From the Shade of MacRimmon

From the Shade of MacRimmon, the Piper of Skye,
To MacRimmon the Merchant of Leith, a loud cry!

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  you let me a dwelling,
Where drones might be trialed, & music bags swelling,
Where in long nights of winter the Pibroch might sound,
And the strains and the tales of old times might go round,
Wher my children to task & to feast might repair,
While my shadowy self in their pleasures might share.

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  you let me a house -
'Tis the lair of the wild Rat, and ravenous mouse!
But of these, I complain not, for poor is their prey -
My provident Resident stores well away
In the hole o'er the fireplace the candles each night -
And we've few other esculents worthy their bite.

Yet of these I complain not: - a piper would scorn
In the keen frost to shiver, or shrink in the storm;
My children while time to the music they beat,
Or upon the chimney cheek toast their cold feet
The floods & the blasts of the winter despise,
And the mould that hangs down from the damps that arise.

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  you let me a room -
A feild of red fallow that room has become!
Where yon plank in the corner is rotten with age,
There's an eyeless black mole who regards not my rage.
The mole burrows east, the mole burrows west,
And his oxen and coulter are never at rest,
His long mines beneath the foundations he leads,
Tis a wonder the roof has remained o'er our heads!
His mounds of red earth roll like waves of the Forth,
Or stand high as the pine covered hills of the North.
From the Bagpipe untuned triple horrors may yell,
He but scoffs and lies close in his long-lobby'd cell!
Of this hateful insulter I see not an end
Till the plank in the nook you give orders to mend.

O! some morning at six (when my clerk's in his bed)
(Wild dreams and Wyld's whisky tormenting his head,)
Send a cunning housejoiner, with apron at's belt,
And green fustian coat, at his house-door to pelt,
Let him thunder your mandate 'till bed curtains shiver
And he rises in's night shirt the key to deliver!
The with deal of two inches, & hammer & plane,
And with strong flooring nails, & with might & with main,
Let that mole be shut down in his rayless retreat
Till he famish - or work out his way to the street.
Then Dick of St Andrew Street, Slater of skill,
With a lick of grey plaister the joinings may fill -
And Paterson (Shore) may lend me for love
A brush of brown ochre like the ochre above!

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  if you can't be bother'd
With arrangements for getting this heinous wretch smother'd,
Peter Reid is at leisure from four untill six
And for ordering such things beats all others to sticks, -
Depend on't, no useless expence is incurr'd,
He'll manage it frugally - speak but the word
Of discount and good workmanship, troth, we'll tak tent,
And we'll settle the cost, when we settle the rent.

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  what more shall I say?
A crown or six shillings, will surely not weigh
'Gainst the peace of a Pipers ghost hung on the beam,
Tho' the house's improvement but trifling might seem.

MacRimmon!  MacRimmon!  a piper thyself,
Canst thou play on thy pipe? can'st thou count o'er thy pelf?
Can'st thou sleep in thy bed?  or thy toddy bowl drain?
And the shade of Great Peter beseech thee in vain?
By the shade of myself!  by the name that thou bearest!
By the strains that thou lov'st!  by the maid thou lov'st dearest!
I conjure thee - obtest thee - most gravely implore thee
To think well of the Subject I've now brought before thee!
So may Kelp rocks inrich thee each year more & more,
And allow advance when you've any in store!

No 32 Bridge Street's the address of my clerk
Quo hoc scribitur

Shade of MacRimmon
his mark

Quid attestur
Arch'd Campbell

Back to Chapter

Back to Contents List

Embro, Embro
Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin