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Andrew T Hannah Jun 2013
A Surreal Epic of Existence

Prelude to the Journey…

I smiled yesterday when I beheld the morning’s brilliant colors,
Etched with gold, across the canvas of the heavens, hanging…
High above all those mountains of the world, gigantic brothers,
A wilderness of clouds, where there can be no human taming.
I did not always smile when I looked up to that noble height…
For I have seen how terrible goodness can be, when untamed.
Once I thought my sojourn in this flesh was from a divine spite,
But now I know it was a gift, and for it I need not be ashamed.
God once walked as I do now, and suffered the same stress…
Betrayal, love, and passions too, though no Church shall admit,
The true nature of divinity, lest all their secret sins they confess!
You are told you are alone in the universe, by leaders so unfit,
That they themselves are fed a diet of lies and stories invented.
But we walked amongst you since the very dawn reincarnated,
Having lost our first flesh in conflicts long past and unlamented.
We guided the steps of ancients, as monuments demonstrated!
And yet we are born as children: your own, and live our span,
The better to remain hid, in plain sight, our faces clever masks.
I am the eldest, and I remember still my kindred’s lofty plan…
And though I wear the human face, I am beset with alien tasks.
Helping they who lack the knowledge to see what lies outside,
You have seen me in the darkness, blazing upon my own pyre.
Where I am waiting to lead the way, where the angels glide…
Anyone can follow, if they are dedicated enough never to tire.
Ironic, since I myself have known helplessness and still oft do,
It is only human after all, and in your form I was so re-forged!
The image of God, whose own blood is in all of us hither unto,
From the first to the last, alpha to omega, like a sharp sword.

Prologue: (My Mask is Slipping)

As a child: I was a servant at the altars of the heart so sacred,
Singing hymns of the immaculate: without seeing the depravity.
It was only when I myself wore the crown of thons, naked…
My spirit exposed through my pain, that I realized the gravity.
What man believes is sacred, is profanity disguised as graces,
And those who lead the sheep to slaughter are mere butchers!
Forcing innocents to wear porcelain masks to hide their faces,
They rob children of their childhood, bound with crude fetters.
As a teenager: I walked in nature, disgusted with all humanity,
My exodus was from those who had defiled all I cared about.
Finding faith in an angel fallen, I discovered my own sanctity,
And in her name I found the means to cleanse my feral doubt.
Then came marriage, and betrayal by a wife I gave up all for,
The dissolution of our union then loneliness without cessation!
A mortal had pierced my flesh, leaving me to bleed on a floor,
My heart was torn from its’ moorings without any elaboration.
But the angel remained to calm my anger and ease my agony,
My only light in the blackness that has overcome my waking!
Reminding me, that I was more than this flesh and mortality…
The angel tries to keep me from harsh trembling and quaking.
And then I see: I am more than my tears and life’s traumas…
I let slip, the mask behind which the scars of my tears etched.
Then I sense the heat of the night more intense than saunas…
As I long to dance with abandon, until time itself is stretched!
Mortals may betray one another with impunity, but never I…
I do not betray; rather I pour my heart and spirit forth whole.
Creating a phylactery, of all I am, and with an innocent eye…
I demand to be loved as I am: pearl white and black as coal!

Canto 1: Sacrifice of the Doll

Part the First: (The Bleeding Shores)

Do not call me, doll, for I have departed your ancient cavern,
You are lifeless, a mere toy, and not a real child in any form!
A boy’s red ruby lips I spy drinking in the dreariest tavern…
Whilst true children singing, frolic in the fields filled with corn.
I am going home, upon the wings of the great silver griffon…
Far from the shores now bleeding red from defiled memories.
There is no return, for me, to the glories of the first ignition…
When the mind eternal, was ignited all with pleasing ecstasies.
In the stars, there are words unheard that I do want to recall,
For I came down so very long ago, among the first to so fall!
Eldritch nightmares born of the stuff of the pure chaos of old,
Are waiting for signs at the threshold to be released by magic.
The forbidden incantations return to my spirit, aflame so bold,
That my spirit nearly forgets: the origins of this time, so tragic.
When children drink, and true children hide themselves apart,
Whilst the waters bleed and the corn withers upon the stalks!
That is a sign that change must come, and so I work my mind.
The face in the moon is a grimace of tormented fear, horror…
Whilst I stand upon the precipice with my hand over my heart,
And amongst the long rows of corn, my black shadow walk!
Watching over the innocents whose souls are of my own kind.
The summer heat turns orange, the moon: in celestial corridors.
My mournful cry can be heard in the sound of the lonely wolf,
And in the wild abandon of the lion when he is on the prowl…
I feel the pain of nature, I long to bring back paradise craved.
I have seen the terror of the land, as the blood ran in the gulf,
Black blood of the earth: which causes living things to howl…
As man has the foolishness, to say what is or is not depraved!

