Lucky Spence’s Last Advice

The text of the poem used here is from Poems … by Allan Ramsay, ed. H. Harvey Wood (1946), a selection from “the Edition printed by Thomas Ruddiman for the Author, Edinburgh, 1721–1728.”

Glosses within quotation marks are Ramsay’s own in his notes to that edition, in which, following common practice, nouns were indicated by their first letters being capitalized.

Three times …
Carline> old woman
grain’d> groaned
rifted > belched
Cod> pillow
faun > found
shifted> budged, put off

My loving lasses
greeting> crying
Draunts> drones
Droning> lamenting
deave> “stun the ear with noise.”

O black ey’d Bess…
mim Mou’d > prissy-mouthed, expressing “an affected modesty”.
Sunkots> provisions
fail> deteriorate
Feg> fig

When’er ye meet …
fou > drunk
gar him trow> make him believe
nice> dainty, fastidious
drive at the Jango > push the liquor at him? make him come?
spew> throw up
syne> since

Whan he’s asleep…
gin> if
light his Match> “I could give a large
Annotation on this sentence, but do not incline to explain every thing, lest I disoblige future Criticks by leaving nothing for them to do.”
Spunk-box > spark-box, tinder box? (literally)
take the Pox> catch the pox? get inside?

Cleek a’…
cleek> “catch as with a hook.”
rype> search
Poutch> pocket
truff> steal
is nae deaf Nits>is not empty nuts, is substantial ?

To get a Mends …
get a Mends> to be revenged on
whinging> whining.whimpering
metal> mettle, courage
Repenting-Stools> penance stool in church
sweer> reluctant
gar the Kirk-Boxie hale the Dools> “Delate [inform on] them to the Kirk-Treasurer. Hale the Doolsl is a phrase used at Foot-ball, where the Party that gains the Goal or Dool is said to hail it or win the Game, and so draws the Stake.”
But dawt:…
dawt> “caress with tenderness.”
scoup >”leap or move hastily from one place to another,”
the fou> their fill?
cutty Stoup > “Little Pot, i.e. a Gill of Brandy.”
gee them up>reject them
rive ye’r Brats and kick your Doup > rip your rags [clothes] and kick your arse
Deel> devil

There’s ae sair Cross…
sair>sore, grievous
aft> often
Hangy’s taz> the hangman’s strap; “If they perform not the Task assign’d them, they are whipt by the Hangman.”
riggings saft > soft back
But what’ll ye say> “The emphasis of this phrase, like many others, cannot be understood but by a native.”

Nane gathers Gear…
Gear> goods, wealth
tirle > strip
gar ye sike> make you weep
thole > endure
nibour-like > neighbourly>

Forby, my looves…
forby> besides
Brigs> bridges
Dads> blows

Wi’ well-crish’d Loofs…
canty > “cheerful and merry.”
well-crish’d Loofs> well greased palms
faun> fondle, caress
Taunty-Raunty> name of a tune? fornication?
Coofers > stallions

Then up I took…
Siller Ca’> silver whistle? silver calf? sucker?
Benn> The Dictionary of the Scots Language offers inside, indoors, within, further into an apartment, in or to the best room
And whistled ben> “But and Ben signify different Ends or Rooms of a House; to gang But and His to go from one end of the house to the other.”
whiles ane whiles twa > sometimes one, sometimes two
roun’d> whispered
halesome> wholesome
well of Spaw > medicinal well or spring ?
unka > very
blate> bashful.

Sae whan e’er…
Pin > mood ?
slade> slid, slipped
muckle> much
Mense> discretion, “good breeding.”
left Conscience Judge> “It was her usual Way of vindicating herself to tell ye, When company came to her House, could she be so uncivil as to turn them out? If they did any bad thng, said she, between GOD and their Conscience be’t.”

