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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Bessy Bell and Mary Gray

By Allan Ramsay (1686–1758)

OH, Bessy Bell and Mary Gray!

They are twa bonny lasses;

They bigged a bower on yon burn-brae,

And thecked it o’er with rashes:

Fair Bessy Bell I looed 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 Phœbus starts frae Thetis’s lap,

The hills with rays adorning;

White is her neck, saft is her hand,

Her waist and feet’s fou genty,

With ilka grace she can command;

Her lips, oh, wow! they’re dainty.

And Mary’s locks are like the craw,

Her eyes like diamonds glances;

She’s ay sae clean red 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 graceful still,

O Jove! she’s like thy Pallas.

Dear Bessy Bell and Mary Gray,

Ye unco sair oppress us;

Our fancies jee between you twae,

Ye are sic bonny lasses:

Wae’s me! for baith I canna get,—

To ane by law we’re stinted;

Then I’ll draw cuts, and take my fate,

And be with ane contented.