Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween.  No post tonight. I'm busy distributing Type II diabetes  to the neighborhood kids. For readers outside of New England, the mysterious candy in that image below is a Peanut Chew. You have no idea what you are missing.

In honor of the holiday I copied a poem by John Mayne from an 1805 issue of the Scottish Miscellany.  It dates back to 1780.  It is often cited as one of the earliest recorded works about the holiday but its usually quoted in part. I offer it here in it's entirety, because the internet is infinitely large and there is no longer a reason not to. I left the archaic spelling as is. I think it loses something when you modernize the spellings.  Enjoy.


The mom is our gude Hallow-e'en,
And our Court a' will ride;
Gin ony maiden wins her man,
Then she may be his bride.
     Old Ballad of the Fairy Court.

Of a' the festivals we hear,
     Frae Handsel- Monday till New-year,
There's few in Scotland held mair dear
          For mirth, I ween,
Or yet can boast o' better cheer,
     Than Hallow-e'en.

Langsyne, indeed (as now in climes
Where priests for siller pardon crimes,)
The kintry round in Popish rhimes
     Did pray and graen;
But customs vary wi' the times,
     At Hallow-e'en.

Rang'd round a bleezing ingle-side,
Where nowther cauld nor hunger bide,
The farmer's house, wi' secret pride,
     Will a' conveen;
For that day's wark is thrawn aside
     At Hallow-e'en.

Plac'd at their head, the gude-wife sits,
And deals round apples, pears, and nits,
Syne tells her guests, how, at sic bits,
     Where she has been,
Bogles hae gart fowk tine their wits
     At Hallow-e'en.

Griev'd, she recounts, how, by mis-chance,
Puir poossy's fore'd a night to prance
Wi' fairies, wha, in thousands dance
     Upon the green,
Or sail wi' witches o'er to Fraace,
     At Hallow e'en.

Syne, issu'd frae the gardy chair,
(For that's the seat of empire there,)
To kuir the table wi' what's rare,
     Commands are gi'en;
That a' fu' daintily may fare
     At Hallow-e'en.

And when they've tuim'd ilk heaped plate,
And a' things are laid out o' gate,
To ken their matrimonial mate,
     The youngsters keen,
Search a'the dark decrees o' Fate
     At Hallowe'en.

A' things prepar'd in order due,
Gosh guide's! what fearfu' pranks ensue.'
Some i' the kiln-pat thraw a cl ue,
     At whilk, bedeen,
Their sweet-hearts by the far-end pu',
     At Hallow-e'en.

Ithers, wi' some uncanny gift,
In an auld barn a riddle lift,
Where thrice pretending corn to sift,
     Wi' charms between,
Their Joe appears as white as drift,
     At Hallow-e'en.

But 'twere a langsome tale to tell
The gates o' ilka charm and spell:
Aince, gaun to saw hemp-seed himsel',
     Puir Jock M'Lean,
Plump in a filthy peat-pot fell,
     At Hallow-e'en.

Ha'f fell'd wi' fear, and droolkit weel,
He frae the mire dught hardly speel;
But frae that time, the silly chiel
     Did never grein
To cast his cantrips wi' the de'll
     At Hallow-e'en

O, Scotland! fam'd for scenes like this;
That thy sons wauk where wisdom is,
Till death in everlasting bliss
     Shall steik their ein,
Will ever be the constant wish
     At Hallow-e'en