Highland Mary

By Robert Burns 1759–1796 Robert Burns
Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
         The castle o' Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
         Your waters never drumlie!
There Simmer first unfald her robes,
         And there the langest tarry:
For there I took the last Fareweel
         O' my sweet Highland Mary.

How sweetly bloom'd the gay, green birk,
         How rich the hawthorn's blossom;
As underneath their fragrant shade,
         I clasp'd her to my bosom!
The golden Hours, on angel wings,
         Flew o'er me and my Dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
         Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
         Our parting was fu' tender;
And pledging aft to meet again,
         We tore oursels asunder:
But Oh! fell Death's untimely frost,
         That nipt my Flower sae early!
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay,
         That wraps my Highland Mary!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
         I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!
And clos'd for ay the sparkling glance,
         That dwalt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust,
         That heart that lo'ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom's core
         Shall live my Highland Mary.

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Poet Robert Burns 1759–1796

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Relationships, Living, Love, Death, Men & Women, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Ballad

 Robert  Burns

Biography

Born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, Scotland, to William and Agnes Brown Burnes, Robert Burns followed his father's example by becoming a tenant farmer. Unlike William Burnes, however, Burns was able to escape the vicissitudes and vagaries of the soil in two ways: toward the end of his life he became an excise collector in Dumfries, where he died in 1796; and throughout his life he was a practicing poet. As a poet he recorded . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Living, Love, Death, Men & Women, Classic Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION Scotland

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Ballad

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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