Now darkness blackens a' the streets;
The rowan e'e nae object meets,
Save yon cauld cawsey lamp,
That has survived the dreary night,
And lanely beams wi blinking light,
Right desolate and damp.

Fore-doors and winnooks still are steeket,
And cats, wi' silent step, and sleeket,
Watch whare the rattons twirl;
Or met in yards, like squads o' witches,
Rive ither's hair out wi' their clutches,
An' screech wi' eldritch skirl.

Now mony a ane secure frae harm,
Lies row't in blankets snug and warm,
Amused wi' gowden dreams;
While ithers scart their sides and lugs,
Tormented wi' infernal bugs,
Thick swarming frae the seams.

Some sunk amid their kimmers' arms,
Are hugging matrimonial charms,
In bliss and rapture deep;
Some turning, curse the greeting wight
For skirling a' the live-long-night,
And keeping them frae sleep.

Some weary wight, perhaps like me,
Doom'd poverty's distress to dree,
Misfortune's meagre brither;
Now dauners out beneath the starns,
Wi' plans perplexing still his harns,
To keep his banes thegither.

Now lasses start their fires to kin'le,
And load the chimly wi' a tanle
O' bleezing coals and cinders;
Syne scowr their stoups and tankards clear,
An glasses dight wi' canny care,
To grace the gentry's dinners.

Wi' clippit feathers, kame and chirle,
The gamester's cock, frae some auld burrel,
Proclaims the morning near;
Ilk chief now free his hammock jumps,
The floor receives their lang bare stumps,
And wives and a's asteer.

Now reek rows briskly out the lums;
Loud through the street the piper bums;
In highland vigour gay
Doors, hatches, winnock-brods are steering;
And ev'ry ane in short's preparing,
To meet the toils o' day.