My Bennison…
Bennison> blessing
Wale> choice
Snout> nose
Foul fa’> curses on?
smoors > smothers
that Fire smoors> “Such quacks as bind up the external Symptoms of the Pox. and drive it inward to the strong Holds, whence it is not so easily expelled.”
and puts nae out> and doesn’t put out

My Malison…
Malison> curse
inna> won’t
want> lack

Lass, gi’e us…
Mutchken> pint
jo> dear, darling,
registrate> rcckon up, present
want Sense> am senseless, unconscious

The online Dictionary of the Scots Language
Poems. Epistles, Fables, Satires, Elegies and Lyrics by Allan Ramsay [selected]; from the Edition printed by Thomas Ruddiman for the Author 1721–1728, ed. H. Harvey Wood (1946)
The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse, ed. John MacQueen and Tom Scott (1966)
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, ed. Tom Scott (1970)
Poems by Allan Ramsay and Robert Fergusson, ed. Alexander Manson Kinghorn and Alexander Law (1974)
Making Love to Marilyn Monroe; the Faber Book of Blue Verse, ed. John Whitworth (1990)
The New Penguin Book of English Verse, ed. Paul Keegan (2000)

Glosses within quotation marks are by Ramsay himself and come from the 1946 volume.

A number of words are unglossed by any of the editors. If one were to go by those of the Ramsay/Fergusson volume, there isn’t a single indecorous word or euphemism anywhere in the poem. I see that the volume is published by the Scottish Academic Press, so mebbe the sensitivities of good kirk-goers were taken into consideration. ☺

I first came upon the poem in John Whitworth’s splendid anthology.


Ane little Interlude of the Droichs

This glorious braggadocio introduction of himself by a dwarf is in volume I of Allan Ramsay’s The Ever Green; a Collection of Scots Poems Written by the Ingenious before 1600, 2 vols (1875 [1725–27]).

The definitions come from Ramsay’s 22-page glossary at the end of volume two (R), from which an irritating number of words are absent, and from the online Dictionary of the Scots Language (D).

As usual nouns are capitalized, proper names italicized.

Droich> dwarf

Hirry, hary…
Hobbilschow > “A hubbub, tumult, confused uproar. Also as a exclamation.” (D). The first line is evidently a hurry, hurry, hear all about it come-on.
wate I nevir>I never know ?
Soudoun> Sultan?
Gyane> giant
Bairs>boars (D)
Bugles> wild oxen (D)

Quaha is then…
bowsteous> boisterous (D)
Bellomy> rough fellow (D); tough guy
Strynd> lineage (D)
Ynd> the Orient

My deir Grandsyre…
Grandsyre> great-grandfather (D)
Fynmackoull> Finn McCool, legendary Irish giant
dang> beat (D)
Skoul> scowl (D)
Gudsyre> grandfather (D)
Gog Magog> see Wikipedia
shog> shake (D)
Ell> unit of measurement (D)

Sic was he
At Fouth> abundantly

His Wyfe…
Clift> “The parting of the thighs.” (D)
Lift> sky (R)
reardit> roared; farted (D)
rift> belch (R)
crabbit>annoyed, boisterous (D)
Clips> eclipse (D)

For Cauld…
Fevir Cartane> quartan fever (malaria)
gartane> garter
pisht>pissed (R)
Tyd> ?

Ane Thing…
blew behind> farted?
Spainyie> Spanish
Sark Lap>skirt of her shift? (D)
Theyis> thighs

The hingan Braes…
Braes> hills
adir> either
powtert> prodded, poked (D)
lair>learn (D)
stryde> “stand or lie with the legs wide apart” (D)
Lasses micht lair… > Lassies who wanted to go to Love’s lair might learn from her how to keep her legs wide apart.
market> marked
quhired> drove (D)
Quhails> whales (R)
had croppin >which had been [?]
Geig>vulva (D); “A Kind of an old fashioned net used now for catching of Sprats.” (R)
Girth> safety
welterand> wallowing (D)
wair> seaweed (R)

My fader…>
mekle> big
schorne> cast ashore (D)
for littleness scho was forlorn>because she was too small she was destroyed ? (D)
siccan a Kemp to beir>by bearing such a champion (D)?

