Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Lady Grisel Baillie. 1665–1746
  
430. Werena my Heart's licht I wad dee
  
THERE ance was a may, and she lo'ed na men; 
She biggit her bonnie bow'r doun in yon glen; 
But now she cries, Dool and a well-a-day! 
Come doun the green gait and come here away! 
 
When bonnie young Johnnie cam owre the sea,         5
He said he saw naething sae lovely as me; 
He hecht me baith rings and mony braw things— 
And werena my heart's licht, I wad dee. 
 
He had a wee titty 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 and lay doun to dee; 
She maned and she graned 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 I was bonnie, I wasna for Johnnie— 
And werena my heart's licht, I wad dee.  20
 
They said I had neither cow nor calf, 
Nor dribbles o' drink rins thro' the draff, 
Nor pickles o' meal rins thro' the mill-e'e— 
And werena my heart's licht, I wad dee. 
 
His titty she was baith wylie and slee:  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 upon the corn bing. 
 
And now he gaes daund'ring about the dykes, 
And a' he dow do is to hund the tykes: 
The live-lang nicht he ne'er steeks his e'e—  35
And werena my heart's 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' it owre the lily-white lea— 
And wow, gin I were but young for thee!  40
 
GLOSS:  may] maid.  biggit] built.  gait] way, path.  hecht] promised.  titty] sister.  dwam] sudden illness.  appose] suppose.  pickles] small quantities.  hing] hang.  dowie] dejectedly.  hund the tykes] direct the dogs.  steeks] closes.  linkin'] tripping.
 
 
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