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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

James Ballantine (1808–1877)

Muckle-Mou’d Meg

“OH, wha hae ye brought us hame now, my brave lord,

Strappit flaught ower his braid saddle-bow?

Some bauld Border reiver to feast at our board

An’ herry our pantry, I trow.

He’s buirdly an’ stalwart in lith an’ in limb:

Gin ye were his master in war

The field was a saft eneugh litter for him—

Ye needna hae brought him sae far;—

Then saddle an’ munt again, harness an’ dunt again,

An’ when ye gae hunt again, strike higher game.”—

“Hoot, whist ye, my dame, for he comes o’ gude kin,

An’ boasts o’ a lang pedigree;

This night he maun share o’ our gude cheer within,

At morning’s gray dawn he maun dee.

He’s gallant Wat Scott, heir o’ proud Harden Ha’,

Wha ettled our lands clear to sweep;

But now he is snug in auld Elibank’s paw,

An’ shall swing frae our donjon-keep.

Though saddle an’ munt again, harness an’ dunt again,

I’ll ne’er when I hunt again strike higher game.”—

“Is this young Wat Scott? an’ wad ye rax his craig,

When our daughter is fey for a man?

Gae, gaur the loun marry our muckle-mou’d Meg,

Or we’ll ne’er get the jaud aff our han’!”—

“’Od, hear our gudewife! she wad fain save your life;—

Wat Scott, will ye marry or hang?”

But Meg’s muckle mou set young Wat’s heart agrue,

Wha swore to the woodie he’d gang.

Ne’er saddle nor munt again, harness nor dunt again,

Wat ne’er shall hunt again, ne’er see his hame.

Syne muckle-mou’d Meg pressed in close to his side,

An’ blinkit fu’ sleely and kind;

But aye as Wat glowered on his braw proffered bride,

He shook like a leaf in the wind.

“A bride or a gallows; a rope or a wife!”

The morning dawned sunny and clear:

Wat boldly strode forward to part wi’ his life,

Till he saw Meggy shedding a tear;

Then saddle an’ munt again, harness an’ dunt again,

Fain wad Wat hunt again, fain wad he hame.

Meg’s tear touched his bosom—the gibbet frowned high—

An’ slowly Wat strode to his doom;

He gae a glance round wi’ a tear in his eye,—

Meg shone like a star through the gloom.

She rushed to his arms; they were wed on the spot,

An’ lo’ed ither muckle and lang.

Nae bauld border laird had a wife like Wat Scott:

’Twas better to marry than hang.

So saddle an’ munt again, harness an’ dunt again,

Elibank hunt again, Wat’s snug at hame.