Part the Second: (The Crucified Souls)

The doll is laid lifeless atop the altar, prepared for a sacrifice,
In the cavern where the limestone shapes the wettest arches!
A thing un-living, but with living souls trapped still, as if in ice,
Within the cold porcelain shell that so never with feet marches.
Serpentine blade held high, it drops precise into a doll’s neck,
And it cannot call out, because a doll has not any voice to cry.
A boy walked out of a tavern then, looking like a vile wreck…
Whilst as a man I attend to higher things, my body full purified.
In the voids beneath the spaces, witnessed in the rugged rock,
Voices echo loud in the darkness, calling up names unspoken.
The ferryman brings the souls delivered to him, to a far dock,
Where each must pay the copper coin, the old desired token.
So they come to drink those waters that cure all of life’s ills…
Freed from their porcelain prison to feel death’s darker chills!
Whence came those souls into captivity, no mortal may speak,
But I freed them in an instant, removing the nails that pierce…
Every man is he that was put up on the cross of old Golgotha.
And every woman too, as all were made to feel such torture!
I was there when the primal sacrifice was implanted so weak,
And yet so strong that it endured in the psyche all these years.
That doom was sealed behind a wall of fire long ago in Terra,
So that the stigmata of it might endure, even in the vast future!
Mine was the hand that signaled that doom, mine to release…
Yet, still old illusions persist, and I cannot awaken a multitude.
I, who devised the iron web that enfolds much of what is real,
Cloaking it in unending trickery am, myself, longing for peace.
For I too was entrapped, until my liberation rough and crude!
An angel freed me, and now I strive to break each cruel seal.

Part the Third: (The Return of Light)

Risen from the slumber where colder, electric dreams reside,
The forgotten intelligence is invoked, the arcane spells cast…
The eldritch nightmares return to thence amongst man abide,
Reminding us of the things banished to Hell in some age past.
Mine the hand that raised them up, light in the dagger’s glow,
The stuff of my power left to flow, like blood run swiftly free.
Out of the abyss, rises the girl-child of a lost millennial flame,
She who is the angel reborn lets her illumination clearly show.
And all are blinded who have not the innermost eyes to see!
The unbelievers are, in a single instant put unto lasting shame.
From the star of six points, a goddess works her sacred will,
And as she crosses the scarlet threshold, she brings the light.
For a single instant, all in Heaven and all upon Earth are still,
As the long day ends, bowing before the coming eternal night.
In the darkness, radiance far fairer and so perfect descends,
Whilst those who gather in my name: have lost my true path.
The wrath of angels descend upon their minds, closed shut…
Entrapped in the iron web, they cannot flee of such a prison!
The light blinds them for they never truly saw it, and it rends,
Tearing away the churches built for naught but mortal wrath.
There, the unfaithful ******* themselves: like a wanton ****,
Inventing dogma to pass on, forgetful of logic and of reason!
Faith need not be a fearful thing, yet some have made it thus,
And look for an end to come before they seek their reward.
Whilst they should be creating the paradise they left behind…
But in an image of freedom: rather than of servitude and fuss.
Too much time had been wasted in converting by the sword!
Mankind looks to the light for salvation, their eyes long blind.

Interlude Alpha:
This age is one of barbarism cloaked as gentility to sell lies…
Did you purchase some today by design or mayhap chance?
You should know this era to be neither intelligent nor wise…
Else you would not march, when you would prefer to dance!
My nights are filled with nightmares; my days are too much…
I used to dance with one I loved, and bask in purple sunsets.
Now I am haunted, by so many memories I can never touch,
That it fills me with ****** anger, and countless cold regrets.
I recall how once in desperation, my wrist rode a razor edge,
If it were not for my family I’d not thence have lived beyond.
A man abused as I was, and used like cutters upon a hedge,
Must rise higher than it all in order to survive it all, my friend!
I survived, I transformed, I ascended and in the end became,
So much more than I was, until no more did my spirit erode.
But still I wait in loneliness for a maid to awaken my flame…
And I burn, oh gods I burn until I think that I might explode!
The skies darken more and more, and bright forks crashing,
I hear the drums of fury in the heavens, giants of old winters.
The gods grow angry and I behold trees uprooted smashing!
Angels are trampling the grapes of man; they, the vintners…
I am reminded of when the battleship that sailed all galaxies,
Descended one day amidst clouds boiling with its’ steam…
To lay waste to *****, and Gomorrah, for their indignities!
I was there, when the wicked did perish with a final scream.
And as people mock me, wishing me ill because I am good,
I ask God how long I must be forced to bear such suffering.
But I am not alone, and to many I am in fact misunderstood,
So God forgives, for now; but I have not, his understanding!

