Culture

Poetry Corner: Tullochgorum

John Skinner

John Skinner credit: NickGeorge1993

On 16th of June 1807 the Rev. John Skinner, poet, theologian and Episcopalian minister of Longside in Buchan, died.

He wrote Tullochgorum, first printed in the Scots Weekly Magazine for April, 1776. Robert Burns called it ‘The First of Songs.’

Tullochgorum

Come, gi’e’s a sang, Montgomery cried,
And lay your disputes all aside,
What signifies’t for folks to chide
⁠For what’s been done before them?
Let Whig and Tory all agree,
Whig and Tory, Whig and Tory,
Let Whig and Tory all agree,
⁠To drop their Whig-mig-morum;
Let Whig and Tory all agree,
To spend the night in mirth and glee,
And cheerfu’ sing alang wi’ me
⁠The reel of Tullochgorum.

O, Tullochgorum’s my delight,
It gars us a’ in ane unite,
And ony sumph that keeps up spite,
⁠In conscience I abhor him.
Blythe and merry we’s be a’,
Blythe and merry, blythe and merry,
Blythe and merry we’s be a’.
⁠And mak’ a cheerfu’ quorum.
Blythe and merry we’s be a’,
As lang as we ha’e breath to draw,
And dance, till we be like to fa’,
⁠The reel of Tullochgorum.

There needs na’ be sae great a phraise,
Wi’ dringing dull Italian lays,
I wadna gi’e our ain strathspeys,
⁠For half a hundred score o’ ’em.
They’re douff and dowie at the best,
Douff and dowie, douff and dowie,
They’re douff and dowie at the best,
⁠Wi’ a’ their variorum.
They’re douff and dowie at the best,
Their allegros, and a’ the rest,
They canna please a Highland taste,
Compar’d wi’ Tullochgorum.

Let warldly minds themselves oppress
Wi’ fears of want, and double cess,
And sullen sots themselves distress
⁠Wi’ keeping up decorum.
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Sour and sulky, sour and sulky,
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
⁠Like auld Philosophorum?
Shall we sae sour and sulky sit,
Wi’ neither sense, nor mirth, nor wit,
Nor ever rise to shake a fit
⁠At the reel of Tullochgorum?

May choicest blessings still attend
Each honest open-hearted friend,
And calm and quiet be his end,
⁠And a’ that’s good watch o’er him!
May peace and plenty be his lot,
Peace and plenty, peace and plenty,
May peace and plenty be his lot,
⁠And dainties a great store o’ ’em
May peace and plenty be his lot,
Unstain’d by any vicious blot!
And may he never want a groat
⁠That’s fond of Tullochgorum.

But for the dirty, fawning fool,
Who wants to be oppression’s tool,
May envy gnaw his rotten soul,
⁠And discontent devour him!
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
Dool and sorrow, dool and sorrow,
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
⁠And nane say, Wae’s me for ‘im!
May dool and sorrow be his chance,
And a’ the ills that come frae France,
Whae’er he be, that winna dance
⁠The reel of Tullochgorum!

 

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