10 Things about Lady Grizel Baillie

I admit before this morning I had no idea who Lady Grizel Baillie was so here are 10 things I’ve learned about her. 

  1. She was a Scottish poet and song writer. In fact many of her ancestors were also poets – most notably Patrick Hume of Polwarth and Alexander Hume.  
  2. Her father, Sir Patrick Hume, was representing the then imprisoned Robert Baillie of Jerviswood and Lady Grizel would smuggle letters to Baillie while he was imprisoned. 
  3. Lady Grizel was 12 when she met her future husband George Baillie. It is suspected that it was during the time she was bringing letters from her father. 
  4. She fled with her family to the United Provinces (Precursor to the Netherlands) due to her fathers association with Robert Baillie and suspected treason. 
  5. When she returned to Scotland after the Glorious Revolution she turned down an offer to be one the Queen Mary’s maids of honor. 
  6.  In 1692 she married George Baillie and settled into the Mellerstain House. 
  7. She would have three children and her two daughters, Grizel and Rachel, would survive into adulthood. 
  8. Only a few of her poems have survived over the centuries. One of which “And werena my heart light I wad dee” is copied at the bottom of this post and was originally published in Orpheus Caledonius, or a Collection of the Best Scotch Songs (1725) by William Thomson
  9. She kept records of her home life which can be found here. These records provide an depth look into the affairs of a running a Scottish house. 
  10. She passed away on December 6, 1746 and is buried in the Mellerstain House.

Werena My Heart Licht I Wad Dee

There was ance a may, and she lo’ed na men; 

She biggit her bonnie bow’r doun i’ yon glen; 

But now she cries, Dool and a well-a-day! 

Come doun the green gait and come here away! 

When bonnie young Johnnie cam’ owre the sea 

He said he saw naething sae lovely as me; 

He hecht me baith rings and monie braw things; 

And werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 

He had a wee tittie that lo’ed na me, 

Because I was twice as bonnie as she; 

She raised sic a pother ‘twixt him and his mother, 

That werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 

The day it was set, and the bridal to be 

The wife took a dwam and lay doun to dee; 

She maned, and she graned, out o’ dolour and pain, 

Till he vowed that he ne’er wad see me again. 

His kin was for ane o’ a higher degree, 

Said, what had he do wi’ the likes o’ me? 

Albeit I was bonnie, I wasna for Johnnie: 

And werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 

They said I had neither cow nor calf, 

Nor dribbles o’ drink rins through the draff, 

Nor pickles o’meal rins through the mill-e’e; 

An werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 

His tittie she was baith wily and slee, 

She spied me as I cam’ owre the lea, 

And then she ran in and made a loud din; 

Believe your ain een an ye trow na me. 

His bannet stood aye fu’ round on his brow 

His auld ane looked aye as weel as some’s new; 

But now he lets ’t wear ony gate it will hing, 

And casts himsel’ dowie upon the corn-bing. 

And now he gaes daund’ring about the dykes 

A a’ he dow do is to hund the tykes; 

The love-lang nicht he ne’er steeks his e’e; 

And werena my heart licht I wad dee. 

Were I but young for thee, as I ha’e been 

We should ha’e been gallopin’ doun in yon green, 

And linkin’ it on the lily-white lea; 

And wow, gin I were but young for thee. 

Lady Grizel Baillie (1665–1746)

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