Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Friendship
“We are brethren a’”
Robert Nicoll (1814–1837)
 
A HAPPY bit hame this auld world would be
If men, when they ’re here, could make shift to agree,
An’ ilk said to his neighbor, in cottage an’ ha’,
“Come, gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.”
 
I ken na why ane wi’ anither should fight,        5
When to ’gree would make ae body cosie an’ right,
When man meets wi’ man, ’t is the best way ava,
To say, “Gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.”
 
My coat is a coarse ane, an’ yours may be fine,
And I maun drink water, while you may drink wine;        10
But we baith ha’e a leal heart, unspotted to shaw:
Sae gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.
 
The knave ye would scorn, the unfaithfu’ deride;
Ye would stand like a rock, wi’ the truth on your side;
Sae would I, an’ naught else would I value a straw:        15
Then gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.
 
Ye would scorn to do fausely by woman or man;
I haud by the right aye, as weel as I can;
We are ane in our joys, our affections, an’ a’:
Come, gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.        20
 
Your mither has lo’ed you as mithers can lo’e;
An’ mine has done for me what mithers can do;
We are ane high an’ laigh, an’ we shouldna be twa:
Sae gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.
 
We love the same simmer day, sunny and fair;        25
Hame! oh, how we love it, an’ a’ that are there!
Frae the pure air of heaven the same life we draw:
Come, gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.
 
Frail shakin’ auld age will soon come o’er us baith,
An’ creeping alang at his back will be death;        30
Syne into the same mither-yird we will fa’:
Come, gi’e me your hand,—we are brethren a’.
 
 
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