Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ma Duchess Umwhile

Ma duchess umwhile's pent on thonder waw,
Aye leukin vieve an tae the fore. A caw
Thon darg a wunner, nou: Fra Pandolf's haunds
Wrocht eydent for a day, an thare she staunds.
Ay, sit ye doun an leuk at her. A said
"Fra Pandolf" wilfully, for niver redd
Ootlins lik you thon picturt contenance,
The depth an passion o its inwart glance.
But tae masel thay turnt (the'r nane but me
Pous back the hingin A hae drawn for ye)
An haed the leuk o speirin, if thay durst,
Hou sicna sklent cam thare; ye'r no the first
Tae turn an frain me. Schir, it wisna aye
Her guidman's sicht its lane that cried thon fey
An flichterin rose intae her lyre: Perhaps
Fra Pandolf said "Ma leddy's kirtle haps
In mirk her perfit shackle," or "Nae brush
Coud e'er depent as vieve the infant blush
That steals alang her hause syne dees": his souch
Wis pleisance-born, she thocht, an cause eneuch
For cryin furth thon rose. Ower suin made fain,
A'm thinkin, wis the hert she cried her ain
Ower easy left imprent; awthing she saw,
The sindry airts she leukit, she loued aw.
It wis aw ane tae her! Ma hert's desire,
The bleize o dayligaun in wastlin fire,
The beuch o cherries that some breingin smirn
Brak in the arbour for her, the white girran
She rade wi roond the terrace - near ilkane
Wad draw frae her alike the leefu rane
Or blush, at laist. The men she thankit - guid!
But thankit thaim as war true feelin hid,
As war ma line's nine hunder year o fame
An equal giftie. Wha wad stoop tae blame
This kin o trump'rie? E'en gin ye haed skeel
In wirds - (that A'm athoot) - tae bring tae heel
The ungrate debetrix, an say "Juist this
Or that in you is uggsome; here ye miss
Or thare debord the merk" - e'en gin she lat
Hersel be doctrined sae, nor man'fest pat
Her wits gin yours, atweel, pretendit than
A raison - that war stoopin; an A can
For nae Christian stoop. Schir, she smued, nae dout
Whan A gaed by, but wha wad gang athoot
An equal smue? This growed; A gied commaunds;
Syne aw smues dwyned thegither. Thare she staunds,
Aye leukin vieve. Ye'r sittin stieve. A'd fain
Gang doun an hailse the troop ablo. Again,
The Coont yer maister's weel-kent walth an mense
Gies siccar warrandice nae juist pretence
O mine for tochar will be disalloued
Tho his bairn's bonny sel, as A avoued
At stairtin, is ma ettle. Lat the pair
O us descend. But notice Neptune thare,
Dauntin a sea-horse, thocht a rarity,
That Claus o Innsbruck cuist in bronze for me!

Robert Browning (1812-99)

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