THE FIRST SWALLOW

THE FIRST SWALLOW
An’ so ye’re got back wi’ yer coat sleek as any,
Its tail like our evenin’ dress split doon the en’;
Yer een like twa dimond stars twinklin’ sae bonnie,
Aye mak’ ye at hame tho’ ye flit noo an’ then.

Ye’ll mind hoo last year ‘neath the bennermost rafter,
The clabber ye stuck up in nebfus saw wee,
Ye’ll also remember that very soon after,
Ye skirrl’t at the looks o’ the pussie an’ me.

The needfu’ wee throughban’ sae narrowly soucht for,
Ye-mixt wi’ the morter tae haud it in shape,
The bite for the wee yins ye eydently wroucht for,
An’ fill’t ilka mou’ as it upward did gape.

Hoo anxious oor watch lest some tripper or harrow,
A clear pad shud lee for the pussie tae tak,
A maraudin’ excursion ‘mang wren’s wane or sparrow,
But especially yours in a string at the bauck.

Yet whun the daisy its red fringe wus showin’,
An’ beauty gaun gyte frae the bloom o’ the pea,
Yer sang frae the riggin’ seem’t “let us be going,
Your spring days wull fade but they’re lastin’ wi’ me.”

Then biddin’ farewell tae ilk hamely surroundin’,
Hoo quickly ye mobilized under a wheen,
At the word o’ advance it was fairly astoundin’,
Tae witness yer flight frae oor wee isle sae green.

Noo as ye’re got hame wont ye tell me a story,
What news frae the Pyrenees, Italy, or Spain,
Wull Auld Britain suffer hir ancient-day glory,
Tae dwine at the blink o’ a Kruger or Steyn.

The wee birdie flapp’t its blue wing on the cipple,
Disdain roon its bricht e’e at yinst did appear;
Wi’ men like George White be they soople or cripple,
For Hearth Queen an’ Sirelan’s dinna ye fear.

Then takin’a look at his auld habitation,
Sae clearly suggestive – neglect has its sting,
He turn’t him awa frae the cares o’ the nation,
Intent on observing the dictates o’ spring.

Cullybackey Auld Nummer, 28th April 1900

Rev Samuel Henry Blair, B.A.

Rev Samuel Henry Blair, B.A.
1819-1941

Samuel Henry Blair was born on the 5th January 1819 at Drumrankin, Craigs, Cullybackey. He was educated at Queen’s College and Assembley’s College, Belfast before graduating at Queen’s University in 1913. Prior to his ordination he served for two years as assistant to the Reverend Dr. Megaw, College Square, Belfast, after which he acted for eighteen months for the Reverend John McIlrath at Templepatrick.
When the Reverend McIlrath retired, the Reverend Blair who was a licentiate of the Belfast Presbytery, received a unanimous call to become his successor. He was ordained in Templepatrick in 1919, and during his ministry of twenty-two he endeared himself to the people of the district by his ready sympathy and devotion to duty.
On the 17th September 1919 he married Ethel McKibbin in Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, Belfast. The Reverend Blair passed away suddenly on Wednesday, 7th May 1941 at the manse, Templepatrick and was laid to rest in the Old Methodist Church Graveyard, in his native village of Cullybackey. He was survived by his wife and one daughter.