The George Beattie Project - A Poet Lost in Time

 ~ FERRYDEN ~





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Ferryden, a fishing village in Craig parish, Forfarshire, on the right bank of the South Esk river, 1 mile above its mouth, directly opposite Montrose, but 1¼ mile therefrom by road. Till the river was bridged, it was the ferry-station on the road from Aberdeen, by way of Montrose, to the S of Scotland. It conducts a fishery so extensive as to employ about 200 men in boats, to send offloads of fish to the markets of Montrose, Brechin, Forfar, Dundee, Perth, and other towns, and to supply immense quantities to fish-curers in Montrose for the markets of the South. It contains a post office under Montrose, the Free church of Craig, and two public schools. Pop. (1861) 1113, (1871) 1395, (1881) 1520.— Ord. Sur., sh. 57, 1868.






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JAMIE WEST


AMONG your group of public men
Take Jamie West of Ferryden,
The king of a’ the fisher crew -
A fisher and a pilot too:
Sometimes sober - often mellow;
Still he was a pushing fellow;
Industrious as the busy bee,
He drew his riches from the sea:
For mony vessel from afar
He, skaithless, brought across the Bar,
When waves were rolling mountains high,
And tempests howling in the sky:
And moored them safely at the quay,
Where they lay snug as ships could be.
And mony _Mary_, _Jean_, and _Janet_,
He steered between the Leads, and Annet,
Down the river to the ocean,
With pleasant breeze and gentle motion;
And then the breeze that he liked best
Was his namesake breeze, from the lovely west;
For it filled their sails, and made them glide
Upon the bosom of the tide,
Some south, some north, some o’er the sea,
Like fillies frisking on the lea.
Nor did he search with less devotion
The dark recesses of the ocean, -
With hook and line and tempting bait,
Alluring to their awful fate
Cod, ling, and turbot, plaice and skate;
Which straight were carried to Monross,
And whilom vended at the Cross,
But now they’ve found a mart more meet
Than just the centre of the street.
Still Jamie West increased his store,
For he had goods and gear galore:
Besides a leal and loving wife,
The pride and comfort of his life;
With health and walth of buirdly weans,
Baith strapping lads and sturdy queans!
And, still as fortune on him smiled,
A house was reared for every child;
A clock in each to watch old time,
And cheer the inmates with its chime.
Still Jamie ran his busy race,
In health, in happiness, and peace,
Till drink - the curse of human life,
The source of sorrow and of strive -
At times, its wicked pranks began
To work upon his inner man!
For oft he moistified his skin
In jolly Ruixton’s little inn,
And other houffs - I need not tell -
The very counterparts of hell:
And then he dealt abuse and blows
Promiscuously ‘mang friends and foes.
His vengeance knew no bounds or rule;
No man was spared - not e’en Slag Coul!
Poor ill - less creature! ‘twas a sin
To het him for the constant grin
That mantled aye upon his face:
There was no laughing in the case,
Tho’ Jamie thought - (’twas all mistake)
Poor Slag was smiling at his neck:
And woe betide them, man or brat,
That dared to say "Your thrapple’s fat."
Then words would pass we dare not name -
Dark epithets of sin and shame,
And vengeful threats and foul reproach,
In neither English, Erse, nor Scotch,
But in some strange outlandish speech,
Transposing evermore the "h";
For sooth these people deem it better
To throw aside this useless letter,
Except in that especial case
Where others never give it place.
But here the mischief is not ended;
Assaulted fame must be defended;
And reparation made for blows,
Discoloured eyes and bloody nose,
With other wrongs; likewise the payment
Of broken glass and riven raiment;
And eke the worst of all disasters,
The doctors’ fees and doctors’ plasters.
But, last ava, and warst ava,
The gudgeons too maun gae tae law;
And steps are ta’en, by Lawyer Pillage,
To ruin and herry half the village.

by  George Beattie, Esquire
























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