Poor Mailie’s Elegy

Poor Mailie’s Elegy

Lament in rhyme, lament in prose,
Wi’ saut tears trickling down your nose;
Our Bardie’s fate is as a close
		Past a’ remead!
The last, sad cape-stane of his woes;
		Poor Mailie’s dead!

It’s no the loss o’ warl’s gear,
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
Or make our Bardie, dowie, wear
		The mournng weed:
He’s lost a friend and 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,
		She ran wi’ speed:
A friend mair faithfu’ ne’er came nigh him,
		Than Mailie dead.

I wat she was a sheep o’ sense,
An’ could behave hersel wi’ mense:
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,
Her living image in her yowe,
Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,
		For bits o’ bread;
An’ down the briny pearls rowe
		For Mailie dead.

She was nae get o’ moorlan tips,
Wi’ touted ket, an’ hairy hips;
For her forbears were brought in ships,
		Frae ’yont the Tweed:
A bonier fleesh ne’er cross’d the clips
		Than Mailie’s dead.

Wae worth that man wha first did shape,
That vile, waunchancie thing—a raep!
It maks guid fellows girn an’ gape,
		Wi’ chokin dread;
An Robin’s bonnet wave wi’ crape
		for Mailie dead.

O, a’ ye Bards on bonie Doon!
An’ wha on Aire your chanters tune!
Come, join the malancholious croon
		O’ Robin’s reed!
His heart will never get aboon!
		His Mailie’s dead!
Robert Burns
Print Poem