Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
28. Poor Mailie’s Elegy
LAMENT in rhyme, lament in prose,
Wi’ saut tears trickling down your nose;
Our bardie’s fate is at a close,
            Past a’ remead!
The last, sad cape-stane o’ his woes;        5
            Poor Mailie’s dead!
  It’s no the loss o’ warl’s gear,
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear
            The mourning weed:        10
He’s lost a friend an’ neebor dear
            In Mailie dead.
  Thro’ a’ the town she trotted by him;
A lang half-mile she could descry him;
Wi’ kindly bleat, when she did spy him,        15
            She ran wi’ speed:
A friend mair faithfu’ ne’er cam nigh him,
            Than Mailie dead.
  I wat she was a sheep o’ sense,
An’ could behave hersel’ wi’ mense:        20
I’ll say’t, she never brak a fence,
            Thro’ thievish greed.
Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence
            Sin’ Mailie’s dead.
  Or, if he wanders up the howe,        25
Her living image in her yowe
Comes bleating till him, owre the knowe,
            For bits o’ bread;
An’ down the briny pearls rowe
            For Mailie dead.        30
  She was nae get o’ moorland tips,
Wi’ tauted ket, an’ hairy hips;
For her forbears were brought in ships,
            Frae ’yont the Tweed.
A bonier fleesh ne’er cross’d the clips        35
            Than Mailie’s dead.
  Wae worth the man wha first did shape
That vile, wanchancie thing—a raip!
It maks guid fellows girn an’ gape,
            Wi’ chokin dread;        40
An’ Robin’s bonnet wave wi’ crape
            For Mailie dead.
  O, a’ ye bards on bonie Doon!
An’ wha on Ayr your chanters tune!
Come, join the melancholious croon        45
            O’ Robin’s reed!
His heart will never get aboon—
            His Mailie’s dead!


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