by George MacDonald
"Sweep up the flure, Janet,
Put on anither peat.
It's a lown and starry nicht, Janet,
And neither cold nor weet.
And it's open hoose we keep the nicht
For ony that may be oot;
It's the nicht atween the Sancts an' Souls
Whan the bodiless gang aboot.
Set the chairs back to the wall, Janet,
Mak' ready for quaiet fowk,
Hae a' thing as clean as a windin'-sheet—
They comena ilka ook.
There's a spale upo' the flure, Janet,
And there's a rowan berry.
Sweep them into the fire, Janet,—
They'll be welcomer than merry.
Syne set open the door, Janet,—
Wide open for wha kens wha:
As ye come to your bed, Janet,
Set it open to the wa'."
She set the chairs back to the wa',
But ane made of the birk,
She swept the flure, but left ane spale,
A long spale o' the aik.
The nicht was lown, and the stars sat still
A-glintin' doon the sky:
And the sauls crept oot o' their mooly graves,
A' dank wi' lyin' by.
When midnight came the mither rase—
She wad gae see an' hear.
Back she cam' wi' a glowrin' face,
An' sloomin' wi' verra fear.
"There's ane o' them sittin' afore the fire!
Janet, gae na to see;
Ye left a chair afore the fire,
Whaur I tauld ye nae chair sud be."
Janet she smiled in her mither's face:
She had brunt the roddin reid:
And she left aneath the birken chair
The spale frae a coffin lid.
She rase and she gaed but the hoose,
Aye steekin' door and door,
Three hours gaed by ere her mother heard
Her fit upo' the flure.
But whan the grey cock crew she heard
The soun' o' shoeless feet,
Whan the red cock crew she heard the door
An' a sough o' wind an' weet.
An' Janet cam' back wi' a wan face,
But never a word said she;
No man ever heard her voice lood oot—
It cam' like frae ower the sea.
And no man ever heard her lauch,
Nor yet say alas nor wae;
But a smile aye glimmert on her wan face
Like the moonlicht on the sea.
And ilka nicht 'twixt the Sancts an' Souls
Wide open she set the door;
And she mendit the fire, and she left ae chair
And that spale upo' the flure.
And at midnicht she gaed but the hoose,
Aye steekin' door and door.
Whan the red cock crew she cam' ben the hoose,
Aye wanner than before.
Wanner her face and sweeter her smile,
Till the seventh All-Souls Eve
Her mither she heard the shoeless feet,
Says "She's comin', I believe."
But she camna ben, an' her mither lay;
For fear she cudna stan',
But up she rase an' ben she gaed
Whan the gowden cock hed crawn.
And Janet sat upo' the chair,
White as the day did daw,
Her smile was as sunlight left on the sea
Whan the sun has gane awa.