O' A ' the waters that can hobble
A fishing yole or sa'mon coble,
An' can reward the fisher's trouble,
Or south or north,
There's nane sae spacious an' sae noble
As Frith o' Forth.
In her the skate an' codlin sail,
The eel fu' souple wags her tail,
Wi' herrin, fleuk, and mackarel,
An' whitins dainty:
Their spindle-shanks the labsters trail,
Wi' partans plenty.
Auld Reikie's sons blyth faces wear;
September's merry month is near,
That brings in Neptune's caller cheer,
New oysters fresh;
The halesomest and nicest gear
O' fish or flesh.
O! then we needna gie a plack
For dand'ring mountebank or quack,
Wha o' their drugs sae baldly crack,
An' spread sic notions,
As gar their feckless patients tak
Their stinkin' potions.
Come prie, frail man! for gin thou art sick,
The oyster is a rare cathartic,
As ever doctor patient gart lick
To cure his ails;
Whether you hae the head or heart ake,
It ay prevails.
Ye tiplers open a' your poses,
Ye wha are fash'd wi' pluky hoses,
Fling owr your craig sufficient doses,
You'll thole a hunder,
To fleg awa' your simmer roses,
An' naething under.
Whan big as burns the gutters rin,
Gin ye hae catcht a droukit skin,
To Lucky Middlemist's loup in,
An' sit fu' snug
Owr oysters and a dram o' gin,
Or haddock lug.
Whan auld Saunt Giles, at aught o'clock
Gars merchant lowns their shopies lock,
There we adjourn wi' hearty fock
To birle our bodles,
An' get wharewi' to crack our joke,
An' clear our noddles.
Whan Phœbus did his winnocks steek,
How aften at that ingle cheek
Did I my frosty fingers beek,
An' prie gude fare!
I trow there was na hame to seek
Whan steghin there.
While glakit fools, owr rife o' cash,
Pamper their wames wi' fousom trash,
I think a chiel may gayly pass;
He's nae ill boden
That gusts his gab wi' oyster sauce,
An' hen well sodden,
At Musselbrough, an' eke Newhaven,
The fisher wives will get top livin,
When lads gang out on Sunday's even
To treat their joes,
An' tak o' fat pandores a priven,
Or mussel brose.
Then sometimes, ere they flit their doup,
They'll ablins a' their siller coup
For liquor clear frae cutty stoup,
To weet their wizzen,
An' swallow owr a dainty soup,
For fear they gizzen.
A' ye wha canna staun sae sicker,
Whan twice you've toom'd the big-ars'd bicker,
Mix caller oysters wi' your liquor,
An' I'm your debtor,
If greedy priest or drouthy vicar
Will thole it better.
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