Verse > Anthologies > Harvard Classics > English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray
   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
272. Werena My Heart Licht I Wad Dee
Lady Grisel Baillie (1665–1746)
THERE ance was a may, 1 and she lo’ed na men;
She biggit 2 her bonnie bow’r doun in yon glen;
But now she cries, Dool and well-a-day!
Come doun the green gait 3 and come here away!
When bonnie young Johnnie cam owre 4 the sea,        5
He said he saw naething sae lovely as me;
He hecht 5 me baith rings and mony braw things—
And werena my heart licht, I wad dee.
He had a wee titty 6 that lo’ed na me,
Because I was twice as bonnie as she;        10
She raised sic a pother ’twixt him and his mother
That werena my heart’s licht, I wad dee.
The day it was set, and the bridal to be:
The wife took a dwam 7 and lay doun to dee;
She maned 8 and she graned 9 out o’ dolour and pain,        15
Till he vow’d he never wad see me again.
His kin was for ane of a higher degree,
Said—What had he do wi’ the likes of me?
Appose 10 I was bonnie, I wasna for Johnnie—
And werena my heart licht, I wad dee.        20
They said I had neither cow nor calf,
Nor dribbles o’ drink rins thro’ the draff, 11
Nor pickles 12 o’ meal rins thro’ the mill-e’e—
And werena my heart licht, I wad dee.
His titty she was baith wylie and slee: 13        25
She spied me as I cam owre the lea;
And then she ran in and made a loud din—
Believe your ain e’en, an ye trow not me.
His bonnet stood ay fu’ round on his brow,
His auld ane look’d ay as well as some’s new:        30
But now he lets ’t wear ony gait it will hing,
And casts himsel dowie 14 upon the corn bing. 15
And now he gaes daund’ring about the dykes, 16
And a’ he dow do is to hund the tykes: 17
The live-lang nicht he ne’er steeks 18 his e’e—        35
And werena my heart licht, I wad dee.
Were I but young for thee, as I hae been,
We should hae been gallopin’ doun in yon green,
And linkin’ 19 it owre the lily-white lea—
And wow, gin I were but young for thee!        40
Note 1. Gold. [back]
Note 2. Silver. [back]
Note 3. Maid. [back]
Note 4. Built. [back]
Note 5. Path. [back]
Note 6. Over. [back]
Note 7. Promised. [back]
Note 8. Sister. [back]
Note 9. Sudden illness. [back]
Note 10. Moaned. [back]
Note 11. Groaned. [back]
Note 12. Suppose. [back]
Note 13. Malt. [back]
Note 14. Small quantities. [back]
Note 15. Sly. [back]
Note 16. Dejected. [back]
Note 17. Bin. [back]
Note 18. Stone walls. [back]
Note 19. Hunt the dogs. [back]


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