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
rifted > belched
faun > found
shifted> budged, put off
My loving lasses
deave> “stun the ear with noise.”
O black ey’d Bess…
mim Mou’d > prissy-mouthed, expressing “an affected modesty”.
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
Whan he’s asleep…
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> “catch as with a hook.”
is nae deaf Nits>is not empty nuts, is substantial ?
To get a Mends …
get a Mends> to be revenged on
metal> mettle, courage
Repenting-Stools> penance stool in church
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.”
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
There’s ae sair Cross…
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…
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
well of Spaw > medicinal well or spring ?
unka > very
Sae whan e’er…
Pin > mood ?
slade> slid, slipped
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.”
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
Lass, gi’e us…
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.
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 ?
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
Clift> “The parting of the thighs.” (D)
Lift> sky (R)
reardit> roared; farted (D)
rift> belch (R)
crabbit>annoyed, boisterous (D)
Clips> eclipse (D)
Fevir Cartane> quartan fever (malaria)
blew behind> farted?
Sark Lap>skirt of her shift? (D)
The hingan Braes…
powtert> prodded, poked (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.
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)
welterand> wallowing (D)
wair> seaweed (R)
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)?
The Sophie …
mak quyte> take revenge
I haif bene…
crynit in for Eild> shrunken down from age
under the Lynd>under the trees (D), into the wilderness
My Name is…
Welth> plenty, abundance
Carphour> carp hour?
far frae> I never shall endure living away from the sound of the Carphour bell.
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
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 ) , 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
Bairn> youth (R); fellow, lover (D.
Hinny > honey
Howp> hope (R)
Danger> disdain (d)
His bony Baird…
Kail> cabbage soup, broth (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…
Tehei, quod scho…
Gawf> laugh (R)
Cowsyne> calfskin, used for getting cow to give milk (d)
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…
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)
Quod scho,my Clip…
Clip> big softy (d)
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)
Stang> cock (d)
cork in> stiffen (d)
Towdy> “probably pudendum” (d)
Quod scho, then tak me…
Golk of Maryland>cuckoo of fairy-land (d)
Mynyeon> darling, lover
Sucker> babe at the breast (d), nursling
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)