Poems of William Pyott

WILLIAM PYOTT was born at Ruthven, in Forfarshire, on the 29th August, 1851. He lived nearly all his days in Blairgowrie. His father, a native of Blair, was a mill overseer; and although not a great scholar, was what is familiarly termed “a widely read man.” To his sister, Mary, William regards himself primarily indebted for the warm love of poetry early engendered in his breast. On washing days, when his mother was busy, this sister would take him away to the braes, and beguile his thoughts from home by gathering wild flowers, and sitting down and repeating old ballads to him. Before he went to school, he was familiar with all the more stirring episodes in the lives of Wallace and Bruce, and had formed a love for books. The little education he ever got he received at a school at Craig Mill, Rattray, kept for half-time children. In his twelfth year, he was sent to work in one of the flax mills in Blair, and to the present day has continued to work and reside in that district. For many years he worked as a cloth-lapper, but recently was appointed to the more congenial situation of colporteur of the district, in which office he is widely esteemed for his obliging disposition, intelligence, and general excellence of character.

Here is one of his poems:


‘Tis pleasant to stray on the banks o’ the Ericht,
Since simmer is come baith wi’ foliage an’ flower,
When the stream flashes clear I’ the last ray o’ sunlicht,
An’ Nature proclaims it the still gloamin’ hour.

The hawthorn smiles, wi its milky white blossom,
An’ clad wi’ its tassel o’ gowd is the broom ;
The saft-fa’en dew weets the white-tippet daisy,
Sic sichts cheer the heart when the day’s wark is dune.

Free-frae the mill, wi’ its stour an’ its rumble,
How sweet on the ear fa’s the water’s saft sound ;
Awa’ frae the toun, wi its din an’ its clamour,
‘Mang beauties that Nature has scattered around.

The laverock chants loud as it sinks ‘mang the grass,
An’ blithely the robin will chirp on the thorn,
While frae the thick hazel o’ershaden the green bank
The blackbird’s saft notes come mair sweet than at morn.

Then chill breezes rustle amang the green foliage,
The sang o’ each warbler is hushed in the glades,
The braes hae resounded the last dying echo,
The valley is shrouded in nicht’s gloomy shades.

Then the moon it will rise o’er the blue looming Sidlaws,
And on the dark landscape ‘twill pour its pale beams,
An’ the clear stream will glance in the saft, mystic light,
As it murmurs alang ‘mang the grey rocks an’ stanes.

Roll on, clear Ericht, ‘mang braes that o’ershade thee;
Few bards ever sang o’ yer streamlet sae fair;
But maybe some wight yet will start up an’ praise ye,
An’ gar ye flash up wi’ the Doon an’ the Ayr.