Poetry Friday: Bonny Mary o’ Argyle

June 29, 2007 @ 2:31 pm | Filed under: Poetry

Although this tender ballad is a Scottish staple, it was written around 1850 by a couple of Englishmen: Charles Jeffreys (lyrics) and Sidney Nelson (music).

I have heard the mavis singing
His love song to the morn
I have seen the dew drop clinging
To the rose just newly born
But a sweeter song has cheered me
At the evening’s gentle close
And I’ve seen an eye still brighter
Than the dew drop on the rose
‘Twas thy voice my gentle Mary
And thine artless, winning smile
That made this world an Eden
Bonnie Mary of Argyle.

Tho’ thy voice may lose its sweetness
And thine eye its brightness too
Tho’ thy step may lack its fleetness
And thy hair its sunny hue
Still to me wilt thou be dearer
Than all the world shall own
I have loved thee for thy beauty
But not for that alone
I have sought thy heart, dear Mary
And its goodness was the wile
That has made thee mine forever
Bonnie Mary of Argyle.

You can hear the melody here, and this site has an image of a broadside with the words, published between 1860-1880.

This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Shaken & Stirred.


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  1. What a sweet little song! Definitely something from the British Isles!