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Poor Mailie's Elegy

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

Read an enjoy the poem an yaise the questions at the fit o the page tae stert a cless discussion.

Poor Mailie’s Elegy

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

It's no the loss o' 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 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 cam 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 till him, owre the knowe,
For bits o' bread;
An' down the briny pearls rowe
For Mailie dead.

She was nae get o' moorland tips,
Wi' tauted 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 the man wha first did shape
That vile, wanchancie thing-a raip!
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!

Questions

  • Dae ye think the subject an the style o the poem match?
  • Why wid Burns want tae scrieve the poem in this wey?
  • Hoo dis Burns big up tae the climax o the poem?
  • Leuk at his wird choice an the sentence structure. Wale a puckle examples that ye think are rael effective.
  • Scrieve doon 3 techniques he yaises tae emphasise the sadness o the event.

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