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The Last o’ the Tinkler

[ Roud - ; Mudcat 56982 ; Violet Jacob]

The Last o’ the Tinkler is a poem written by Violet Jacob (1863-1946) from her book The Scottish Poems of Violet Jacob, Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd Ltd., 1944.

Kentigern sang The Last o’ the Tinkler in 1979 on their eponymous Topic album Kentigern. They noted:

The author of this poem, Violet Jacob (1863-1946), belonged to an old Northeastern Scots family, the Erskines of Dun, and her poetry is steeped in the lore and language of the Mearns. She is associated with the revival of dialect poetry in Scotland about 1920. Many volumes of her poems were published, and her work still appears in most collections of Scottish verse. The poem has been happily matched by Sylvia [Barnes] to a traditional tune. (We would like to thank Millicent Lovett, Violet Jacob’s niece, for permission to use the poem in this way.) The pipe solo is taken from the first line of the piobaireachd The Old Woman’s Lullaby.

Gibb Todd sang The Last of the Tinkler in 1999 on his Lochshore CD Connected.


Violet Jacob’s poem The Last o’ the Tinkler

Lay me in yon place, lad,
The gloamin’s thick wi’ nicht;
I canna see yer face, lad,
For my een’s no richt.
But it’s owre late for leein’
An’ I ken fine I’m deein’,
Like an auld craw fleein’
Tae the last o’ the licht.

The kye gang tae the byre, lad,
The sheep tae the fauld,
Ye’ll mak a spunk o’ fire, lad,
For my he’rt’s turned cauld;
And whaur the trees are meetin’
There’s a soond like waters beatin’,
An’ the bird seems near tae greetin’
That was aye singin’ bauld.

There’s just the tent tae leave, lad,
I’ve gaither’d little gear,
There’s just yersel’ tae grieve, lad,
And the auld dog here;
But when the morn comes creepin’
And the waukin’ birds are cheepin’
It’ll find me lyin’ sleepin’
As I’ve slept saxty year.

Ye’ll rise tae meet the sun, lad,
And baith be trayv’lin’ west,
But me that’s auld an’ done, lad,
I’ll bide an’ tak my rest;
For the grey heid is bendin’
And the auld shune’s needin’ mendin’,
But the trayv’lin’s near its endin’,
An’ the end’s aye the best.