Canto 2: Sacrifice of the Spider

Part the First: (The First Smile)

Black skies boil with rage unrepentant, and in righteous fury!
A being made flesh I am, though not of mortal understanding.
In cavernous places I have walked, where demons oft scurry,
And worse places still: in search of a love not too demanding.
In the stucco halls wherein my unmoving throne was raised…
Upon a hill of sorrows where lost souls labor in mundane toil,
I wait and plan to transcend the bonds the faithful so praised.
To my right hand is the altar where fire and sulfur always boil!
I force a smile upon my face, for one will not come as willing,
As in the hours when I was a golden youth filled with ideals…
Which I have paid for dearly, beyond the price of any shilling!
Now I long to pay back those who know not how this feels…
The madness born of solitude, the anger born out of contempt,
For you who despise me without cause, provoking my wrath.
What impunity has man, to think that he might ever be exempt!
When wiser civilizations than yours did sink: in the fiery bath.
Do I speak of Hell, which the faithless do not realize is come?
Nay, for their eyes have been gouged out by their own nails…
I speak of torments, far beyond that which devils have done.
The first smile shall me mine, when every cruel wish so fails…
To save the flesh of those who spit upon me as I walked on,
Never realizing that my face was just a mask, hiding another.
Only the fool pays no any attention to the piper’s lonely song,
Thinking it only a melody passed from a sister unto a brother.
But in what celestial ****** has been born the thing alchemical?
It dwells within me, the secret sin of a bonding long forgotten.
Would that I could force the world to hear music whimsical…
Like unto that which guides my spirit in all that was begotten.

Part the Second: (Cold Revenge)

The blood roses bloom in gardens where desire plants seeds,
I, the hand that waters those hungry beasts whose thirst rises!
In my search for love, I have fed the beasts of desire’s needs,
And what would cause you to blush has, for me, no surprises.
Oh human, with what impunity did you dare to exclaim aloud,
That you believe love to be beyond my reach; and you smile!
Like a coward, you degrade me and run to hide in the crowd,
In your feigned superiority, you make yourself an animal vile.
Conjoining your words to your tongue, like a web to a ceiling,
You become a spider; then flee on eight legs to a filthy nest…
Having already become unworthy of any warm human feeling,
In thinking yourself better, you sink lower than all of the rest!
That means my life is worth, a thousand times, your very own.
I become a creature of the night, and wait for you, oh spider!
Think not that I cannot hear. the creaking of each leg bone…
Your odiousness goes before you, the horse before its’ rider.
And in your own web I catch you, my sharper claws immune,
To your toxic poisons, as cannot ever save your eight eyes…
Which I dash from their sockets, without a fear, and so soon,
That your own pain consumes you, like fire lighting the skies!
Forcing you to recant all that you say, lest pain overcome all,
The powers you thought did not exist do manifest ever visibly.
And I ascended still higher, all the more to relish of your fall…
You should never have resulted to any such childish mockery.
The clocks of your house all melted, for time is not your ally!
In abandonment of the chaos that is joy, your order is ended.
A new order rises in its’ place born of chaos none may deny,
Whilst you sink lower into perdition, for all that you offended.

