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August 17, 2017

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/young-peggy 


In 1785, Robert Burns, one night dining at the home of his friend Gavin Hamilton, met a young relation of Hamilton’s called Margaret Kennedy. He composed this poem/song after being greatly impressed with her looks and wit on that occasion. Unfortunately, she later became infatuated with a Captain Andrew McDouall of Logan and bore him a child, which he disowned. A legal action was brought and a court judgement finally awarded her a substantial maintenance settlement but sadly she died at the age of 29, prior to the court decision. The following is an extract from the poem.


"Young Peggy blooms our boniest lass, Her blush is like the morning,

The rosy dawn, the springing grass, With early gems adorning.

Her eyes outshine the radiant beams That gild the passing shower,

And glitter o'er the crystal streams, And cheer each fresh'ning flower.


Were Fortune lovely Peggy's foe, Such sweetness would relent her;

As blooming spring unbends the brow Of surly, savage Winter.

Detraction's eye no aim can gain, Her winning pow'rs to lessen;

And fretful Envy grins in vain The poison'd tooth to fasten.


Ye Pow'rs of Honour, Love, and Truth, From ev'ry ill defend her!

Inspire the highly-favour'd youth The destinies intend her:

Still fan the sweet connubial flame Responsive in each bosom;

And bless the dear parental name With many a filial blossom."



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© 2014 Neil Macgillivray