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Poem by Allan Cunningham

The Lovely Lass of Preston Mill

Preston Mill is a little rustic village in the parish of Kirkbean on the Galloway side of the Solway; it consists of some dozen or so of thatched cottages, grouped together without regularity, yet beautiful from their situation on the banks of a wild burn which runs or rather tumbles through it, scarcely staying to turn a mill from which the place takes its name.  Authors Note.

THE LARK had left the evening cloud,
  The dew fell saft, the wind was lowne,
Its gentle breath amang the flowers
  Scarce stirred the thistles tap o down;
The dappled swallow left the pool
  The stars were blinking owre the hill,
As I met, amang the hawthorns green,
  The lovely lass of Preston Mill.

Her naked feet, amang the grass,
  Shone like twa dew-gemmed lilies fair;
Her brow shone comely mang her locks,
  Dark curling owre her shoulders bare;
Her cheeks were rich wi bloomy youth;
  Her lips had words and wit at will;
And heaven seemed looking through her een,
  The lovely lass of Preston Mill.

Quo I, Sweet lass, will ye gang wi me,
  Where blackcocks craw, and plovers cry?
Six hills are woolly wi my sheep,
  Six vales are lowing wi my kye:
I hae looked lang for a weel-faurd lass,
  By Nithsdales holmes an monie a hill;
She hung her head like a dew-bent rose,
  The lovely lass of Preston Mill.

Quo I, Sweet maiden, look nae down,
  But gie s a kiss, and gang wi me:
A lovelier face, O, never looked up,
  And the tears were drapping frae her ee:
I hae a lad, wha s far awa,
  That weel could win a womans will;
My heart s already fu o love,
  Quo the lovely lass of Preston Mill.

Now wha is he wha could leave sic a lass,
  To seek for love in a far countree?	
Her tears drapped down like simmer dew:	
  I fain wad kissed them frae her ee.
I took but ane o her comely cheek;
  For pitys sake, kind sir, be still!
My heart is fu o other love,
  Quo the lovely lass of Preston Mill.	

She stretched to heaven her twa white hands,
  And lifted up her watery ee:
Sae lang s my heart kens aught o God,
  Or light is gladsome to my ee;
While woods grow green, and burns rin clear,
  Till my last drap o blood be still,
My heart shall haud nae other love,
  Quo the lovely lass of Preston Mill.

There s comely maids on Dees wild banks,
  And Niths romantic vale is fu;
By lanely Cludens hermit stream
  Dwells monie a gentle dame, I trow!
O, they are lights of a gladsome kind,
  As ever shone on vale or hill;
But there s a light puts them a out,	
  The lovely lass of Preston Mill!

Allan Cunningham

Allan Cunningham's other poems:
  1. Bonnie Jeanie Walkinshaw
  2. Gordon of Brackley
  3. The Lily of Nithsdale
  4. The Lass of Gleneslan-Mill
  5. Mary Halliday

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