Part the Third: (The Last Laugh)

An angel appears before me and so thinks herself a goddess,
But to call her an angel is to imply that she holds any beauties.
Those whose ego is larger than their grasp are oft the oddest,
For they fancy themselves perfect, ignorant of their cruelties!
You think love a prize and I a beggar for mere crusts so stale,
That lesser men than I have eaten heartier meals than yours…
But your kitchen is so bare: as your oven goes cold and pale,
Making you prize yourself beyond the worth of your chores!
Like a harlot who charges a fortune for her meager charms…
If you think love a prize, and I a beggar, you are so mistaken.
What you call love is a disease that shames one and harms…
Both mind and soul alike, making the body at last to weaken.
You saw only my mask, and would not dare look beneath…
Making me a phantom in the darkness, lurking in the shades.
Round your neck, your false esteem hangs as a dead wreath,
As I leave you to your barren world, awaiting my handmaids.
They rise from the ashes you leave in your wake, my kindred,
Their hands take me far from where your feet stumble about!
Lie in the cemetery that awaits those who live as though dead,
I cannot raise you incorruptible; you have far too much doubt.
Carried hither by the silent maidens who weep ****** tears…
To my castle, where I shall brood again upon mankind’s way!
I cannot feel regret for those who give in to their foolish fears,
Any more than I can transform a leaden night into golden day!
Such is the power of the alchemist who knows his true limit…
And in the dark arts I was schooled by beings from the abyss.
Thusly, am I set about to transform my creation as I see fit…
We are the demiurges of our realities wanton for any hot kiss!

Interlude Omega:
T
I found this one in my basement. Seems I wrote it a year or two ago but lost it.
O Prince, O chief of many throned pow’rs!
        That led th’ embattled seraphim to war!
                      (Milton, Paradise Lost)

O thou! whatever title suit thee,—
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie!
Wha in yon cavern, grim an’ sootie,
     Clos’d under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie
     To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, Auld Hangie, for a wee,
An’ let poor ****** bodies be;
I’m sure sma’ pleasure it can gie,
     E’en to a deil,
To skelp an’ scaud poor dogs like me,
     An’ hear us squeel!

Great is thy pow’r, an’ great thy fame;
Far ken’d an’ noted is thy name;
An’ tho’ yon lowin heugh’s thy hame,
     Thou travels far;
An’ faith! thou’s neither lag nor lame,
     Nor blate nor scaur.

Whyles, ranging like a roarin lion,
For prey a’ holes an’ corners tryin;
Whyles, on the strong-wing’d tempest flyin,
     Tirlin’ the kirks;
Whyles, in the human ***** pryin,
     Unseen thou lurks.

I’ve heard my rev’rend graunie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or whare auld ruin’d castles gray
     Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand’rer’s way
     Wi’ eldritch croon.

When twilight did my graunie summon
To say her pray’rs, douce honest woman!
Aft yont the **** she’s heard you bummin,
     Wi’ eerie drone;
Or, rustlin thro’ the boortrees comin,
     Wi’ heavy groan.

Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi’ sklentin light,
Wi’ you mysel I gat a fright,
     Ayont the lough;
Ye like a rash-buss stood in sight,
     Wi’ waving sugh.

The cudgel in my nieve did shake,
Each bristl’d hair stood like a stake,
When wi’ an eldritch, stoor “Quaick, quaick,”
     Amang the springs,
Awa ye squatter’d like a drake,
     On whistling wings.

Let warlocks grim an’ wither’d hags
Tell how wi’ you on ragweed nags
They skim the muirs an’ dizzy crags
     Wi’ wicked speed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,
     Owre howket dead.

Thence, countra wives wi’ toil an’ pain
May plunge an’ plunge the kirn in vain;
For oh! the yellow treasure’s taen
     By witchin skill;
An’ dawtet, twal-pint hawkie’s gaen
     As yell’s the bill.

Thence, mystic knots mak great abuse,
On young guidmen, fond, keen, an’ croose;
When the best wark-lume i’ the house,
     By cantraip wit,
Is instant made no worth a louse,
     Just at the bit.

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord,
An’ float the jinglin icy-boord,
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord
     By your direction,
An’ nighted trav’lers are allur’d
     To their destruction.

And aft your moss-traversing spunkies
Decoy the wight that late an drunk is:
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkeys
     Delude his eyes,
Till in some miry slough he sunk is,
     Ne’er mair to rise.

When Masons’ mystic word an grip
In storms an’ tempests raise you up,
Some **** or cat your rage maun stop,
     Or, strange to tell!
The youngest brither ye *** whip
     Aff straught to hell!

Lang syne, in Eden’d bonie yard,
When youthfu’ lovers first were pair’d,
An all the soul of love they shar’d,
     The raptur’d hour,
Sweet on the fragrant flow’ry swaird,
     In shady bow’r;

Then you, ye auld snick-drawin dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog,
And play’d on man a cursed brogue,
     (Black be your fa’!)
An gied the infant warld a shog,
     Maist ruin’d a’.

