The Auld Residenter

By the Late James Read

Nae doots ye hae heard o' auld Hester McAdam
A saucy auld wench – a carnaptious auld madam,
Wha's lost a' the charms that Dame Nature had lent her,
But still she can boast she's an auld residenter.

She leuks with disdain on the Lewcomes and Soupers,
An' turns up her nose at sic vile interloupers,
She'll gossip wi' nane but the Taylors and Prenters,
An' hates a' the town but the auld residenters.

She cares na for pedigree, class, or religion,
Nae matter how civil, polite, or obligin';
Her choice is na Churchman or sicker Dissenter,
Just gie the han' o' some auld residenter.

In youth's rosy morn she had offers o' marriage,
Whilk had she accepted, she'd noo keep her carriage,
But o' course she refused them, as nane could content her,
An' wad recognise nane but some auld residenter.

The Browns her society sought wi' affection,
The Smiths paid her veesits wi' a' their connexion;
But she wadna admit that sic upstarts e'en kent her,
An' spurned a' the batch but some auld residenter.

Her brow, ance sae white, noo exhibits a wrinkle,
Her e'e, ance sae bright, has lost maist o' its twinkle,
But she aye has a notion that some ane may venture
To ask for the han' o' the auld residenter.

An' as time passes on, her companions wax fewer,
An' in vain the new comers speak civilly to her;
But her heart is as frozen an' frigid as winter,
Save when thaw'd o'er a cup wi' some auld residenter.

The fauts an' the failin's o' ithers she knows them,
But, except in a whisper, she wadna disclose them;
For scandals she'l ne'er hae tae repent her,
Sae fautless and fair is the auld residenter.

She tells the town annals for some generations,
Can chronicle a' frae her shrewd observations;
An' her tongue gaes as glibe as a colt at a canter,
Sae flippant and fluent's the auld residenter.

Ilk auld maiden's age she can tell wi' precision,
An' is prudently partial tae simple addiction;
She can sing sic a psalm as wad shame the precenter,
Sae sweet an' devout is the auld residenter.

Should a' frien's forsake she aye has her solace,
An' she winna indulge in the wormwood of malice;
But she'll hug tae her heart her auld frien' the decanter,
That never deserted an auld residenter.

An' when death steeks her mou', an' her cunnin' eye closes,
An' deep in the kirk–yard her cauld heart reposes;
We'll set up a tablet tae serve as a mentor,
An' simply inscribe on't, 'AN AULD RESIDENTER'

James Read

<< Back


James Read

This poem was composed by the late Mr James Read, formerly postmaster of Larne, and editor and proprietor of the Larne Reporter, in the columns of which journal it originally appeared on the morning of his death. A sad incident in connection with the piece, and forcibly showing "the uncertainty of life at all times," is the fact that the author "never saw the eleventh verse in print" - the original M.S. only containing the remaining stanzas. This verse Mr Read composed after reading "the proof sheet," and he received "the last call" before its publication.