Crieff in the early Victorian Days

The following little poem  is about the weavers and kids  who lived in Bridgend Crieff  - a wee weaving  village within a bigger village - namely Crieff. I  found it  in an old booklet  published HK Brown a bookseller at 15 King Street in 1897 and reflects  life in  a by gone era . Hope  you enjoy it a s much as I did !


‘Tis on a lovely day in June

When shuttles play their lively tune
When summer’s sun shines forth on high
A throws a blaze across the sky
That merry boys  just out for play
Espy just of a little way
A fine big “ deilie “ – full of grace
A tempting prize for any race
Knowing soon the day must close
It quickly flies  from bud  to rose
So gaily flitting past the flowers 
It passes on to higher powers
The youngsters  start , with ready grace
And to the butterfly  give chase
Running off with childish hearts
Each for  a separate corner starts
But, when a bonnet at it flies
It rises upwards in the skies
And soaring far above their heads
Lights down upon a sweet briar hedge
Leaping on with boisterous glee
The rogue  behind  a blade they see.
Getting near with utmost caution
Scarce they set a twig in motion
They feast their eyes  upon the “ deil “
Which calmly sits at evening meal.
Along the hedge they slowly creep-
All tongues the utmost silence keep ;
But just when close upon their prey ,
It rises  up and turns away ,
And down the street, at fastest pace ,
It flutters  , with the boys in chase .
The weavers  hear the deafening noise ,
As past their windows charge the boys ;
And. What the sounds import ,
Rush from their looms  and join the sport .
Down the street they scamper on
And soon  they head the merry throng
For weapons  some have cabbage blades ,
Some kail-stocks , and some have spades ;
Some clutch at mutches  out to dry ,
While some a common broom stick ply;
Some seize a towel , some a shirt
As from their looms  they madly skirt ;
While some , with paling – posts  and sticks
Among the yelling huntsmen mix .
Hearing the approaching cries
The hens  outstretch their wings and rise
And settling high upon the roof
They cackle  forth a loud reproof
The grumphie  hides  behind the “ cree “
The cat it climbs  the nearest tree
While ducks  a- feeding in the mud
Before the awful tempest scud .
Ere yet  the “ deil “ has crossed the Earn
A hundred eyes its spots discern;
But , knowing safely in the breech
It keeps its flight wellout of reach
Bridgenders  , catching the alarm ,
And knowing sport in  all its charm
Join heartily  among the crew
Who close  upon the “ deil “ pursue
The butterfly with eager flight
Makes for a hilltop  now in sight
Where blood was spilt in days of yore ,
In wiping  off a clansman’s sore ;-
Where Murrays paid the price  of cattle
By losing all their men in battle
The “ deilie “ holds upon its course
The leaders  try the pace to force ,
And when  the Torleum hill is won
The huntsmen follow  one by one .
Sometimes  the “beastie “ spots a rose ,
And tempted  , to the ground it goes ;
But when a dozen missiles fly ,
It darts again  into the sky ,
And, charging forward  in its flight
It notes the near approach of night
As weavers spank o’er hill and glade
The daylight soon begins to fade ;
But while  the gaudy game ‘s in sight
They feel  their hopes are ever bright
Now , wild and panting with the race
But ever game upon the chase
They run as only deer hound can
To suit the sporting mind of man
The “ deilie “ startled  by the sound
Which echoes from the fields around ,
Decides the earn  agin to clear
And for the Laggan Hill to steer
Far over thistle , whin and fern
The weavers reach  the banks of Earn ;
But in the quickly darkening night
The little “ deil “ is lost to sight
When in the sky  they see it soar
The huntsmen know  the chase is o’er ;
And, as slowly home  they ramble 
Swear “the game ain’t worth the candle .”


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