D’ye mind that day, when in a bizz,
Wi’ reeket duds an reestet gizz,
Ye did present your smoutie phiz
     Mang better folk,
An’ sklented on the man of Uz
     Your spitefu’ joke?

An’ how ye gat him i’ your thrall,
An’ brak him out o’ house and hal’,
While scabs and blotches did him gall,
     Wi’ bitter claw,
An’ lows’d his ill-tongued, wicked scaul,
     Was warst ava?

But a’ your doings to rehearse,
Your wily snares an’ fechtin fierce,
Sin’ that day Michael did you pierce,
     Down to this time,
*** ding a Lallan tongue, or Erse,
     In prose or rhyme.

An’ now, Auld Cloots, I ken ye’re thinkin,
A certain Bardie’s rantin, drinkin,
Some luckless hour will send him linkin,
     To your black pit;
But faith! he’ll turn a corner jinkin,
     An’ cheat you yet.

But fare you weel, Auld Nickie-ben!
O *** ye tak a thought an’ men’!
Ye aiblins might—I dinna ken—
     Still hae a stake:
I’m wae to think upo’ yon den,
     Ev’n for your sake!
Leafar Mamede Feb 2012
Look for the sparkle he went
With no fears or regrets
Just him and his special hat
For days and days he walked with no course
But he didn't repent
He just believed it was a curse
The way to the Eldritch village he couldn't find
But suddenly he sees the who knows everything cat
And there he stood before the cat for a while
So many days had past that he couldn't say a word
Thus the cat open his wise smile and said:
"The path to the Eldritch village I know"
The man was astounded - "A talking cat? This is absurd!"
Therefore the who knows everything cat walked through the snow
And so the man, believing in his special hat
Followed him through snow, space and time
After not knowing how many hours, days or years had passed
They reached the end of time climb
And there it was, the Eldritch village
The curse was caught in time
He, Lochesh, with his special hat
Lastly found the sparkle of rhyme
"Eldritch" suggests the operation of supernatural
"Lochesh" means whisper
Another night, another story,
Another set of moments, spent
in the prime time of our lives.
So why has it been meaningless
and less to me, plain to see in
my more recent writings (dare I
declare them poetries, dare I
pronounce modernity worthy).
It's so unclear to a fool waiting
to fall in love, a fool wondering

will it ever catch up, a fool who stopped
chasing the world, too concerned he was
with this fixation upon our conduits, the singularity of whichever connection we're living through. Each generation
lost to their own wondrous iteration *of
this eldritch transhumanity.
I'm barely here anymore
and you can't help me
but I still love you.
Please just let me be
at peace. I still love
you, you're my miracle
as I am fading, know that

I love
Umi  May 2018
My Saya
Umi May 2018
Dear,
My vision is clouded by two green eyes, alike emeralds gazing at me,
A delicate body, frankly short yet mature and smart, but so warm,
This is what you are for me, you feel human, you smell human yet all the others see you as something else, a monster is what they call you,
But this is not true, even if you should be some kind of eldritch abomination, for me you're a gal of grace, of elegance and kindness,
Even if they talk ill of you, saying you are twisted and weird,
And even if they call me naive, for not seeing what you really are,
I will not give up, for the both of us are not like them, we can't be.
I love you. For a world we see is true, what we manifest, what I'll build you is a mansion of crystal and of course pure, starlight.
The beauty rising by your own hand is a blinding light in the dark,
Bloom, as the world around us fades away, blossom, we become one.
But all that remains just a dream, the cruel reality is,
I can only meet you there.

~ Umi
Shiv Pratap Pal Aug 2019
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
T­his poem is self translated version of my Hindi language poem titled "शिव स्वरूपं" published in pratilipi on (Dec. 2017) Can be read through the link ==>> https://bit.ly/2P4j7vE
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^­^^^^^^

That face of Lord Shiva is most beautiful in which he holds Ganga in his hairs
The Moon feels blessed by beautifying the head of Shiva as a glittering crown

The Serpants also became jewellery by themselves and decorated his blue neck
Shiva holds the trident on one hand and plays the Damroo from the other one

He has seated himself on a mat of Tiger Skin and rubbed pyre ash on his body
He has left elephant and the horses and decided to travel on an old Bull Nandi

By such an amazing face form, he is always ready for the welfare of devotees
The cruel and wicked have always been afraid of his eldritch face and form.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^­^^^^^

