“O lat me in, my bonny lass!
It’s a lang road ower the hill,
And the flauchterin snaw begud to fa’
On the brig ayont the mill!”
“Here’s nae change-hoose, John Munro!”
“I’ll ken that to my cost
Gien ye gar me tak the hill the nicht,
Wi’ snaw o’ the back o’ frost!
But tell me, lass, what’s my offence.”
“Weel ken ye! At the fair
Ye lichtlied me! Ay, twasna ance!–
Ye needna come nae mair!”
“I lichtlied ye?”–“Ay, ower the glass!”
“Foul-fa’ the ill-faured mou
‘At made the leein word to pass
By rowin ‘t i’ the true!
The trouth is this: I dochtna bide
To hear yer bonnie name
Whaur lawless mous war openit wide
Wi’ ill-tongued scoff and blame;
And what I said was: ‘Hoot, lat sit!
She’s but a bairn, the lass!’
It turnt the spait o’ words a bit,
And loot yer fair name pass.”
“Thank ye for naething, John Munro!
My name it needna hide;
It’s no a drucken sough wud gar
Me turn my heid aside!”
“O Elsie, lassie, be yersel!
The snaw-stour’s driftin thrang!
O tak me in, the win’ ‘s sae snell,
And in an hour I’ll gang.”
“I downa pay ye guid for ill,
Ye heedna fause and true!
Gang back to Katie at the mill–
She loos sic like as you!”
He turnt his fit; she heardna mair.
The lift was like to fa’;
And Elsie’s hert grew grit and sair
At sicht o’ the drivin snaw.
She laid her doon, but no to sleep,
Her verra hert was cauld;
And the sheets war like a frozen heap
O’ drift aboot her faul’d.
She rase fu’ air; the warl lay fair
And still in its windin-sheet;
At door-cheek, or at winnock-lug,
Was never a mark o’ feet!
She crap for days aboot the hoose,
Dull-futtit and hert-sair,
Aye keekin oot like a hungert moose–
But Johnnie was na there!
Lang or the spring begoud to thow
The waesome, sick-faced snaw,
Her hert was saft a’ throu and throu,
Her pride had ta’en a fa’.
And whan the wreaths war halflins gane,
And the sun was blinkin bonnie,
Oot ower the hill she wud gang her lane
To speir aboot her Johnnie.
Half ower, she cam intil a lair
O’ snaw and slush and weet:
The Lord hae mercy! what’s that there?
It was Johnnie at her feet.
Aneth the snaw his heid was smorit,
But his breist was maistly bare,
And twixt his richt ban’ and his hert
Lay a lock o’ gouden hair.
The warm win’ blew, the blackcock flew,
The lerrick muntit the skies;
The burnie ran, and a baein began,
But Johnnie wudna rise.
The sun was clear, the lift was blue,
The winter was awa;
Up cam the green gerse plentifu,
The better for the snaw;
And warm it happit Johnnie’s grave
Whaur the ae lock gouden lay;
But on Elsie’s hingin heid the lave
Was afore the barley gray.