The New Licht o' Auld Reekie (1)

The auld licht, the auld licht,
The auld toon suited weel,
And tho' it wasna unco bricht
It guided quean and chiel.
The bowet, when the sun went doon,
Hung oot frae every house,
And glinted on the passers by
Sae couthily and crouse.

Till nine o'clock, till nine o'clock,
The mirk it flickered through,
An' syne a' decent, godly folk
Into their biggins drew.
Nae longer then, frae close or pen',
The wayfarer forth stept,
Unbroken sleep and silence deep
The ancient city kept.

Alack the day, that I maun say,
These halcyon days were short,
To turn the nicht into the day
Was soon the favourite sport!
An' oh! just then, Auld Nickie Ben
Brocht up his bleezin' gas,
Whilk wi' a smell frae nether hell
Through metal pipes they pass.

The new licht, the new licht,
Was worshipped or a while,
But soon for a' its vaunted micht
Folk turned again to "ile,"
And swore the aulder licht was best,
And couldna weel be beat,
Though Sawtan's sel should mak and mell,
And tear up ilka street.

But the auld deil, who kens fu' weel
When he maun prove him wicht,
Put to the mettle a' his skeel
And spawned th' electric licht.
And noo the bleeze lichts up oor streets
And hides the stars abune,
And for the darkness' kind relief
We're forced tae flee the toon.

Nae longer noo the lover true
Can breathe his tale of love
Beneath the trees in Princes Street,
Wi' that fierce licht above.
Betwixt "the gloamin' and the mirk"
The country swain may roam,
But nae such joy can now be had
In our romantic home.

O ye whose word at Council board
Can mend this waefu' plicht,
Tak ae mair thocht, and to the deil
Send back his favourite licht!
Let ance again the wooer 'plain
His tale o' love and bliss,
And we will swear there's no a toon
In a' the world like this.

Back to Chapter

Back to Contents List

Embro, Embro
Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin