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On Cassilis Downans* dance,
On sprightly coursers prance ;
Beneath the moon's pale beams; There, up the Covent to stray an' rove Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night.
Where Doon ring, wimplin, clear,
An' shook the Carrick spear,
friendly, countra folks,
Fu' blythe that night.
Mair braw than when they're fine ;
. Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbour. hood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.
+ A noted cavern near Colenn house, called The Cove of Colean; which, as Cassilis Downans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies.
# The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.
VOL. XXXVIII. M
Their faces blythe, fu’ sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin'; The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, an’some wi' gabs, Gar lasses' hearts gang startin
Whiles fast at night.
Their stocks* maun a' be sought ance ;
For muckle anes an' straught anes. Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
An' wander'd thro' the bow-kail, An' pow't, for want o' better shift, A runt was like a sow-tail,
Sae bow't that night,
They roar an' cry a' throu’ther;
Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther;
• The first ceremony of Halloween is, paling each a stock, or plant of kail. They must go ont, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with. Its being big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the husband or wife. If any yird, or earlla, stick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and the state of the custoc, that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the christian names of the people whom chance brings into the house, are, according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in question.
An' gif the custoc's sweet or sour,
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
To lie that night.
To pou their stalks o' corn ; *
Behint the muckle thorn:
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses ;
Wi' him that night.
Are round an' round divided,
Are there that night decided : Some kindle, couthie, side by side,
An'burn thegither trimly ;
They go to the barn-yard and pull each, at three several times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the top-pickle, that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage.bed any thing but a maid.
+ When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c, makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind : this he calls a fause-house.
Burning the nuts is a famous charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire, and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue of the courtship will be.
Some start awa wi' saucy pride,
Fu' high that night.
Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
She says in to hersel :
As they wad never mair part;
To see't that night.
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie :
To be compar'd to Willie:
An' her ain fit it brunt it;
To be that night.
She pits hersel an’ Rob in;
Till white in ase they're sobbin:
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stowlins, prie'd her bonny mou,
Unseen that night
But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
And slips out by hersel :
An' to the kiln she goes then,
Right fear't that night.
I wat she made nae jaukin ;
Guid L-d! but she was quakin!
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en', Or whether it was Andrew Bell, She did na wait on talkin
To spier that night.
* Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot a clue of blue yarn ; wind it in a new clue off the old one; and, towards the latter end, something will hold the thread; demand wha hauds ? i. e. who holds ? an answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the christian and surname of your future spouse.