The Poets of Ulster

Students of the poetry of the island of Ireland sometimes overlook
the poets of the Northern portion of the island-Ulster. The style of these
poets is quite amazing. At times it provides Celtic flavors and at
times the flavors of nearby Scotland. Often however, it is a pleasing
country combination of the two celtic spirits. Additionally it predates
the division of the island and is therefore refreshing!

Samuel Thompson
"The Bard of Carngranny "1766-1816


TO speak the truth an'just nae mair,
Was fok at ika time agree;
At Kirk an' Market, Mill an' Fair.
How modest might our meetings be!
Were this in time to be the case,
Our Lawyers might lay by their tongues:
Our Clergy too, wi' Solem Face,
Might rarely hain their breath an'lungs!


Our mother Church, in days of old,
Had oaken caups and priests of gold;
But now with sorrow be it spoken,
Her caups are gold, her priests are oaken.

Epigram-To a Reading Preacher

With formal pomposity, how you can read,
But meddlers scoffingly mock it;
For sermons, they say, there's no room in your head,
So you bear them about in your pocket.
From your pocket it comes, but the hearer must pay,
For the pocket-bred, pitiful jargon;
And, grumbling, at close of the year, he will say,
Devil take such a profitless bargain.

Elegy, To My Auld Shoen

ADIEU my pumps, your days are done;
Ah wae is me, your race is run!
Now to the mools, my worthy shoen,
I'm forc'd to send ye!
The coblere has declar'd ye gone-
He canna'mend ye!
Tho' yet I shall be laith to scorn ye,
O'er monie a mos and moor ye've born me,
An' monie a lang an' dreary journey
Baith late, an' soon,
Thro' days an' nights cauld, wat an' stormy,
But now ye're done.
I'll say't, great pains I took alway,
To gie ye baith alike fair play:
I chang'd ye duly ilka day
I pat ye on;
But now, gude faith I'm e'en right wae,
To see ye done.
Three quarters now are near han' past,
Sin that night ye cam aff the last;
Ye never gat an hour's rest,
Save whan I slept:
Mair honest stuff was never drest
O' cawf or kip.
Nae mair my social hours ye'll dree;
Nae mair ye'll scour the daisied lee;
Nae mair to dance ye'll carry me,
Nor ever mair
Those happiest of my minutes see
Beside my fair.
But why shou'd I at fate repine?
'Tis just the same wi a' man kin':
Then let us a' to heaven reign;
For, like our shoen,
From lifes meridian we decline
Until we're done.

The Unfortunate Fiddler

AE day a wan'ring fiddler, lame,
Upon a brig sat far frae hame;
Frae tim'er case alias fram,
He drew's bread winner,
And on the range-wa' laid the same,
Alas poor sinner!
For lo, a wild unsonsy blast,
Down to the stream his fiddle cast;
Whilk hopeless on the current past,
Wi' monie a hobble,
Leaving its master all aghast,
Beset wi' trouble.
While he, wi' monie a girn an' sigh,
Bewail'd his luckless destiny,
A countra' lout was drawing nigh,
Wha frank and jolly,
Enquir'd at him the reason why
Sae melancholy?
Then bleering up, he 'gan explain
The sad occasion of his pain;
the 'big roun' tears,' like draps o' rain,
Fell o'er his beard-
'Your case I pity,' quoth the swain,
'Tis e'en right hard.
Pity my case ye senseless bl--r!
Ye quite misunderstand the matter---
Pity my fiddle, down the water!
My case ye see't-
'Humph,' quo' the fellow such ill-natur',
The Deel gae wi't


O, stranger! Whether high or low,
Or clergyman or knave,
Know that this foggy stane doth show
A noble filly's grave.
As sleek a meir as ever par'd
The daisy frae the lee;
Wha thro' her life was better shar'd
O'sense perhaps than thee.
O friend! Let this engross thy thought,
That life is but a day,
And man an 'meir alike are brought
To moulder in the clay.
The meir no more, but thou'lt exist
Beyond the silent cell;
Eithe in heaven with the blest,
Or with the damn'd in hell


Pretani Press, The Country Rhymes of Samuel Thomson The Bard of Carngranny 1766-1816,Pretani Press Bangor 1992.

