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of language and alacrity of humour, and lyric grace of composition, which distinguish many of Allan's songs. My Peggy is a young thing” is partly founded on an song

which commences thus



ye ca' in by our town As ye come frae the fauld.

If the wit and the humour of this ancient lyric were not enclosed with grossness and indelicacy, as a thistle bloom is beset with its prickles, it would be worthy of acceptation in any company.



Now wat ye

wha I met yestreen,
Coming down the street, my jo ?
My mistress in her tartan screen,
Fu' bonny, braw, and sweet, my jo.
My dear, quoth I, thanks to the night,
That never wish'd a lover ill,
Since ye're out of your mither's sight,
Let's take a wauk up to the hill.

O Katy, wiltu' gang wi' me,
And leave the dinsome town a while ?

The blossom's sprouting frae the tree,
And a' the simmer's gaun to smile:
The mavis, nightingale, and lark,
The bleating lambs, and whistling hind,
In ilka dale, green, shaw, and park,
Will nourish health, and glad ye’r mind.

Soon as the clear goodman of day
Bends his morning-draught of dew,

gae to some burn-side and play,
And gather flow'rs to busk ye'r brow;
We'll pou the daisies on the green,
The lucken gowans frae the bog:
Between hands now and then we'll lean,
And sport upon the velvet fog.


There's into a pleasant glen,
A wee piece frae my father's tow'r,
A canny, saft, and flow'ry den,
Which circling birks have form'd a bow'r:
Whene'er the sun grows high and warm,
We'll to the cauler shade remove,
There will I lock thee in mine arm,
And love and kiss, and kiss and love.

Allan Ramsay wrote this very

clever and

natural song, and printed it in his collection in 1724. It was composed to take place of an old and licentious lyric of the same name; and it has been so successful, that its impure predecessor has wholly disappeared. There was a fine free spirit of enjoyment about Ramsay, and his verses exhibit a happy and pleasant mind. The prime of his life, from twenty-five to five and forty, he devoted to poetry: he began when observation came to the aid of fancy, and he desisted when the gravity of years admonished him to turn to more solemn thoughts than merry verse.


With him life seems to have glided more felicitously away than with many other poets-he had fortune and favour on his side, and had the good sense to be content.


O Bessy Bell and Mary Gray,

They are twa bonny lassies,
They bigg'd a bower on yon burn-brae,

And theek'd it o'er wi' rashes.
Fair Bessy Bell I loo'd yestreen,

And thought I ne'er could alter;
But Mary Gray's twa pawky een,

They gar my fancy falter.

Now Bessy's hair's like a lint-tap ;

She smiles like a May morning,
When Phæbus starts frae Thetis' lap,

The hills with rays adorning :

White is her neck, saft is her hand,

Her waist and feet's fu' genty;
With ilka grace she can command;

Her lips, O wow ! they're dainty.

And Mary's locks are like a craw,

Her een like diamonds' glances ;
She's aye sae clean, redd up, and braw,

She kills whene'er she dances :
Blyth as a kid, with wit at will,

She blooming, tight, and tall is;
And guides her airs sae gracefu' still,

O Jove, she's like thy Pallas.

Dear Bessy Bell and Mary Gray,

Ye unco sair oppress us ;
Our fancies jee between you twa,

Ye are sic bonny lasses :
Wae's me! for baith I canna get,

To ane by law we're stented;
Then I'll draw cuts, and take my fate,

And be with ane contented.

The heroines of this song are not so much indebted to Allan Ramsay for their celebrity as to the affecting story which tradition associates with their names. Elizabeth Bell was the daughter of a gentleman in Perthshire, and Mary Gray was the daughter of Gray of Lyndoch. They were intimate friends, and very witty


very beautiful. ,When the plague visited Scotland in 1666, they built a bower in a secluded and romantic glen, near Lyndoch, and retiring to the spot, which is yet called “ Burnbrae,” hoped to survive the contagion. But they fell victims to their affections : they were visited by a young gentleman, either as a friend or admirer ; and the plague soon made them occupiers of the same grave. As they were friends in life, so in death they were not divided. The place where they lie buried is enclosed ; and their grave is respected by all who sympathise in their mournful story. Lyndoch, where they lie, is the property of Thomas Graham, Lord Lyndoch. Their fate was the subject of an old and pathetic song, of which the following fragment only remains :

O Bessie Bell and Mary Gray,

They were twa bonnie lasses,
They biggit a bower on yon burn brae,

And theekit it o'er wi' rashes :
They theekit o'er wi' rashes green,

They theekit it o'er wi' heather,
But the pest came frae the burrows town,
And slew them baith thegither.

They thought to lie in Methven kirk,

Amang their noble kin,
But they maun lie on Lyndoch brae,

To beak fornent the sun.

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