Shiva (See Line 1): A God (The Destroyer) in Hindu Mythology
Ganga (See Line 1): The Holy river whose flow and speed is controlled by the coiled hairs (Jatas) of Lord Shiiva
Damroo(See Line 4): A sort of musical instrument ( Pellet Drum )
Nandi((See Line 6)): A bull in Indian mythology who is the vehicle of Lord Shiva
The Mesmerizing Face of God Shiva
Blue Flask Mar 2017
nebious rubber skinned demons
haunting my dreams
eldritch casters of my fate
shape undefined
and vaguely human
they surronded me
and I knew I was asleep
And I couldnt wake up
and I couldn't fall asleep
PurplePanache Oct 2018
Oh the devil hath found
                                          Interpreting perverse anomalies
Oh the devil hath found
                                         May you sphacelate you worthless antiquity
Oh the devil hath found
                                You reek of cigarettes and unfrequented deliriums
Oh the devil hath found
                                          What pandemonium!

Oh the devil hath found
                                           An oasis in a wasteland
Oh the devil hath found
                                           A humanoid dichotomy
Oh the devil hath found
                                        A sought after moral wreck
Oh the devil hath found
                                           Love.



........................................................­.........................
....Que le diable et son amant se chargent........
................................................­.................................
George Cheese  Mar 2015
eldritch
George Cheese Mar 2015
world wrought to ruin
i can feel the creeping dark
dancing between my fingers
the foreign, strange, eerie
uncanny arcane
the earth seemed unearthly
Mercie B  Jan 2014
Reflection
Mercie B Jan 2014
Strange reflections, indistinct flickers whipping past, caught out of the corner of my eye.

An eldritch feeling takes over, as if to say this is what it to feel like to watch time pass by.

I lay witness to a whirlwind of intricate memories being swept away, jostled getting lost between the spaces.

The remnants of a hurricane filled with moments doomed to oblivion, intertwined inside an eternity of forgotten faces.

Anxiously I sit inside a cage of my own mold as I contemplate if this place is a sanctuary at all.

Finally realizing that those reflections were small glimmers of the pieces I let go during my own painfully beautiful fall.

Weep not for this wayward stranger, the trial and tribulations are something that we all must soldiers through.

Diligently stripping layers away, remaining hopefully that the journey will lead to something magnificently brand new.
I hope that it makes sense to ay t least one other person beside myself....
A Tale

“Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke.”
                              —Gawin Douglas.

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An’ folk begin to tak’ the gate;
While we sit bousing at the *****,
An’ getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o’Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
As ta’en thy ain wife Kate’s advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum,
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder, wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That ev’ry naig was ca’d a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roarin fou on;
That at the Lord’s house, ev’n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon;
Or catched wi’ warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway’s auld haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthened sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale: Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi’ reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo’ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi’ sangs an’ clatter;
And aye the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favours, secret, sweet, and precious:
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord’s laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drowned himself amang the *****;
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o’ treasure,
The minutes winged their way wi’ pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.—
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o’ night’s black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he tak’s the road in,
As ne’er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as ‘twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed;
Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellowed:
That night, a child might understand,
The De’il had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro’ dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whiles glow’rin round wi’ prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoored;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak’s neck-bane;
And thro’ the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murdered bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo’s mither hanged hersel’.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll;
When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze;
Thro’ ilka bore the beams were glancing;
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst mak’ us scorn!
Wi’ tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi’ usquabae, we’ll face the devil!
The swats sae reamed in Tammie’s noddle,
Fair play, he cared na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood right sair astonished,
Till, by the heel and hand admonished,
She ventured forward on the light;
And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He ******* the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.—
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shawed the Dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantraip sleight
Each in its cauld hand held a light,
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a ****,
Wi’ his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted;
Five scimitars, wi’ ****** crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father’s throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o’ life bereft,
The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi’ mair of horrible and awfu’,
Which even to name *** be unlawfu’.

As Tammie glowered, amazed and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious:
The Piper loud and louder blew;
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reeled, they set, they crossed, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,
A’ plump and strapping in their teens;
Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flainen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!—
Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o’ gude blue hair,
I *** hae gi’en them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies!

