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Robert Burns

Highland Mary's Memorial, Failford

19th Century
Failford just outside Mauchline is associated both with the Covenanters (Alexander Peden is said to have preached in the woods there) but also for its monument to Robert Burns and 'Highland Mary'. Near Failford stood Montgomerie Castle where Mary Campbell was in service. Burns had an affair with her whilst married to Jean Armour and is thought to have asked Mary to leave Scotland to go to Jamaica with him until Jean fell pregnant. In 1792 Burns wrote a poem entitled ‘Highland Mary’:

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery!
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie:
There Simmer first unfauld her robes,
And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last Farewell
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' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
Our parting was fu' tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder;
But oh! 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 aye, 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.
Place of Production:
Failford, South Ayrshire
glass plate slide
Dean Castle
Accession number:
Digital Number:
East Ayrshire Council