Died 24th September, 1889,
Aged 77 Years.
Right sorry were we all to hear of James McMourtrie's death,
Few cleverer, worthier, gude old chaps has death deprived of breath:
Well known as "Old Mortality" through all the country side,
He kept old gravestones in repair within a district wide.
The inscriptions which he cut were always distinct and neat,
And few the sculptors were who could Mourtrie in this way beat:
Nor yet confined he his art to monuments alone,
But engraved on copper, silver, wood, and steel as well as stone.
Full many a village sign board his handiwork displays,
His stamps for marking sacks and tools will be used many days;
When at the smithy cronies meet and have a social crack,
They will talk abont him and will say," a clever man was Mac."
A king 'mongst tradesmen too he was, all his work tools he made,
(And of none except a smith can the selfsame be said,)
He made machines to restrike files and iron to caukers make,
But of none of these inventions did he advantage take.
A thinking, handy, plodding man-a genius scarce known-
Who had he been placed better, as an artist would have shone-
He quietly slipped through a life of seventy seven years,
Content with little while he lived within this vale of tears.
Riches he never coveted, nor for them ever strove,
For such is not the object of the true artist's love;
For hours he'd labour eidently within some auld kirkyard,
Then lay him down and rest a while upon the fresh green sward.
His fare was of the humblest, and often little more
Than bread and Cheese and water composed his whole store;
But when weariness, or grief, or care his honest heart oppressed,
He would take a gill of whiskey, saying," let it be the best."
Who on his lowly gravestone will cut McMourtrie's name,
And thus unto posterity preserve friend James's fame ?
That it should be forgotten, pity and shame would be,
For well he earned his well known name of " Old Mortality."
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Probable date published:
1885 shelfmark: APS.3.82.6
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