire.


His name is Rudolph--it sounds rather Dutch--

But it's little he cares for that,

I am told by those who know "about such"

That it's very aris-to-crat;

But bless his soul-- I believe he has one--

And a very big one, too

And after all is said and done,

Makes him equal to me and you.



To the Tower o' Hall-Bar

This interesting old tower belongs to the Lockharts of Lee, and is located near the Village of Braidwood in the Parish of Carluke Lanarkshire, Scotland. See Murray's History of the upper ward of Lanarkshire.


'Tis  an auld world relic so grim and so gray,

Half-hid 'manst the foliage of fruit-laiden trees,

And it tells us a tale of a bygone day,

When the din of the battle swelled loud on the breeze,

Like a sentinel it stands o'er the fair pleasant lands,

It seems to keep guard, looking out from afar,

As if ready to challenge all hostile,

That dare to approach the auld Tower o' Hall-Bar.


Oft times have I gazed on it's time-worn walls,

And musingly thought of men who lived there,

'Till fancy re-peopled those long silent halls,

With brave belted Knights and bright ladies fair;

Did the troubadour sing to his lady-love,

'Neath the lattice, and touch the light guitar,

Or the Crusader wear on his helmet a glove,

When he rode away from the Tower o' Hall Bar?


Perchance from yon turret, with tear bedimmed eye,

She watched her brave lover recede from her view,

Away to the South where the bold mountains rise,

He halted to wave her a long dad adieu;

Ah, the long years of waiting, so sadly and wearily,

How often the landscape she scanned from afar,

If haply she might see the Knight she loved dearly,

Returning to her and the Tower o' Hall Bar.


Close by the glen where the bracken grows green,

And the wee burnie sings on it's way to the Clyde,

Full oft in the moonlight, 'tis said may be seen

The ghosts of a lady and knight by her side,

And this is the legend the villagers tell--

That the brave cavalier ne'er returned from the war,

But nightly his spirit keeps tryst in the dell,

With his dear lady-love of the Tower o' Hall Bar.



Mary's Sunday Gown  



It is not made of costly silk,

Nor ivory satin rare;

It is no trimmed with old point lace,

That ladies like to wear,

I'm sure that you would call it plain,

And yet no belle in town

Looks half so sweet as Mary,

When she wears her Sunday gown.


Perhaps you've met with Mary,

She works upon the farm,

A winsome little fairy

Of artless grace and charm.

Her little hands with toil are hard,

Her cheeks are ruddy brown,

But, she's "Princess of the Boulevard"

dressed in her Sunday gown.


'Tis sometimes scant in longitude,

And thus her ankles neat

Attract the eyes of "mashers" rude

Who throng the city street;

But like some sweet wild violet,

Demurely looking down,

She's peerless in her toilet

 When she wears her Sunday gown.


She goes to church, the little elf,

A worshipper sincere,

She does not go to show herself,

Nor mark what others wear;

But Tommy Green, he calls her "Queen"

(She calls him "lout and clown")

Because there is "too much a screen"

'Bout Mary's Sunday gown.


Amongst the list of "fashion's set"

Her name you will not find;

In what is known as "etiquette"

She is perhaps behind,

She's just a simple country lass,

Unversed in ways "high-flown"

But the flowers look up to see her pass

Dressed in her Sunday gown.



When Pa Brought Home his Check


My pa was idle most a year,

He could find naught to do,

And with his kids and mammy dear

I tell you things looked blue,

But now he got a trammer's job,

'Tis steady I expect--

My! we were proud (Tho' ma did sob)

When pa brought home his check.


I tell you it was pretty tough,

We scarce had 'nought to eat,

The weather too, was cold and rough,

The shoes were worn off oor feet;

We rustled coal and kindlin' wood,

There'd been a railroad wreck,

Since pa brought home his check.


Then every night soon after dark,

Ma sent us off tae bed,

And little Tom and Rob and Mark,

They used to cry for bread.

Then ma, she used to tell us how,

The lord would not negleck,

To feed his flock--less danger now,

Since pa brought home his check.


When little sister Lizzie died,

The youngest and the pet,

We buried her in Sunnyside,

And had to go in debt,;

We couldn't 'ford to buy a wreath

Her little grave to deck,

But it won't be forgotten now

Since pa brought home his check.


I'm growing bigger every day,

I'll soon be leavin' school,

And when I start to work for pay,

You bet I'll be no fool,

The ma will laugh and cry for joy,

And hug me 'round the neck,

And call me her darlin' boy,

When I bring home my check.



The Land of the West

After the style of immigration touters.

Now rouse ye, my brothers across the sea,

And leave the old land behind,

Dear tho' its memories be to thee,

And by many fond ties entwined;

Ah, the tear-drops fall as I think of you all

With hunger and want opprest,

Whilst there's plenty here, of the best of cheer

In this beautiful land of the west.


Oh, come find a home where the buffaloes roam,

The deer and the antelope,

And the sun shines bright from morning till night,

On the rocky mountain's slope.

Oh, how grandly they rise--you'd look with surprise

On Pike's Peak with it's snow-laden crest;

Oh, we've all kinds of weather all blended together

In this picturesque land of the west.



If your tastes are for farming, what life is more charming

Than to live by tilling the soil?

The prairie is wide on every side,

It stretches for many a mile.

Get some barbed wire, that is all that you require,

And fence in what e'er you think best;

Whatever you sow it is sure to grow

In the fertile land of the west.


The cactus, the soapwood and the sageweed grow,

The cedar and mountain pine,

And flowers whose names I really don't know

Clear above the timber line;

the grass--well, it's short, and yet I do think

It is surely not hard to digest,

For the cattle are meek, contented and sleek,

In this beautiful land of the west.


