Document 728

Mephistophelean Ballant-Scherzo on ane Fife Legend

Author(s): Tom Hubbard

Copyright holder(s): Tom Hubbard


- See that boy Faust? He scunners me,
The toffee-nebbit cratur;
Aye on at me ti dae the wark
That’s richt agin my natur.

Says I, ‘You’re fir the warkin fowk –
Fine words, Faust! I’ll be blunter:
Thae schemes o yours are faur abune
The heid o your avrage punter.

‘Time wis, a stair that wad unrowe
As you’d gang up or doun;
A walin o my pliskiest deils
Paradin throu the toun;

‘Time wis, that saired the masses weill –
Christ! Hit wis aa they kent!
They’re better aff, but still they want
The-day’s equivalent.

‘Like bairns that, gie thaim wine or juice,
Be shair they’ll tak whit’s sweetest;
It’s as it wis and aye’ll be!
Faust, son, you’re an élitist!’

I tak the doktor doun the shore
And scoop intil his haund
Whit’s cheengeless as the fowk theirsel –
And common tae – the saund.

‘Leuk there’, says I, ‘fir nae twa grains
‘ll ever byde thegither;
Ilkane will think itsel unique
Though we canna tell ane frae the t’ither.’

This Faust says I’m a clever deil;
Mony a ferlie I’ve wrocht;
Is there some darg I canna dae?
He canna think o ocht.

‘I’m shair that Mephistopheles
Is the dabbest o dab haunds
At makkin me the finest raip
Frae the grains o Scotlan’s saunds.’

Weill! Hit’s eneuch ti gar the deil
Defect as last ti Gawd:
I wove, and still I better wove,
But the stuffie wadna haud.

Hit gars an honest deil ti wish
He’d bade at hame in Hell!
- Sae if Faust still wants his raip o saund,
He can dae’t his bluidy sel.

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Mephistophelean Ballant-Scherzo on ane Fife Legend. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 June 2024, from

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Information about Document 728

Mephistophelean Ballant-Scherzo on ane Fife Legend


Text audience

General public
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Word count 288

Text medium

Other Ceilidh performance and various poetry readings

Text performance/broadcast details

Where performed/broadcast Scottish Ceilidh in Luxemboug, June 1991
Performed/broadcast by Author, and Jamie Reid Baxter

Text publication details

Publisher Kettillonia
Publication year 2004
Place of publication Newtyle
ISBN/ISSN 1-902944-18-6
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in Scottish Faust: Poems and Ballads of Eldritch Lore
Editor Author, Tom Hubbard
Page numbers 5-6

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 232
Forenames Tom
Surname Hubbard
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs N/A
Occupation Academic, librarian and writer
Place of birth Kirkcaldy
Region of birth Fife
Birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkcaldy
Region of residence Fife
Residence CSD dialect area Fif
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Caterer
Father's place of birth Dysart
Father's region of birth Fife
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Caterer
Mother's place of birth Dysart
Mother's region of birth Fife
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Fif
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Everyday
Italian Yes Yes Yes Yes Work, holiday, fluency fluctuating
Polish No No No No Smattering. Work, holiday
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Everyday. Scots spoken in relaxed circumstances