Writing in both Scots and English, Tom Hubbard revisits the Faust legend and gives it a Scottish accent. The ballad tradition is strongly present as the dusty-foot makar crosses and re-crosses the borders of reality and fantasy. Medieval polymath Michael Scot makes several appearances, while on the way homage is paid to Shakespeare, Berlioz, Dumas père, R.L. Stevenson, Ronald Stevenson and others.
Leith Walk Variation on R.L.S.
Fir Doogi Todd, native o Embro
Come jyne me whaur there's fowk and roads foregaither:
A boulievard thrists doun towart the sea,
A vennel shauchles up as frae the pit.
They form a dyke that's tapped wi airn railins
On aither side o the wedge atween the weys:
Twa o the spikes curve upwart ti ilk ither,
Crooned wi the ae lamp, forenent the howff.
Hit's a single ee, thon lamp, that has seen double,
As it merks the meetin place o licht and mirk.
Hereaboots it wis that men wad swey in chains,
The maws fair gleg ti chow thaim ti their banes;
Whaur a runkled wife telt the weird o a kintra-lad:
The shadda o the wuddy athort his pad.