The Monk and the Miller's Wife; or, A' Parties Pleased.
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Now lond your lugs, ye benders fine,
Wha kon the benefit of wine ;
And you wha laughing foud brown ale,
Leave jinks a wee and hear a tale.
An honest miller dwall'd in Fife,
That had a young and wanton wife,
Wha sometimes thol'd the parish priest
To mak' her man a twa-horn'd beast;
He paid right mony visits till her,
And to keep in with Hab the miller,
He endeavour'd aft to make him happy,
Where'er he kend the ale was nappy,
Such condescension in a pastor,
Knit Halbert's love to him the faster;
And by his converse, troth 'tis true,
Hab learn'd to preach when he was fou.
Thus all the three were wond'rous pleas'd,
the wife well serv'd, the man well eas'd,
Hab ground his corn, the priest did cherish
Himsel' with dining round the parish.
Bess, the goodwife, thought it nae skaith,
Since she was fit, to serve them baith.
When equal is the night with day,
And Ceres gives the schools the play,
A youth sprung from a gentle pater,
Bred at St. Andrew's alma mater,
Ae day gaed hameward, it fell late,
And him benighted by the gate:
To lie without, pit-mirk did shore him,
He couldna see his thumb before him;
But, clack?clack?clack, he heard a mill,
Which led him by the lugs theretill.
To take the thread of tale alang,
This mill to Halbert did belang,
Nor less this note your notice claims,
The scholar's name was Master James.
Now, smiling muse, the prelude past;
Smoothly relate, a tale shall last
As lang as Alps and Grampian hills,
As lang as wind or water mills.
In enter'd James, Hab saw and kend him,
And offer'd kindly to befriend him
With sic good cheer as he could make,
Baith for his ain and father's sake.
The scholar thought himsel' right sped,
And gave thanks in terms well-bred.
Quoth Hab, "I canna leave my mill
As yet;?but stap ye wast the kill
A bow-shot, and ye'll find my hame:
Gae warm ye, and crack with our dame,
Till I Sot aff the mill, syne we
Shall tak' what Bessy has to' gi'e."
James, in return, what's handsome said,
O'er lang to tell; and aff he gaed.
Out of the house some light did shino,
Which led him till't as with a line:
Arriv'd, he knock'd,?for doors were steekit;?
Straight through a window Bessy keekit,
And cries, "Wha's that gi'es folk a fright
At sic untimeous time of night ?"
James, with good humour most discreetly,
Told her his circumstance completely.
" I dinna ken yo," quoth the wife,
" And up and down the thieves are rife;
Within my lane, I'm but a woman,
Sae I'll unbar my door tae nae man,?
But, since 'tis very like, my dow,
That all you're telling may be true,
Hae, there's a key, gang in your way
At the neist door,?there's braw ait strae ;?
Streek down upon't, my lad, and learn
They're no ill lodged wha get a barn."
Thus, after meikle elitter clatter,
James fand he couldna mend the matter ;
And since it might nae better be,
With resignation took the key;
Unlocked the barn?clamb up the mou',
Where was an opening near the hou',
Through which he saw a glint of light,
That gave diversion to the sight:
By this he quickly could discern
A thin wa' separate house and barn,
And through this rive was in the wa',
All done within the house he saw:
He saw (what ought not to be seen,
And scarce gie'd credit to his een)
The parish priest of rev'rend fame
In active courtship with the dame?
To lengthen out description here
Would but offend the modest ear,
And beet the lewder youthfu' flame,
Which we by satire strive to tame.
Suppose the wicked action o'er,
And James continuing still to glow'r;
He saw the wife as fast as able,
Spread a clean servite on the table,
And syne, frae the ha' ingle bring ben
A piping-het young roasted hen,
And twa good bottles, stout and clear,
Ane of strong ale, and ane of beer.
But wicked luck just as the priest
Shot in his fork in chucky's breast,
The unwelcome miller gi'e'd a roar,
Cry'd, "Bessy, haste ye open the door."?
With that the haly letcher fled,
And darn'd himsel' behint a bed;
While Bessy huddl'd a' things by,
That nought the cuckold might espy:
Syne let him in,?but out of tune,
Speer'd why he left the mill sae soon;
" I come," said he, " As manners claims,
To wait and crack wi' Master James,
Which I should do, tho' ne'er sae bissy;
I sent him here, goodwife, where is he ?"
"Ye sent him here !" (quoth Bessy, grumbling,)
" Kend I this James. A chiel came rumbling,
But how was I assur'd, when dark,
That he had been nae thievish spark,
Or some rude wencher, gotten a dose;
That a weak wife could ill oppose."
"But what came of him [ ] speak nae langer,"
Cries Halbert in a Highland anger.
"I sent him to the barn," quoth she:
" Gae quickly bring him in," quoth he.
James was brought in?the wife was bawked?
The priest stood close?the miller cracked?
Syne spcer'd his sulky gloomy spouse,
What supper she had in the house;
That might be suitable to gi'e
Ane of their lodger's quality.
Quoth she, " Ye may well ken, goodman,
Your feast comes frae the parritch pan :
The stov'd or roasted we afford,
Are aft great strangers on our board."
"Parritch," quoth Hab, "ye senseless tawpie !
