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Random Rhymes and Ballads

By W. D. Cocker


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Random Rhymes and Ballads comprises the largest collection of verse that has yet issued from the pen of W. D. Cocker. Like its companion volumes:-- Poems: Scots and English; Further Poems and New Poems, its main quality is abounding humour. Philosophy and fun are gloriously intermingled. Many of the shorter pieces, on the other hand, issue in a pure stream of lyrical beauty: for Cocker is a lyric poet par excellence. A sympathetic insight into the foibles and frailties of his fellow men, and an understanding of what is essentially good in human nature is the true fount of his inspiration. Some of the poems are in English, but the Scots in which most of them are written is no abtruse speech: it is the simple language of the country folk with whom the author was familiar in youth. There is nothing recondite or obscure in their meaning, for the poems are written primarily to give pleasure to the ordinary Scottish reader. The volume is undoubtedly another substantial contribution to Scots literature, and the sections into which it is divided show the range of Cocker's art. The Biblical poems, with their whimsical renderings of Old Testament stories, form a prominent feature, and Birds and Beasts provide scope for quaint commentaries. Mention must also be made of the Bairns' Bittock and Sangs, Lilts and Lyrics, whose simplicity is their chief charm.