Edited by Adrian Hanna GI0SMU. www.sixgolds.com.
Comber Historical Society

The following poems are taken from the booklet
by Fannie M McRoberts

Of customs folks are prone to make,
there’s many that we hate to break;
but here’s a book will keep thoughts rife
of Auntie Fannie’s varied life.
She always lived in Comber Square
and with a smile you’d find her there
to greet you at the old hall door
and fetch you in to share her store
of anything she had that’s good;
and she could cook - oh boy! - she could!
And in this book some lines she wrote
to give wee Auntie many a thought.

Comber, old Comber, the spot I love well -
it’s many long years since I came here to dwell.
The Square was so peaceful, the houses so trim;
there was not the commotion, the noise and the din
that we have to put up with in these days of war:
there’s bikes and big lorries parked right at my door;
and soldiers are tramping from morning til night -
you get a nice doze and you wake with a fright
with officers shouting and the sergeants all roar;
and Comber, old Comber’s peaceful no more.

Here lies a wee woman that got very tired.
She lived in a house where no help was hired.
Her last words on earth were, ‘Dear friends, I am going
to where there’s no washing or baking or sewing.
I’m going where sweet voices will always be ringing;
but I’ve lost my voice so I’ll get rid of the singing.
So Friends, do not mourn when I’m gone away:
I’m going to get resting for ever and aye’.

My Officer and his Wife in Wartime

‘Ireland forever’ is what they would say.
No matter the weather or how long the way,
we two found rest there on beauty’s breast there,
and cosy our nest there, though small in its way.

It held all the sweetness that makes life divine:
the pleasure of laughin’ that beats old man time;
and when comes the peace-day, and we have to part,
we’ll have such sweet memories, deep down in our heart.

An’ when we look back thro’ the years rolling by,
we’ll think of old Comber and Erin’s blue sky;
and wee Mrs Mc. who had always a smile
and made us feel happy and life was worthwhile.

He was a bonny little chap:
he looked so nice when in the trap
a-trotting down the country lanes;
and how I loved to hold the reins
and feel his eager pulling grip;
and many and many a lovely trip
I had in primrose time.

And then when came the Summer day,
to Island Hill we’d wend our way.
With tea and bathe the time would pass
and Nipper got a feed of grass:
he’d gallop round the field with joy -
he really was a game wee boy,
and led me up the grass.

At last when caught and home we’d wend,
I had to watch when round the bend
and through the Square like wind he’d go -
his feed of corn could smell, you know.
In Autumn days when corn was ripe,
and berries on the brambles too,
it’s many a lovely drive we had -
my pony, I remember you.

I live in Comber Square, with good old Gillespie to guard me.
There’s churches and schools all over the place
and sometimes James Milling stares me in the face.
I know it’s a little bit draughty but I don’t care you see:
if it’s good enough for Gillespie, it’s good enough for me.
My house is on the eastern side, a cosy little spot:
the village pub is round the bend where you can get a tot
of Alex Simpson’s very best, of that there is no doubt -
with bar well-stocked and lots in bond,
he never is without.

I sing the praise of Comber, and joy and friends so dear:
but sad to say, about one thing, water is scarcer than beer.
And just outside my own hall door beside Gillespie’s soaring tower,
the village pump is there for all and those who use it, great and small,
with buckets go from morn till night - it really is a funny sight
And horses halt upon their way and take a drink and think it gay;
but we cannot think it so funny, these advanced times and lots of money
being spent in every other way, when water is as scarce as tea.

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