Think ye this youth's a gilly-gawpy;
Or that his gentle stamock's master
To worry up a pint o' plaister,
Like our mill knaves that lift the laiding,
Wha's kytes can rax out like raw plaiding,
Swith, roast a hen, or fry some chickens,
And send for ale frae Maggie Picken's.
" Aye, aye," quoth she, " ye may well ken,
'Tis ill brought but that's no there ben;
Whan but last owk nae farder gane,
The laird got a' to pay his kain."
Then James wha had as good a guess
Of what was in the house, as Bess,
With pawkey smile this plea to end,
To please himsel' and ease his friend,
First open'd with a sleo oration
His wond'rous skill in conjuration.
Said he, " By this fell art I'm able
To whop off any great man's table
Whate'er I like to mak' a meal o',
Either in part, or yet the hale o',
And, if ye please, I'll show my art,?
Cries Halbert,?"Faith, with a' my heart !"?
Bess fain'd hersel',?cry'd, " Lord bo here !"
And ne'er hand fell a swoon wi' fear.
James lough,?and bade her nathing dread,
Syne to conjuring went with speed ;
And first he drew a circle round,
Then utter'd many a magic sound
Of words, part Latin, Greek and Dutch,
Enough to fright a very witch:
That done, James says, "Now, now, 'tis come,
And in the boal behind the lum:
Now set the board; goodwife gae ben,
Bring frae yon boal a roasted hen."
She wadna gang, but Haby ventur'd:
And soon as he the ambrie enter'd,
It smell'd sap well, short time he sought it,
But, wond'ring, 'tween his hands he brought it.
He viewed it round, and thrice he smell'd it,
Syne with a gentle touch he felt it.
Thus ilka sense he did conveen,
Lest glamour had beguil'd his e'en:
They all in a united body,
Declar'd it a fine fat how towdy.
"Nae mair about it," quoth the miller,
"The hen looks well, and we'll fa' till her."
" Sae be't," says James; and in a doup,
They snapt her up baith stoup and roup.
" Neist, oh !" cries Halbert, "could your skill
But help us to a waught of ale,
I'd be oblig'd t' ye a' my life,
And offer tae the deil my wife,
To see if he'll descreeter mak' her,
But, oh, I'm fleed he winna tak' her."
Said James, " Ye offer very fair,
The bargain's hadden, sae nae mair."
Then thrice James shook a willow wand,
With kittle words thrice gave command;
That done, with looks baith learn'd and grave,
Said, " Now ye'll get what ye wad have;
Twa bottles of as nappy liquor
As ever ream'd in horn or bicquor,
Ahint the ark that hauds your meal,
Ye'll find twa standing corket weel."
James said, syne fast the miller flew;
And frae their nest the bottles drew;
Then first the scholar's health he toasted;
Wha's magic gart him feed on roasted;
His faither's neist,?syne a' the rest
Of his good friends that wish'd him best,
Greatly o'er langsome at this time,
In a short tale to put in rhyme.
Thus, while the miller and the youth,
Were blythly slock'ning of their drowth;
Bess fretting, scarcely held frae greeting;
The priest, enctos'd, stood vex'd and sweating,
" O wow !" said Hab, " If ane might speer,
Dear Master James, wha brought our cheer
Sic laits appear tae us sae awfu',
We hardly think your learning lawfu'."
"To bring your doubts to a conclusion,"
Says James, "Ken I'm a Rosicrucian,
Ane of the set that never carries
On traffic with black deils or fairies;
There's mony a sp'rit that's no a deil,
That constantly around us wheel.
There was a sage called Albumazor,
Wha's wit was gleg as ony razor :
Frae this great man we learned the skill,
To bring these gentry to our will;
And they appear, when we've a mind,
In ony shape of human kind:
Now, if you'll drap your foolish fear;
I'll gar my Pacelot appear."
Hab fidged and leugh, his elbuck clew,
Baith feared and fond a sp'rit to view:
At last his courage wan the day,
He to the scholar's will give way.
Bessy by this began to smell
A rat, but kept her mind to'r sel';
She prayed like howdy in her drink,
But meantime tipt young James a wink.
James frae his eye an answer sent,
Which made the wife right well content;
Then turned to Hab, and thus advised,
" Whate'er you see, be nought surprised,
And for your sonl, move not your tongue;
But ready stane with a great rung;
Syne as the spirit goes marching out,
Be sure to lend him a sound rout:
I bidna this by way of mocking,
For nought delights him mair than knocking."
Hab got a kent?stood by the hallan,
And straight the wild mischievous callan
Cries, "Radamanthus husky mingo,
Monk Horner, hipock, jinko, jingo,
Appear in likeness of a priest,
No like a deil in shape Of beast,
With gaping chafts to fleg us a':
Walk forth, the door stands to the wa'."
Then frae the hole whaur ho was pent,
The priest approached, right well content ;
With silent pace strade o'er the floor,
Till he was drawing near the door;
Then to escape the cudgel, ran,
But was not missed by the goodman.
Wha lent him on the neek a loundor,
That gart him o'er the threshold Hounder.
Darkness soon hid him from their sight :
Ben flew the miller in a fright;
" I trow," quoth he, " I laid well on;
But wow, he's like our ain Mesa John I"
Saturday, July 15, 1871.
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Date of publication:
1871 shelfmark: RB.m.143(041)
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