But withered beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags *** spean a foal,
Lowping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

But Tam kenned what was what fu’ brawlie:
‘There was ae winsome ***** and waulie’,
That night enlisted in the core
(Lang after kenned on Carrick shore;
For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perished mony a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear);
Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kenned thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi’ twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches),
*** ever graced a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights are far beyond her power;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitched,
And thought his very een enriched;
Even Satan glowered, and fidged fu’ fain,
And hotched and blew wi’ might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a’ thegither,
And roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi’ angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie’s mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When “Catch the thief!” resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi’ mony an eldritch screech and hollow.

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin!
In hell they’ll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie’s mettle—
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain grey tail:
The carlin claught her by the ****,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother’s son, take heed:
Whene’er to drink you are inclined,
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Think, ye may buy the joys o’er dear,
Remember Tam o’Shanter’s mare.
A note of seeming truth and trust
                      Hid crafty observation;
                And secret hung, with poison’d crust,
                      The dirk of defamation:
                A mask that like the gorget show’d
                      Dye-varying, on the pigeon;
                And for a mantle large and broad,
              He wrapt him in Religion.
                   (Hypocrisy-à-la-Mode)


Upon a simmer Sunday morn,
     When Nature’s face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn
     An’ ***** the caller air.
The risin’ sun owre Galston muirs
     Wi’ glorious light was glintin,
The hares were hirplin down the furrs,
     The lav’rocks they were chantin
          Fu’ sweet that day.

As lightsomely I glowr’d abroad
     To see a scene sae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
     Cam skelpin up the way.
Twa had manteeles o’ dolefu’ black,
     But ane wi’ lyart linin;
The third, that gaed a wee a-back,
     Was in the fashion shining
          Fu’ gay that day.

The twa appear’d like sisters twin
     In feature, form, an’ claes;
Their visage wither’d, lang an’ thin,
     An’ sour as ony slaes.
The third cam up, hap-step-an’-lowp,
     As light as ony lambie,
An’ wi’ a curchie low did stoop,
     As soon as e’er she saw me,
          Fu’ kind that day.

Wi’ bonnet aff, quoth I, “Sweet lass,
     I think ye seem to ken me;
I’m sure I’ve seen that bonie face,
     But yet I canna name ye.”
Quo’ she, an’ laughin as she spak,
     An’ taks me by the han’s,
“Ye, for my sake, hae gien the ****
     Of a’ the ten comman’s
          A screed some day.

“My name is Fun—your cronie dear,
     The nearest friend ye hae;
An’ this is Superstition here,
     An’ that’s Hypocrisy.
I’m gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
     To spend an hour in daffin:
Gin ye’ll go there, you runkl’d pair,
     We will get famous laughin
          At them this day.”

Quoth I, “With a’ my heart, I’ll do’t:
     I’ll get my Sunday’s sark on,
An’ meet you on the holy spot;
     Faith, we’se hae fine remarkin!”
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time
     An’ soon I made me ready;
For roads were clad frae side to side
     Wi’ monie a wearie body
          In droves that day.

Here, farmers ****, in ridin graith,
     Gaed hoddin by their cotters,
There swankies young, in braw braidclaith
     Are springin owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,
     In silks an’ scarlets glitter,
Wi’ sweet-milk cheese in mony a whang,
     An’ farls, bak’d wi’ butter,
          Fu’ crump that day.

When by the plate we set our nose,
     Weel heaped up wi’ ha’pence,
A greedy glowr Black Bonnet throws,
     An’ we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show:
     On ev’ry side they’re gath’rin,
Some carryin dails, some chairs an’ stools,
     An’ some are busy bleth’rin
          Right loud that day.


Here some are thinkin on their sins,
     An’ some upo’ their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl’d his shins,
     Anither sighs an’ prays:
On this hand sits a chosen swatch,
     Wi’ *****’d-up grace-proud faces;
On that a set o’ chaps at watch,
     Thrang winkin on the lasses
          To chairs that day.

O happy is that man and blest!
     Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass that he likes best,
     Comes clinkin down beside him!
Wi’ arm repos’d on the chair back,
     He sweetly does compose him;
Which by degrees slips round her neck,
     An’s loof upon her *****,
          Unken’d that day.

Now a’ the congregation o’er
     Is silent expectation;
For Moodie speels the holy door,
     Wi’ tidings o’ salvation.
Should Hornie, as in ancient days,
     ‘Mang sons o’ God present him,
The vera sight o’ Moodie’s face
     To’s ain het hame had sent him
          Wi’ fright that day.

