1. Be easy, a' ye folks o' lear, An' dinna' criticeese me, An' I'll describe a Chryston Fair Afore the thocht o't lea's me. Whan hairst is feckly fochten o'er, An' fiel's are wearin' bare, An' winter shootin' in a glow'r, We haud the Chryston Fair Wi' glee that nicht. 2. Twa nichts or three, e'er it come on, The lads set oot fu' keen, To tryst their lasses to come yon' Twa hours on Furesday 'teen; Wi' chairges aye tae keep by them, Whae'er may pouk their gouns, An' nane s'al part them for a game, At clawin' ither's croons Wi' sticks that nicht. 3. The change folk, wha expeck a sale, Baith caps an' stoups are scourin' An' settin' every cock an' pale In ready key for pourin' ; The tailors, tae, maun fung awa', Oh else they'll har'ly mak' it ; For bien folk's callans maun be braw, Wi' calshes an' a jacket Sprit-new that day. 4. The weans are up by screigh o' day, A' roarin' on the causey; Some wi' the lave will har'ly play, Their claes mak' them sae saucy The sweetie-wives, in twas an' threes, Are spreadin' oot their staun's, While bairns assemble wi' bawbees In pooches an' in haun's To ware that day. 5. The coupers bring their fattit kye, But hand them aye sae dear, A Chryston weaver canna' buy Himsel' a mairt the year ; Yet owre the loan they'll mak' a spread To catch them by the horns ; An' get an accidental tread On taes wi' glowin' corns, Fu' sair that day. 6. They fin' their shouther an' their back, An' glaum aboot their flank ; But at the crafty couper's crack They mak' an unco mank ; The beasts an' garse, this byegane Spring, A' roon the kintra side, Ha'e been sae dear, they a' maun bring Ten p'und within the hide Or mair this day." 7. The chapel door, at ane o'clock, Maun open be, an' ready; Its managers, douce, honest folk, Step in, baith grave an' steady; Yet ither folk staun' still a wee, An' maist ha'e need o' fleechin', For now some cash they ha'e tae gi'e, Tae pay a hauf-year's preachin' On Sabbath days.
The Village of Chryston - North Lanarkshire - Scotland
8. Whan this is owre, douce, honest men, Wha like a sober name, Tak' jist ae drink o' yill, an' then They toddle quietly hame ; The weans that ha'e a bit tae gang, Grow yapish for their dinner ; Sae noo the loan, frae bein' thrang, Is wearin' rather thinner By close o' day. 9. The lads an' lasses, wha ha'e wrocht A' day baith sair an' eiden', For twa hours back ha'e sometimes thocht The sun was lang o' hidin' ; But noo he's fairly oot o' sicht, Baith tattie graipes an' sickles Gae tapsalteerie in the flicht, Like auld fa'n-owre peat rickles At aince that nicht. 10. The lasses canna wait on meat Till aince they're drest fu' trig, Wi' laigh-heel't slippers on their feet Tae caiper at a jig; The outer door they set a'-jee, Tae keep the hoose frae reekin', But daein' sae, oot owre the lea, Fu' tentily they're keekin' For Jock that nicht. 11. He kens he maun be unco deuce If he daur venture in ; An' as he's drawin' near the hoose. He mak's but little din Till by the corner o' the howff, He gi'es a wee bit whistle, Syne collie answers wi' a yowf, While she cries in a fistle "Shoo doon," that nicht. 12. Noo blushes spread on ilka cheek, Their modest love tae shaw, But ben the hoose she first maun speak Tae tell she's gaun awa'. Then haun-for-nieve awa' fu' proud They tak' the road thegither ; But how to face a starin' crowd She's at an unca swither Sae blate that nicht. 13. The lassies syne, atween the reels, I wat they are na sparin', Aye botherin' at their neibor chiels, Tae haun them owre their fairin' ; Although the treat they wadna gi'e Thro' neither love nor pity, Yet just tae stop their tongues a wee, They rax them owre a sweetie Or twa that nicht. 14. The reck'nin' syne comes, clash for clash, A' down upon the table ; Noo thro' amang the dubs they splash To barn, byre, howff or stable ; But there I'll leave them tae theirsels, An' sae fling by my pen ; It wadna be fairplay tae tell Nor meet that I soud ken, Ocht mair this nicht.
[Every Scottish town and village had at one time its periodical Fair. On this day farmers met together on the village loan to pay their debts to one another, to trade in cattle and farm products, and to conclude bargains for future fulfilment. The evening was generally spent in the public houses or else in dancing and merriment on the loan or in some convenient barn.]
Walter Watson
The Chryston Poet