In 1786 a young Scot named Robert Burns, was in love with Mary Campbell, a Highland lassie from Dunoon. He may or may not have been married to someone else at the time and we shall not dwell on that today. Robert and Mary are said to have planned to emigrate to Jamaica. But first he had to save up for the fare – he wasn’t yet famous. Fate intervened and Mary died of typhus before they could sail. Today her memorial statue stands on Castle Hill in Dunoon looking across the Firth of Clyde, longing still for the new life that was denied her. About a month after her death, Robert Burns went to Edinburgh where he made his fortune and Scotland gained her most famous poet. Highland Mary, the girl who got away, remained in his heart …..

Highland MaryYe banks and braes and streams around
The castle o’ Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie!
There Summer first unfald her robes,
And there the langest tarry!
For there I took the last fareweel
O’ my sweet Highland Mary!

How sweetly bloom’d the gay, green birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasp’d her to my bosom!
The golden hours on angel wings
Flew o’er me and my dearie:
For dear to me as light and life
Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi’ monie a vow and lock’d embrace
Our parting was fu’ tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder.
But O, fell Death’s untimely frost,
That nipt my flower sae early!
Now green’s the sod, and cauld’s the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary!

O, pale, pale now, those rosy lips
I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly;
And clos’d for ay, the sparkling glance
That dwalt on me sae kindly;
And mouldering now in silent dust
That heart that lo’ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom’s core
Shall live my Highland Mary.