Ballad of the Flood

“Last night I dreamed a gashly dream,
Before the dirl o' day.
A twining worm cam oot the wast;
Its back was like the slae.

“It ganted wide, as deid men gant,
Turned three times on its tail,
And wapped itsel' the warld around
Till ilka rock did wail.

“Its belly was blacker than the coal,
It wapped sae close aboot,
It brak the hills in pieces sma'
And shut the heavens oot.

“Repent, repent, my folk, repent,
Repent and turn around!
The hills are sinking in the sea,
The warld has got a stound.”

The braw lads woke beside their makes,
And drowsy were their e'en:
“O I wat this is anither day
As every day has been.

“And we sall joy to-day, my luve,
Sall dance to harp and horn;
And I'll devise anither play
When we walk oot the morn.

“But on the neist high day we twa
Through the kirk door sall gae;
For sair I fear lest we sall brenn
In living fire alway.”

They looked around on every wa',
And drowsy were their e'en.
The day rase up aboon the east
As every day had been.

But Noah took a plank o' aik,
Anither o' the pine,
And bigged a hoose for a' his folk
To sail upon the brine.

“Gang oot, gang oot, and ca' the beasts,
Ca' twa o' every kind,
To sail upon this cracking shell
When a' the hills are blind.

“Ca' but, ca' but, and they'll rin fast
As sune's they hear your voice,
For they hae heard amang the hills,
I wat, a boding noise.

“They cry a' night aboot the hoose,
And I hae ruth to see
Sae mony innocent creatures die
For man's iniquity.”

Noah's sons went oot into the fields,
Ca'd twa o' every kind.
They cam frae the east, they cam frae the wast,
And followed close behind.

And some were brighter than the sun,
Some blacker than the coal.
The lark was wiléd frae the sky,
The serpent frae the hole.

And they were as meek as blessed sauls
Assoilzied o' their sin;
They bowed their heids in thankfulness
Whenas they entered in.

“Come in, come in, my people a'!
The sea has drunk the plain.
The hills are falling in the flood;
The sun has doonward gane.”

The rain it rained baith day and night,
And the wind cam together.
The water rase like a lang straight line
Frae ae hill to the tither.

The Ark span like a cockle shell,
Ran east and then ran wast.
“Noo, God us save,” auld Noah cried,
“The warld is sinking fast.”

The beasts they hid amang the shaws,
And loud and sair cried they;
They sabbed and maned the leelang night
And focht the leelang day;

That the creatures in the Ark were sair
Astonied at the sound;
They trembled sae they shak the hoose
As it were in a swound.

But syne there was nae crying mair
Across the dowie sea.
“I wat,” said Noah, “the warld is sunk
Frae plain to hill-top heigh.”

The first day that auld Noah sailed,
The green trees floated by.
The second day that auld Noah sailed,
He heard a woman's cry.

And tables set wi' meats were there,
Gowd beakers set wi' wine,
And twa lovers on a silken couch,
A-sailing on the brine.

They soomed upon the hameless sea,
And sad sad were their e'en:
“O tak' me in thy ship, auld man,
And I'll please thee, I ween.”

“Haud off, haud off,” auld Noah cried,
“Ye comena in to me!
Droon deep, droon deep, ye harlot fause,
Ye wadna list to me!”

She wrang her hands, she kissed her make,
She lap into the sea.
But Noah turned and laughed fu' loud:
“To hell, I wat, gang ye!

“To hell the hale warld gangs this day,
But and my folk sae gude.
Sail on, sail on, till Ararat
Lifts up aboon the flood.”

The third day that auld Noah sailed
There was nae sign ava'.
The water rase on every side
Like a weel-biggéd wa'.

The astonied ships upon the sea
Tacked round and round aboot,
Till the dragons rising frae the glaur
Sucked a' their timbers oot.

Ane after ane, ane after ane,
They sank into the sea;
And there was nane left on the earth
Save the Ark's companie.

But every day the dragons cam
And played the Ark around.
They lay upon the faem and sang:
It was a luvely sound.

“Why stand ye at the window, my sons?
What hope ye there to see?”
“We wad see a gudely ha', faither,
Set in the green countrie.

“But we see naught but water, water,
We've seen this mony a day,
And the silly fishes in the faem
That soom around in play.”

“Sail on, sail on,” auld Noah cried,
“Sail on, sail on alway!
I wat we'll sail around the warld
Until the Judgment Day!”

Noah sent a doo far owre the sea;
It flew into the south;
It stayed four days and cam again
Wi' a leaf within its mouth.

Noah sent a doo far owre the sea;
It to the wast is ta'en;
It tarried late, it tarried lang,
And cam'na back again.

“O what's yon green hill in the wast,
Set round wi' mony a tree?”
“I wat it is Mount Ararat
New risen frae the sea.”

He's set the Ark for Ararat,
He's plied her owre the faem,
He's lighted doon at Ararat,
And there he's made his hame.
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