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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Poverty Parts Gude Companie

Joanna Baillie (1762–1851)

WHEN my o’erlay was white as the foam o’ the lin,

And siller was chinkin my pouches within,

When my lambkins were bleatin on meadow and brae,

As I went to my love in new cleeding sae gay,

Kind was she, and my friends were free,

But poverty parts good company.

How swift pass’d the minutes and hours of delight,

The piper play’d cheerly, the crusie burn’d bright,

And link’d in my hand was the maiden sae dear,

As she footed the floor in her holyday gear!

Woe is me; and can it then be,

That poverty parts sic company?

We met at the fair, and we met at the kirk,

We met i’ the sunshine, we met i’ the mirk;

And the sound o’ her voice, and the blinks o’ her een,

The cheerin and life of my bosom hae been.

Leaves frae the tree, at Martinmass flee,

And poverty parts sweet company.

At bridal and in fair, I braced me wi’ pride,

The broose I hae won, and a kiss o’ the bride;

And loud was the laughter good fellows among,

As I utter’d my banter or chorus’d my song;

Dowie and dree are jestin and glee,

When poverty spoils good company.

Wherever I gaed kindly lasses look’d sweet,

And mithers and aunties were unco discreet;

While kebbuck and bicker were set on the board;

But now they pass by me, and never a word!

Sae let it be, for the worldly and slee

Wi’ poverty keep nae company.

But the hope of my love is a cure for its smart,

And the spae-wife has tauld me to keep up my heart,

For, wi’ my last saxpence, her loof I hae crost,

And the bliss that is fated can never be lost.

Though cruelly we may ilka day see

How poverty parts dear company.