Ulster-Scots Update

The latest edition of “The Ulster-Scot” is out – so I thought I would bring a small update to Slugger. The Ulster-Scots Agency is now funding organisations in 10 counties (Northern Ireland plus Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal and Leitrim ).Some interesting tid-bits:

The inaugral meeting of the first all-party Ulster-Scots parliamentary group at Westminster will take place on Jan 16th.

John Anderson`s stage show “On Eagle`s Wing” will be broadcast by BBC Northern Ireland in January and in the States in August by PBS. there should also be a DVD realease in the spring.

Also of note is the increasing strength of the linguistic aspects of the Agency. The on-going work of the Ulster-Scots Language Society and the Ulster-Scots Academy (Ullans Academie) in developing an electronic Text Base of past writings and literature in Ulster-Scots are highlighted in this issue.

For instance the issue carries a 1820`s poem entitled “Address To Bachelors” by Sarah Leech, the “Bard of Lettergull”, from County Donegal, one of the few female Rhyming Weavers era poets.

Address To Bachelors (shortened version)

Ye Bachelors baith ane and a`,
Oppressed wi` grief on you I ca`,
While down my cheeks the tear-drops fa`,
Thro` pure compassion,
To see ilk flirt and country daw,
Ape at fashion.

Ilk lass maun ha`e a snaw-white gown,
Wi` span-lang flounces waving roun`,
Some weel-plait straw upon her crown,
And ribbons gay,
While hose weel starched, and right-left shoon
Her feet display.

Next she maun ha`e a yard o` veiling,
Affected modesty concealing,
Tho` want o` this is a` the failing,
Laid to the lassie –
How can I help at times bewailing,
Poor fools sae saucy.

How to her mither Kate will bawl,
To purchase her a scarlet shawl,
In hopes she may some gull enthral,
Who gapes for riches,
But six months wed, she proves a brawl,
And wears the breeches.

Her tongue at rest can never be,
And when she pries the barley bree,
Wi` nibours she will disagree,
But in the end,
Poor Willie gets a blackened e`e,
You may depend.

I therefore a` young fellows caution
To guard against sic dames o` fashion,
Or you may aiblins get a thrashin`
Frae tongue as glib,
When wed, you rouse the angry passion
Of captious rib.

And this by Samuel Thompson, the “Bard of Carngranny”, Templepatrick.

The Hawk and Weazle

To town ae morn, as Lizie hie`d
To sell pickle yarn,
A wanton Whiteret she espy`d,
A sportin at a cairn.
Alang the heath beskirted green,
It play`d wi` monie a wheel:
She stood and dighted baith her een,
An` thought it was the Diel
She saw at freaks!

But soon her doubts were a` dismis`t
A gled cam whist`ling by,
And seiz`d the weazle:- ere it wist,
`Twas halfway at the sky,
But soon the goss grew feeble like,
And syne began to fa`
Till down he daded on a dyke,
His thrapple ate in twa;
Let him snuff that.

The weazle aff in triumph walks,
An` left the bloodless glutton,
A warning sad to future hawks
That grien for weazle`s mutton
So reprobates, that spitefu` cross,
Decree their nibour`s ruin,
Are often forc`d, like foolish goss,
To drink o` their ain brewing`
Wha says its wrang.

Vocabulary:-

aiblins = perhaps
awn = the beard of corn
biel = a shelter
blethers = nonsense
bree = liquor , drink
carlin = witch
cantrips = incantations
chiel = person
clash = gossiping
clink = tp rhyme
clootie = the devil
darklins = in the dark
daw = slut
dowie = worn out, fatigued
flyte = to scold
gowk = a foolish person
Ilk, Ilka = each
ken = to know
knowe = a little eminence
linn = a waterfall
lowe = a blaze
prie = to taste
rackle = scolding, abusive
sic = such
snell = keen, piercing
sweer = reluctant
thrawart = sulky, mullish
unco = strange