Saturday, December 24, 2016


Lines on the Jordan

Anonymous, "Lines on the Jordan," in A Garioch Miscellany. Selected and Edited by Robert Fulton (Edinburgh: MacDonald Publishers, 1986), p. 88 (line numbers added):
In poes o' gold great kings mak' watter,
An' poorer folk in wooden platter.
Mony as 'twere a shameful matter
    Dae't withoot grace,
Like soakit souters aff a batter,        5
    Jist ony place.

Let me, in neuks where laden bees
Lilt love sangs tae the simmer breeze,
A blether fou, a mind at ease,
    Free o' a' chairge,        10
Shak' loose ma member as I please
    An' pish at lairge.

E'en sae did Adam, ere he fell
Tae secret piddlin'; Eve hersel'
Stroned guileless in a flowery dell        15
    Beside her jo—
Till Sawtan wi' a leer frae hell
    Brocht them a poe.

Wad ye seek Paradise,
Ye piddlin' mortals? Gin ye're wise        20
Shun platters, poes, an' a' sic vice:
    Seek Nature fair,
An' while yer tuneful prayers uprise
    Pish blissfu' there.
My notes (with help from Eric Thomson):
jordan (title): chamber pot
1 poes, 18 poe, 21 poe: Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. po, n.4: "colloq. (orig. and chiefly Brit.). A chamber pot." My father, born in America but educated in the 1920s-1930s at a school in China run by Christian Brothers from the British Isles, used this word almost exclusively to refer to this thing (occasionally with reduplication—po-po).
5 soakit souters aff a batter: drunken cobblers at the tail end of (or, as a result of) a spree
9 blether: bladder
15 stroned: urinated
17 Sawtan: Satan


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