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The End O’t

[Violet Jacob, Sandy Stanage]

The End O’t is a poem written by Violet Jacob (1863-1946), and printed in her book Bonnie Joann and Other Poems (London: John Murray, 1921).

Sylvia Barnes sang The End O’t in 2007 on her Greentrax album The Colour of Amber. She noted:

My second Violet Jacob song [on this album], tune courtesy of Sandy Stanage. The words, I think, perfectly convey the apprehension and sheer despair of a young girl caught in the age old dilemma of unwanted pregnancy.


Violet Jacob’s poem The End O’t

There’s a fine braw thistle that lifts its croon
    By the river-bank whaur the ashes stand,
An’ the swirl o’ water comes whisp’rin’ doon
    Past birk an’ bramble an’ grazin’ land.
But simmer’s flittit an’ time’s no heedin’
    A feckless lass nor a pridefu’ flow’r;
The dark to hide me’s the grace I’m needin’,
        An’ the thistle’s seedin’
            An’ my day’s owre.

I redd the hoose an’ I meat the hens
    (Oh, it’s ill to wark when ye daurna tire!)
An’ what’ll I get when my mither kens
    It’s niver a maiden that biggs her fire?
I mind my pray’rs, but I’m feared to say them,
    I hide my een, for they’re greetin’ fast,
What though I blind them for wha wad hae them?
        The licht’s ga’en frae them
            An’ my day’s past.

Oh, wha tak’s tent for a fadin’ cheek?
    No him, I’se warrant, that gar’d it fade!
There’s little love for a lass to seek
    When the coortin’s through an’ the price is paid.
Oh, aince forgotten’ s forgotten fairly,
    An’ heavy endit what’s licht begun,
But God forgie ye an’ keep ye, Chairlie,
        For the nicht’s fa’ en airly
            An’ my day’s done!