Ane thousand…
Beir> bear

The Sophie
Sophie> Sophia
Sowdoun> Sultan
tyte> soon

Swadrick> Sweden
flae> flay
Thropples> windpipes
mak quyte> take revenge

I haif bene…
crynit in for Eild> shrunken down from age
banist> banished
under the Lynd>under the trees (D), into the wilderness

My Name is…
Welth> plenty, abundance
kyth> show
Derth> dearth
gar> make
Carphour> carp hour?
far frae> I never shall endure living away from the sound of the Carphour bell.

Now sen…
Now sen …> Now since I am come from such a quantity…
siclyk Breid>similar breadth
Bour …> In all this room I know there isn’t a bride who would dare submit to me for an hour, or, if offspring are desired, all night.

haly Rude>holy Cross
skink> fill


A Brash of Wooing

The text here comes from volume 2 of Allan Ramsay’s The Ever Green; a Collection of Scots Poems Wrote by the Ingenious before 1600, with glossary, 2 vols. (Edinburgh 1875 [1724]) , where it seems to be attributed to [John] Clerk, before 1500.

The poem is also, and more reliably, in The Poems of William Dunbar, ed. James Kinsley (Oxford U.P, 1979, which contains a 125-page glossary and detailed notes.

In the present glossary, (R) indicates Ramsay’s glossary, (D) the online Dictionary of the Scots Language, and (d) the notes and glossary in the edition of Dunbar.

Brash> effort, attack, assault (D); brush (R)

In secret Place
hinder> other
Bairn> youth (R); fellow, lover (D.
Hinny > honey
Howp> hope (R)
Danger> disdain (d)

His bony Baird…
bony> bonnie
Kail> cabbage soup, broth (d)
bedropit>bespattered (d)
goukit> silly (D)
clapit fast> fondled vigorously (r); groped
Glaicks> sexual desire (W)
Chukit> chucked under the chin
As with…>As if he were overcome with playfulness
Yet by his Feirs>Yet to judge from his bearing (d)

Quod he, my Heart…
wouit> wooed
Wame>belly (d)
grane> groan
trymil> tremble

Tehei, quod scho…
Gawf> laugh (R)
Cowsyne> calfskin, used for getting cow to give milk (d)
Cawf>calf (R)
spaind>weaned (R)
Howphyn> clumsy, stupid fellow (d)
Souk> sucking, teat
Bouk> body (d)
swanky> smart (d)
Leid> person (R)
Owk> week (R)
Fow leis…> “Very dear to me is that ugly face.” (d)

Quod he, my Claver…
Claver>clover (D)
Curiedody>ribwort platain (d)
Hinnysopps> bread dipped in honey (d); honeybun.
Possody> “a sort of Highland broth” (R)
Quilly-lillie> penis (d)
ill-willy> ill-willed (d)
Hals> neck
Quhalis>walrus (d)

Quod scho,my Clip…
Clip> big softy (d)
Gam> face
Belly hudrom> big-bellied glutton” (d)
Hurle Bawsy> “obscure” (d)
Honneyguks> sweet idiot (d)
Siller tawsy>little silver cup (R) ?
gawsy> fatty (R)

Quod he, my Kid…
Capercalyeane> wood grouse (d)
Ruch> hairy, shaggy (d)
Brilyeane> “obscure; probably obscene” (d)
Wally gowdy> great jewel (d)
Tirly mirly> “probably pudendum” (d)
Sowdy mowdy>buns?
Stang> cock (d)
cork in> stiffen (d)
Towdy> “probably pudendum” (d)

Quod scho, then tak me…
Golk of Maryland>cuckoo of fairy-land (d)
Maikless> matchless
Mynyeon> darling, lover
Sucker> babe at the breast (d), nursling
Unyeon> onion
Strummil> “contemptuous epithet” (d)
Stirk> young bullock (d)
applyd> inclined (d)

He gaif til hir…
Aple-ruby>type of apple
Cowhubby> cowherd (R), booby, fool (d)
Dirrydan> copulation (d)