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Poor Mailie's Elegy.
 

Burns Original

Standard English Translation

Poor Mailie's Elegy.

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

It's no the loss of warl's gear,
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
Or mak our Bardie, dowie, wear
The mourning weed:
He's lost a friend an' neebor dear
In Mailie dead.

Thro' a' the toun 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 cam nigh him,
Than Mailie dead.

I wot 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 livin image in her yowe
Comes bleatin till 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' twated 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 dead.

Wae worth the man wha first did shape
That vile, wanchancie thing - a rape!
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 Ayr your chanters tune!
Come, join the melancholious croon
O' Robin's reed!
His heart will never get aboon!
His Mailie's dead.

Poor Molly's Elegy.

Lament in rhyme, lament in prose,
With salt tears trickling down your nose;
Our Bardie's fate is at a close,
Past all remedy!
The last, sad cap-stone of his woes;
Poor Molly's dead!

It is not the loss of world's wealth,
That could so bitter draw the tear,
Or make our Bardie, drooping, wear
The mourning weed:
He's lost a friend and neighbour dear
In Mollly dead.

Through all the farm she trotted by him;
A long half-mile she could discover him;
With kindly bleat, when she did spy him,
She ran with speed:
A friend more faithful never came near him,
Than Molly dead.

I wit she was a sheep of sense,
And could behave herself with discretion:
I will say it, she never broke a fence,
Through thievish greed.
Our Bardie, lonely, keeps the parlour
Since Molly's dead.

Or, if he wanders up the glen,
Her living image in her ewes
Comes bleating to him, over the knoll,
For bits of bread;
And down the briny pearls roll
For Molly dead.

She was no issue of moorland tups (rams),
With matted fleece, and hairy rumps;
For her ancestors were brought in ships,
From beyond the Tweed:
A lovelier fleece never crossed the shears
Than Molly dead.

Woe befall the man who first did shape
That vile, dangerous thing - a rope!
It makes good fellows complain and gape,
With choking dread;
And Robin's (Burns') bonnet woven with crepe
For Molly dead.

Of all you bards on bonny Doon (the river)!
And who on Ayr your bagpipes tune!
Come, join the melancholy croon
Of Robin's reed!
His heart will never get above (rejoice)!
His Molly's dead.

 

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