JOCK MACTAGGART

Frae: R. De Bruce Trotter, Galloway Gossip (1901), pp. 433-434

OOT o’ the worl an inta Borgue’s a weel-kent sayin doon oor wey.

There wus a great lang swank falla leev’t aboot Borgue, an they ca’t him Jock MacTaggart, an some folk thocht he wusna verra thorough. He wus a great genius, though, an got on tae be a Gover’ment Commissioner in Canada.

It wus him yt wraet the Gallovidian Encyclopædia, yin o’ the queerest an cleverest books ever wus written.

He wus raither sair on some o’ the Natives in’t, — tell’t owre much o’ the truth, A’m dootin; an ye ken the Gallawa folk’s perfe’t devils for gaun tae law, — they say a’ the Keltic races is that, — an sae he wus pull’t up for a rhyme he put in aboot a lass they ca’t “The Star o’ Dungyle,” an his book wus brunt by the hangman at the Cross o’ Kirkcoobrie, an that’s hoo it’s sae scarce an dear noo. Gin A’m no mistaen, “The Star o’ Dungyle” wus mairy’t on John McGerran or Gerrond, the Blacksmith Poet o’ Crossmihhel.

There’s a new edition oot noo, an it’s a pity they didna get somebuddy yt ken’t aboot Scotch an aboot Gallawa tae edit it, for McTaggart had an awfu lot o’ blunders an misconceptions in’t yt micht ‘a’ been putten richt.

Whaurever McTaggart could see ony bits o’ lasses or ladies playin theirsels aboot the road, he wud gang an hing aboot them, an learn the bits o’ rhymes they wur singan, an the gyems they wur playin at; an he use’t tae gie them bools an ha’pennies tae say them ower till him; an than he put them in his book. But A doot he made odd yins oot o’ his ain heid, an that’s a pity, for it spoils the book as an authority. Hooever, ye can maistly ken his rhymes fae the real yins.

He wraet anither verra clever book the ca “Three Years in Canada,” but it’s verra scarce noo too.

A hae yin o’ his sangs yt wus publish’t as a ballat by John Nicholson, Kirkcoobie, an sung a’ athort Gallawa by the gangrels. Here it is: —

A FISH STORY

THE MERMAID

Partial Glossar

Definitions frae DSL (links are tae the relevant entries).

  • Swank ‘Of persons or animals: lithe, agile, fleet and strong; smart, well-set-up, esp. of a young man.’ [SWANK]
  • Thorough ‘Mentally alert, sane, “all there”.’ [THOROUGH]
  • Doot ‘To suspect.’ [DOOT]
  • Gin ‘If.’ [GIN]
  • Bool ‘A marble.’ [BOOL]
  • Athort ‘Across in various directions, across, all over, about.’ [ATHORT]
  • Gangrel ‘A tramp, vagrant, vagabond.’ [GANGREL]