Poetry Corner: The Gentle Shepherd

On this day 6th August 1796 Scottish artist, David Allan, died. Allan was noted for his historical subjects and portraits and was nicknamed the “Scottish Hogarth”. In addition to his portraits, Allan provided illustrations for Allan Ramsay‘s ‘The Gentle Shepherd’ and for some of the poems of Robert Burns, including engravings of ‘Tam o’Shanter’ and ‘The Cotter’s Saturday Night’. [Scotclans]


A Highland Dance by David Allan

Extracts from The Gentle Shepherd: Patie and Peggy
By Allan Ramsay (1686–1758)

BY the delicious warmness of thy mouth

And rowing  eye, which smiling tells the truth,

I guess, my lassie, that, as well as I,

You ’re made for love, and why should ye deny?
But ken ye, lad, gin we confess o’er soon,

Ye think us cheap, and syne the wooing ’s done:

The maiden that o’er quickly tines her power,

Like unripe fruit will taste but hard and sour.
But when they hing o’er lang upon the tree,

Their sweetness they may tine, and sae may ye;

Red-cheeked you completely ripe appear,

And I have tholed and wooed a lang half-year.
Then dinna pu’ me; gently thus I fa’

Into my Patie’s arms for good and a’.

But stint your wishes to this kind embrace,

And mint  nae farther till we ’ve got the grace.
O charming armfu’! Hence, ye cares away.

I ’ll kiss my treasure a’ the livelang day:

A’ night I ’ll dream my kisses o’er again,

Till that day come that ye ’ll be a’ my ain.


The Craigy Bield by David Allan from The Gentle Shepherd

Sun, gallop down the westling skies,

Gang soon to bed, and quickly rise;

O lash your steeds, post time away,

And haste about our bridal day;

And if ye ’re wearied, honest light,

Sleep, gin ye like, a week that night.

More can be found at Bartleby.com

The Gentle Shepherd was one of the most popular plays of the 18th C. It is suggested by some that it inspired the Beggars Opera by John Gay.




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