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Poems of William Pyott

My mother's great aunt Margaret was married to a William Pyott in 1877.  His name came up amongst paperwork I was typing up so I asked someone who he was.  He kindly loaned me two books.  I thought some of you might enjoy reading a couple of Pyott's poems.

Pat McCarthy



WILLIAM PYOTT was born at Ruthven, in Forfarshire, on the 29th August, 1851.  He lived nearly all his days in Blairgowrie (Infact Rattray I believe).  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.


A volume of his poems and songs, first published at Blairgowrie in 1869, is now in its third edition, and deservedly popular.

(From "The Harp of Perthshire" by Alex. Gardner 1893





‘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.






Some sing o’ wonders they ha’e seen,

In lands ayont the sea,

But something wi’ a sough o’ hame,

That’s aye the sang for me,

We winna gang to ither climes,

To seek for ferlies rare;

We’ll sing about our ain toun-

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


In days langsyne our ain toun

Was but a clachan sma’-

Some scattered hoosies an’ a kirk,

We’ scarce a shop ava.

The lass wha had a taste for braws,

Bid just the farther far,

Sae hamet was our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


Wild Erich in its ancient pride

Gaed roaring ower the Linn,

An’ skillie bodies took a thocht,

That they might card an’ spin.

They startit mills alang its banks,

They made the scene less fair ;

But wealth cam’ to our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


What changes then, new fangled shops

Arose in stately raw,

The clachan, wi’ its roofs o’ thatch,

Gied place to biggins braw.

Syne craftsmen, priests, an doctors cam’,

Our growin’ wealth to share,

An’ famous grew our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


A cheerie spot’s our ain toun,

Kissed by each sunny ray;

There’s genius in our ain toun,

It’s thriving ilka day.

There’s kind hearts in our ain toun,

Wi’ something aye to spare.

O blessings on our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


The Ericht frae the hielant hills,

Sae caller an’ sae clear,

Rins wimplin’ by our ain toun ;

We like its voice to hear.

An’ frae the hill the kirk looks doun

Wi’ calm and solemn air ;

Meet guardian o’ our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


There’s laddies in our ain toun

That baith can’ tak’ an gi’e ;

O wha can match our ain toun,

When they’re in social key?

There’s lassies in our ain toun

The first amang the fair,

Wha’s smilies mak’ bricht our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


Then honour to our ain toun,

Still may she prosperous be ;

I fain wad sing our ain toun

In sweeter minstrelsy.

My father lo’ed our ain toun,

My mither’s grave is there ;

A hallowed spot’s our ain toun –

Our bonnie toun o’ Blair.


(From "POEMS AND SONGS" by William Pyott, Rattray - 1885)


Our thanks to Pat McCarthy for sending this into us.

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