______________________________________________________________________________ James Orr
"The Bard of Ballycarry" 1770-1816

The Irishman

(tune "Vive la.")
THE savage loves his native shore,
Though rude the soil and chill the air;
Well then may Erin's sons adore
Their isle, which Nature formed so fair!
What flood reflects a shore so sweet,
As Shannon great, or past'ral Bann?
Or who a friend or foe can meet,
So gen'rous as an Irishman?
His hand is rash, his hart is warm
But principle is still his guide-
None more regrets a deed of harm,
And none forgives with nobler pride.
He may be duped, but won't be dared;-
Fitter to practice than to plan,
He dearly earns his poor reward,
And spends it like an Irishman.
If strange or poor, for you he'll pay,
And guide to where you safe may be;
If you're his guest, while e'er you stay,
His cottage holds a jubilee:
His inmost soul he will unlock,
And if he should your secrets scan,
Your confidence he scorns to mock,
For faithful is an Irishman.
By honour bound in woe or weal, What'we she bids he dares to do;
Tempt him with bribes-they won't prevail,
Try him in fire, you'll find him true.
He seeks not safety: let his post
Be where it ought, in danger's van:
And if the field of fame be lost,
'Twill not be by an Irishman.
Erin, loved land! From age to age,
Be thou more great, more fam'd and free!
May peace by thine, or, should'st thoiu wage
Defensive war, cheap victory!
May plenty bloom in every field;
Which gentle breezes softly fan,
And cheerful smiles serenely gild,
The home of every Irishman!

Address to Beer

O THOU! As sober an' serene,
As misty lake, or harvest e'en
Wha proves poor Airlan's frothless frien',
In evil days;
The Bardie whom thou fill'd yestreen,Attempts thy praise.
But what's his praise! The warl agreed,
Has statues to less worth decreed:
Renoun'd Reformer! Thou hast freed
Frae suff'rins tragic,
Unnumber'd fools, wha turn'd their head
Wi' Whisky's magic
He craz'd the banes o' sots ance stout,
An'wore to rags their hindmost suit;
He gied th' affront, when frien's fell out,
Tho' kin' an' civil;
An'och! The parts o' bright repute
He soon made drivil
He forc'd the Transport to depart;
An' dragg'd the Convict to the cart:
Nae 'missioned knave, wha in a mart
Beat up fu' brisk ay,
Trepann'd the crowd wi' half the art
O' captain Whisky.
E'en rocks wha scorn'd him, when a dint
He gied them, wad hae grogg'd a mint;
Gif Prudence, wi' a halsome hint,
Fpor ance procur'd thee,
Thy quart boost ay hae half a pint,
Ere they endur'd thee
But thae daft days are chang'd in faith-
The punch glass dwarf, an' naggin baith,
As if on penance for the skaith
They brought on hashes,
Stan'idle, in the mournin' graith
O'dust an' ashes.
An' night an'day thy kettle's reekin',
For frien's wha call, thy favor seekin';
An' spen' thrifts, wint to stay a week in
The house o' pleasure,
On tenpence worth set hameward streekin,
An' hain their treasure.
Curs'd Blasphemy thou ne'er unfetters,
Nor sets base Slender on his betters;
Nae sot, owre thee, his geordies scatters
On rash daft bargains;
Nor fires his blood about State matters,
New psalms, an' organs.
Nane brawl rude sangs-nane rave-nane sleep-
Nor saw the sairs niest day they'll reap:
The mornin' dram, till times grow cheap,
E'en tiplers scorn;
An' in thy name their Shamrock steep
On Patrick's morn.-
The Muse thy pow'r inspires, is able
To spae thy triumphs will be stable;
For monie a pug wha scorn'd thy table.
Is turn'd a friend till't:
An' Folly e'en, when fashonable,
Mak's Wisdom bind tilt.
Tho' punch be trump 'mang nice tea-parties,
Whare Ceremony gloss'd wi' Art is
I see the time-an glad my heart is-
When thy big jug,
Shall mak' them drap their bits o' carties,
An' fill their mug.
An' now- whether folk choose to pull thee
Aff in cauld draughts, or warm, an' mull thee-
Whether wi' sugar'd sweets they duly
Mix up an' skink thee,-
Or wi' strong pepper, hot as July,
Ferment an' drink thee-
Ne'er may impolitic Taxtion
Bring down thy envied estimatin,
An' may nae frien' o' ERIN's nation-
(She has an here)
E'er want the price o' a potation
O'guid cheap BEER!


Pretani Press, The Country Rhymes of James Orr The Bard of Ballycarry, 1770-1816.,Bangor,1992

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