Should you court the shy dame--the prospecting game,

You may strike it rich any day;

If silver and gold you don't find in your "claim"

You are certain of gravel and clay;

It is hard to advise, no matter how wise,

As to where, when, or how to invest,

With all honour due, this nowhere more true,

  Than In this lovely land of the west.


We have churches galore, and excellent schools,

And amusements of ever kind;

We have all kinds of men--sages and fools,

Where can you a better place find?

With our mixed population, a unique combination,

We're happy, it must be confest,

For life is so cheery,

Than In this lovely land of the west.


Then why longer toil, like African slaves,

In the workshop, the mill and the mine,

And perchance in the end to fill paupers graves,

Leaving your loved ones in poverty to pine,

Ah, the tear-drops fall when I think of you all,

With tyrannical masters opprest,

Whilst there's plenty of everything good out here,

In the glorious land of the west.


Here's to You Jim


Here's to you, Jim, you've proved a friend,

Our grateful thanks we owe you,

We're pleased to see this trouble end

And better now we know you.

A gentleman--you've met us fair,

In friendly consultation,

You merit and receive you're share,

Of warmest approbation.


Here's to you, Jim, if in the past,

There's been misunderstanding,

The stormiest voyage ends at last,

with greater joyous landing,

When murky clouds obscure the sky

The lightning flash can clear it,

When to the rocks some ship is nigh,

Some skillful hand must steer it.


Here's to you, Jim, you did not need

The aid of thugs with rifles,

Tho' well you knew we never heed

Such unimportant trifles.

But you're the "hero of the hour"

(I read that in the papers),

Oh' if you had the gov'nor's power,

You'd soon stop all these capers.


Here's to you, Jim, in sparkling wine,

Or if you wish it--water,

A humble , homely muse is mine

That never aims to flatter;

But still we wish some we could name

From you would take a lesson,

The "Overall Brigade" looks tame

With aye a Sunday dress on.


Here's to you, Jim, the best of luck,

We hope we will still attend you,

Be sure we will not see you stuck

For aught we can befriend you.

You've stood by us, we'll stand by you,

No more a fence divides us

So here's to Burns, mine, mill and crew

Until the green sod hides us.



Jimmy Shut Her Down

 James Burns, president and General Manager of the Portland Gold Mining Company, at Victor Colorado, in 1901 had a misunderstanding with the Miners Union, and to show his authority, shut down the mine for two weeks. By his subsequent conduct Mr. Burns regained the respect of the miners.


Oh, what a dire calamity,

Has fallen on us now,

The Portland mine, it has shut down,

I can't tell why or how.

There is silence on the mountain,

And there's sorrow in the town,

And gold is scarce in Europe

Since Jimmie shut her down.


The tangled Chinese question

Of late has caused a din,

The basis that it rests on

Is displeasing to Ah Sin;

The Russian bear is growling,

And der Kaiser wears a frown,

And Johnny Bull is growling

Since Jimmie shut her down.


The international yacht race

they say has been postponed,

And Morgan' to the British has

Three hundred millions loaned;

His royal majesty, Eddie,

They say has pawned his crown,

And wants to swap with Teddy,

Since Jimmie shut her down.


There's a flurry in the market,

And stocks are selling low,

The future it looks dark yet,

But 'twill not always so;

For the dark cloud has a lining

(Tho' unfit for lady's gown)

And the sun has kept on shining

Since Jimmie shut her down.



Farewell my Mountain Home


Farewell to thee, my mountain home,

Where twenty years of life I've spent,

Farewell, and may the time soon come

When gentle peace and sweet content

Shall bless this pleasant land again,

 As it was blessed in happiest times,

'Ere blighted by a tyrant's reign,

Curs'd with his cruelties and crimes


Farewell to thee, my mountain home,

Ye winds that away the sombre pines,

Scent-laden with the sweet aroma,

Of guelder-rose and columbines,

Preserve the bloom on beauty's cheek,

And cool the feverish brow of care;

relieve the suffering and the weak,

But poison every traitor there.


Farewell to thee, my mountain home,

In manhood's prime I came to thee;

By honest toil my bread I've won,

And bent to none a servile knee.

Always within my "cable tow"

By "compass points" I've tried to steer;

Too old to learn a new "chart" now,

When to the port I'm drawing near.


Farewell to thee, my mountain home,

Perhaps for years--perhaps for aye--

Farewell, my friends--I still have some,

I hope to meet again some day;

Elsewhere another home I'll seek

Where honest men may still be free

Not cringing slaves, afraid to speak,

My mountain home, farewell to thee.



Mr. John McNeil M.E.


to a rhyming brother, Mr. John McNeil M.E. Inspector of mines, Denver Colorado.


I sit doon tae write ye man, Johnnie McNeil,

And tae answer invite ye man, Johnnie McNeil,

Tho' humble my muse and but limin' atweel,

She's aye cantie and cross man, Johnnie McNeil,


There's a land over the sea man, Johnnie McNeil,

Whaur the brave and the free man, Johnnie McNeil,

Aft in war's crimson tide, have conquered and died,

But ne'er turned aside man, Johnnie McNeil,


'Tis the land o' sweet song man,  Johnnie McNeil,

'Tis the land we proudly own man, Johnnie McNeil,

Her grand lofty bens, and her deep bosky glens,

Ilka true Scotsman kens man, Johnnie McNeil,


Then here's tae auld Scotland man, Johnnie McNeil,

And her heroes---a noble band--Johnnie McNeil,

Whaur the dark heather waves o'er the martyrs' lone graves,

There's nae coowards or slaves, man, Johnnie McNeil,


The End