I keep a website on the Handloom Weavers of Perth at www.perthweavers.bravehost.com , and have just uploaded a poem to the site from a book which I purchased on eBay a few days ago, entitled "Harp of Perthshire", edited by Robert Ford in 1893. The poem was written by Alice Pringle.
Hankies at the ready...!
The Weaver's Bairn
A BONNIE bairn was Annie More,
The flower o' a' the toun:
A guileless bairn, owre young to ken
Her brow wore beauty's crown.
At gloamin’, at the waterside,
Amang the bairns was she;
And passers-by had wondered aft
Wha that sweet bairn might be.
Her red lips parted wi’ a smile
That was like mornin’ light,
And showed how that young heart looked out
And saw the world a’ bright.
A weaver’s bairn was that sweet wean;
Her faither at the loom
Worked late and early, think’ ne’er
That labour’s life was gloom.
For still between him and his toil,
A lovely vision gleamed;
And when he dreamed of future days,
’Twas for that bairn he dreamed.
She was the a’e flower o’ his hame,
A winsome flower o’ spring;
’Twas nae mean hame, for round the hearth
Were angels hovering.
For her sake, night and morn, he thought
The angels aye cam’ near.
Where that sweet bairn had lisped a prayer
What could there be to fear?
Her mither, wi’ her pale rose cheek,
Was glad o’ Annie’s bloom;
She couldna think that ought sae fair
Was near an earthly tomb.
She said, “Though painfu’ days are mine
And aft I'm droopin’ sair,
This bonnie bairn uplifts my heart
As health were mine ance mair.
“The queen has her bright crown o’ gold,
The duke his bonnie lands,
His lady has her jewelled rings
For sma’ and dainty hands.
“They canna think like John and me,
Wha have our bread to earn,
We have nae wealth in a’ the warld,
But just oor bonnie bairn.
“The golden curls upon her head
To us are gowd enough’;
And ilka morn it’s joy to meet
Her laughin’ e’en sae blue.
“Oh, bairnie! God in heaven is kind;
I thank Him ever mair,
Wha lets me keep thee in my arms,
Through grief, and pain, and care.”
The bairnie, wi’ her wonderin’ e’en,
Looked in her mither’s face.
The mystery of death had yet
In her young soul no place.
But fever to the toun was brought,
And to the kirkyard sune,
Wee graves wi’ new turned turf were seen
Aneath the waxin’ mune.
And Annie, in her loveliness,
Lay meekly down to dee,
Just saying wher her wee heart sank,
“Oh mither! bide wi’ me.”
“I’m her, my bairn,” she said, but sune
Ye canna ca’ for me.
Yer rosy cheek is white as snaw;
I’m feared ye’re gaun to dee.”
The bairnie opened her blue een,
And saw her mother’s tears.
A light seemed in her soul to wake,
As from no childish years.
“Oh, mither! am I gaun to dee?
Oh, faither dinna greet.
For Christ will take me up to heaven,
Where a’ the flowers are sweet,
“And when ye’re comin’ hame frae earth,
I’ll meet ye at the gate;
For there, ye ken, ’twill no be dark,
However lang I wait.”
They couldna speak, their hearts were fu’,
The wearied bairnie slept;
And through the darkness o’ the night
Their anxious watch they kept.
Small pain it seemed. The gushing tide
Of earth’s joy paused awahile,
And left a little space, before
The soul took on heaven’s smile.
With easy touch, Death took his prize
Of beauty, for decay.
She drooped, and drooped, and in the morn
She sighed her soul away.
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