John Tamsin's Bairns
If o'or house be built wi' globbers or juist dry-stane dyken
Wi' a coom-ceil roof wi' a reek-hole thro' the thykin
Or o' pure Carac marble wi' minerets to heaven,
We're a' John Tamsin's bairns as shure's ye're livin'.
The big wi' the sma' o' them; the dowdy wi' the braw o' them,
The wale wi' the waste o' them - John Tamsin's bairns.
If we maister for oorsels, or do as we're bidden,
Like scouthered, herded stirks, or be be cocks o' oor ain midden;
If we piffer wi' a bruch; or reesel smiddy-airns
In the rough an' the tumble, we're John Tamsin's bairns.
We may cut the oddsome capers o' fan-tail doos,
Wear geegaw glitterin' burgonets that sit ill on oor broos;
Ower a' he is the king wha gets dunts an' isna cairin';
He's a son o' his ain faither, is John Tamsin's bairn.
The muckle wi' the less o' them; rags or purple be the dress o' them,
An we're a' ane, when we're stripit - John Tamsin's bairns.
If we ha'e bit ord'nar smeddum we're giftit as the best o' them,
No juist gomerals a' thegither we're as good, faith, as the rest o' them.
It's no' the heepit bicker, or the jimpness o' oor sairns,
An' hunger mak's guid kitchen to John Tamsin's bairns.
Then let's dad the stoor oot o' it, sweeten what is sour o' it
Be a credit to oor faither! John Tamsin's bairns.
Ane an' a' whiles miss their foot, to slip is human nature,
But - losh, it's service kind to dicht a fylt an' draiglet craiter;
Wi' mony a nappit pow, a wean its toddlin' lesson learns
An' every heart-sad mither kens ther's differences o' bairns.
Steery weans an' sober anes, girnin' weans an' lauchin' anes,
But we'll a' be bonnie aince we're washed - John Tamsin's bairns.
Robert Couston.