The Sair Stroke

O waly, waly, my bonnie crew
Gin ye maun bumpit be!
And waly, waly, my Stroke sae true,
Ye leuk unpleasauntlie!
O hae ye suppit the sad sherrie
That gars the wind gae soon;
Or hae ye pud o' the braw bird's-e'e,
Ye be sae stricken doun?
I hae na suppit the sad sherrie,
For a' my heart is sair;
For Keiller's still i' the bonnie Dundee,
And his is halesome fare.
But I hae slain our gude Captain,
That c'uld baith shout and sweer,
And ither twain put out o' pain—
The Scribe and Treasurere.
There's ane lies stark by the meadow-gate,
And twa by the black, black brig:
And waefu', waefu', was the fate
That gar'd them there to lig!
They waked us soon, they warked us lang,
Wearily did we greet;
'Should he abrade' was a' our sang,
Our food but butcher's-meat.
We hadna train'd but ower a week,
A week, but barely twa,
Three sonsie steeds they fared to seek,
That mightna gar them fa'.
They 've ta'en us ower the lang, lang coorse,
And wow! but it was wark;
And ilka coach he sware him hoorse,
That ilka man s'uld hark.
Then upped and spake our pawkie bow,
—O, but he wasna late!
'Now who shall gar them cry Enow,
That gang this fearsome gate?'
Syne he has ta'en his boatin' cap,
And cast the keevils in,
And wha but me to gae (God hap!)
And stay our Captain's din?
I stayed his din by the meadow-gate,
His feres' by Nuneham brig,
And waefu', waefu', was the fate
That gar'd them there to lig!
O, waly to the welkin's top!
And waly round the braes!
And waly all about the shop
(To use a Southron phrase).
Rede ither crews be debonair,
But we 've a weird to dree,
I wis we maun be bumpit sair
By boaties two and three:
Sing stretchers of yew for our Toggere,
Sith we maun bumpit be!

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"The Sair Stroke" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 12 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/35023/the-sair-stroke>.

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