Hear how he clears the points o’ faith
     Wi’ rattlin an’ wi’ thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath
     He’s stampin, an’ he’s jumpin!
His lengthen’d chin, his turn’d-up snout,
     His eldritch squeal and gestures,
Oh, how they fire the heart devout
     Like cantharidian plaisters,
          On sic a day!

But hark! the tent has chang’d its voice:
     There’s peace and rest nae langer;
For a’ the real judges rise,
     They canna sit for anger.
Smith opens out his cauld harangues,
     On practice and on morals;
An’ aff the godly pour in thrangs,
     To gie the jars an’ barrels
          A lift that day.

What signifies his barren shine
     Of moral pow’rs and reason?
His English style an’ gesture fine
     Are a’ clean out o’ season.
Like Socrates or Antonine
     Or some auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
     But ne’er a word o’ faith in
          That’s right that day.

In guid time comes an antidote
     Against sic poison’d nostrum;
For Peebles, frae the water-fit,
     Ascends the holy rostrum:
See, up he’s got the word o’ God
     An’ meek an’ mim has view’d it,
While Common Sense has ta’en the road,
     An’s aff, an’ up the Cowgate
          Fast, fast that day.

Wee Miller niest the Guard relieves,
     An’ Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho’ in his heart he weel believes
     An’ thinks it auld wives’ fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a Manse,
     So cannilie he hums them;
Altho’ his carnal wit an’ sense
     Like hafflins-wise o’ercomes him
          At times that day.

Now **** an’ ben the change-house fills
     Wi’ yill-caup commentators:
Here’s cryin out for bakes an gills,
     An’ there the pint-stowp clatters;
While thick an’ thrang, an’ loud an’ lang,
     Wi’ logic an’ wi’ Scripture,
They raise a din, that in the end
     Is like to breed a rupture
          O’ wrath that day.

Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair
     Than either school or college
It kindles wit, it waukens lear,
     It pangs us fou o’ knowledge.
Be’t whisky-gill or penny-wheep,
     Or ony stronger potion,
It never fails, on drinkin deep,
     To kittle up our notion
          By night or day.

The lads an’ lasses, blythely bent
     To mind baith saul an’ body,
Sit round the table weel content,
     An’ steer about the toddy,
On this ane’s dress an’ that ane’s leuk
     They’re makin observations;
While some are cozie i’ the neuk,
     An’ forming assignations
          To meet some day.

But now the Lord’s ain trumpet touts,
     Till a’ the hills rae rairin,
An’ echoes back return the shouts—
     Black Russell is na sparin.
His piercing words, like highlan’ swords,
     Divide the joints an’ marrow;
His talk o’ hell, whare devils dwell,
     Our vera “sauls does harrow”
          Wi’ fright that day.

A vast, unbottom’d, boundless pit,
     Fill’d fou o’ lowin brunstane,
Whase ragin flame, an’ scorching heat
     *** melt the hardest whun-stane!
The half-asleep start up wi’ fear
     An’ think they hear it roarin,
When presently it does appear
     ’Twas but some neibor snorin,
          Asleep that day.

‘Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
     How mony stories past,
An’ how they crouded to the yill,
     When they were a’ dismist:
How drink gaed round in cogs an’ caups
     Amang the furms an’ benches:
An’ cheese and bred frae women’s laps
     Was dealt about in lunches
          An’ dauds that day.

In comes a gausie, **** guidwife
     An’ sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an’ her knife;
     The lasses they are shyer:
The auld guidmen, about the grace
     Frae side to side they bother,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
     And gi’es them’t like a tether
          Fu’ lang that day.

Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,
     Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma’ need has he to say a grace,
     Or melvie his braw clathing!
O wives, be mindfu’ ance yoursel
     How bonie lads ye wanted,
An’ dinna for a kebbuck-heel
     Let lasses be affronted
          On sic a day!

Now Clinkumbell, wi’ rattlin tow,
     Begins to jow an’ croon;
Some swagger hame the best they dow,
     Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink,
     Till lasses strip their shoon:
Wi’ faith an’ hope, an’ love an’ drink,
     They’re a’ in famous tune
          For crack that day.

How monie hearts this day converts
     O’ sinners and o’ lasses
Their hearts o’ stane, gin night, are gane
     As saft as ony flesh is.
There’s some are fou o’ love divine,
     There’s some are fou o’ brandy;
An’ monie jobs that day begin,
     May end in houghmagandie
          Some ither day.

— The End —