Sunday Poetry – Susanna Blamire

Susanna Blamire (1747-94) was known as the Muse of Cumberland. She was known for her songs in Scottish dialect & for her easy, simple verses that nevertheless had a hidden depth of meaning. The Siller Crown is one of her best known songs, set to music by Haydn & quoted by Dickens in The Old Curiosity Shop. Her work wasn’t collected until the 1840s but she was known as a poet in her day. Susanna seems to have been a lively woman although in other respects her life seems to have been sad. She was unlucky in love & her health was poor; she died of rheumatic heart disease in her mid 40s. The Siller Crown was written in 1790 & I think it looks forward to Scott’s novels & poetry & the Romantic era that was just beginning.

And ye shall walk in silk attire,
    And siller hae to spare,
Gin ye’ll consent to be his bride,
      Nor think o’ Donald mair.
O wha wad buy a silken goun
      Wi’ a poor broken heart!
Or what’s to me a siller croun,
      Gin frae my love I part!

The mind wha’s every wish is pure
      Far dearer is to me;
And ere I’m forc’d to break my faith,
      I’ll lay me down an’ dee!
For I hae pledg’d my virgin troth
      Brave Donald’s fate to share;
And he has gi’en to me his heart,
      Wi’ a’ its virtues rare.

His gentle manners wan my heart,
      He gratefu’ took the gift;
Could I but think to seek it back,
      It wad be waur than theft!
For langest life can ne’er repay
      The love he bears to me;
And ere I’m forc’d to break my troth,
      I’ll lay me doun an’ dee.

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