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This appeared as an appendix to the paper given by Rev W.A.P. Johnman, MA, which appears elsewhere in this journal.

The poem appeared in Caw’s Poetical Museum published in Hawick in 1784. This note ac- companies it - the Editor cannot determine exactly “the time of the celebrated piper’s death, but as his elegy has been out of print for at least these fifty years past, we may suppose he did not live within this century.” The Hastie family are reputed to have held the office of town piper of Jedburgh from 1500. John was a common patronymic, and, according to gen- eral acceptance, one of the name inspired with his pipes the Jethart contingent of Flodden’s fatal day, and that he lived to bring his instrument with him. But it has disappeared. The elegy is not in honour of the redoubtable Robin or “Rob the Ranter,” but of his uncle who immediately preceded him. And while the strains are rugged, they show him to have been possessed in full measure of the popular qualities of his historical nephew:-


O death thou wreck of young and auld, How slie, and O how dreadfu’ bald!

Thou came unlooked for, nor anes tald

What was the crime;

But Hasty at the mouth turned cald Just at his prime.

We mourn the loss o’ mensfu’ [courteous] John;

Yet greet in vain since he is gone ; A blyther lad ne’er buir a drone, Nor touched a fill [finger hole]; Nor pipe inspir’d wi’ sweeter tone, Or better skill.

Not Orpheus auld, with lyric sound, Wha in a ring gard stanes dance round, Was ever half so much renown’d

For jig and solo -

Now he lies dum aneath the ground An’ we man [must] follow.

At brydels, when his face we saw, Lads, lasses, bridegoom, bride and a’ Smilin, cry’d, Jhohnie come awa’,

A welcome guest;

The inchanting chanter out he’d draw - His pleas’d us best.


The spring that ilk ane lik’d he kend ; Auld wives at sixty years wad stend [leap]; New pith his pipes their libs did lend, Bewitching reed!

‘Las that his winsome sell sou’d bend Sae soon his head.

Whan bagpipes new fangl’d lugs had tir’d, They’d sneer ; then he, like ane inspir’d, Wi’s fiddle teir faggin’ [wearied] spirits fir’d,

Or e’er they wist [wished] ;

Gi’ every taste what they desir’d, He never mist.

Then with new keenness wad they caper He sliely smudg’d [smiled] to see them vapoer [fling];

And, if some glakit [daft] girl shou’d snap- per [trip],

He’d gi’ a wink,

Fie lads, quoth he, had aff, ne’er stop her, She wants a drink

If a young swankie wi’ his joe sweetheart],

In some dark nook play’d bogle-bo [hide

and seek],

John shook his head, and said, why no ; Can flesh and blood

Stand pipe and dance and never show


Their metal good.

Not country squire, nor lord, nor laird, But for John Hasty had regard ;

With minstrels mean he ne’er wad herd; Nor fash [bother] his head ;

Now he’s received his last reward - Poor man, he’s dead.

He hated a’ your sneaking gates [ways], To play for bear, for pease, or ates [oats] His aul aspir’ to higher fates,

A mensfu’ John !

Our tears come rapping down in spates, Since thou art gone.

Whan other pipers steal’d away, He gently down his join wad lay ; Nor hardly wad take hire for play, Sic was his mense [decency] !

We rair aloud the ruefu’ day That took him hence.

John, whan he play’d, ne’er threw his face, Like a’ the girning piper race ;

But set it aff wi’ sic a grace What pleas’d us a’ ;

Now dull and drierie is our case Since John’s awa’.

Ilk tune, mair serious or mair gay, To humour he had sic a way ;

He’d look precise, and smile and play, As suited best;

But Death has laid him in the clay - Well may he rest.

A fiddle spring [dance] he’d let us hear, I think they ca’d it “Nidge-nod-near,”

He’ gie a punk [pluck], and look sae queer, Without a joke,

You’d swore, he spoke words plain and clear,

At ilka stroke.


It did ane good to hear his tale, O’er a punch bowl or pint o’ ale ; Nae company e’er green’d to skaill [yearned to disperse],

If John was by ;

Alas! that sic a man was frail, And born to die.

But we his mem’ry dear shall mind, While billows rair [roar], or blaws the wind;

To tak’ him hence Death was no kind - O dismal feed !

We’ll never sic anither find, Since Johnie’s dead.

Minstrels of merit, ilk ane come,

Sough moumfu’ notes o’er Johnie’s tomb; Through fields of art applaud him home

I hop he’s weel ;

His worth, nae doubt, has saved him from- The muckle de’l.


Here lies dear John, whase pipe and drone, And fiddle aft has made us glad;

Whase cheerfu’ face our feasts did grace A sweet and merry lad.