The text for this is drawn from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1817.

Mary's Dream

A poem by Mr John Lowe, Kells.

This beautiful song, as well as the first act of the tune, are the composition of Mr John Lowe, who was bom at Kenmore in Galloway, in the year 1750. His father was gardener to the Honourable Mr Gordon of Kenmore, son of that unfortunate nobleman who paid the forfeit of his life and titles for his adherence to the House of Stuart in 1715. Lowe was the eldest son of a numerous family, and received a pretty liberal education at the parish school of Kells. At the age of fourteen, he was bound apprentice to a respectable weaver of the name of Heron, father of the late Robert Heron, author of the History of Scotland in six volumes, and other works.

This profession, though dictated by the necessity of a parent, was neither congenial to the feelings nor genius of young Lowe. By his own industry, however, he was afterwards enabled to place himself under the tuition of Mr Mackay, then schoolmaster of Carsphairn, an eminent master of the languages. Lowe at this time employed his evenings in teaching church-music, as he possessed a very just ear, sung well, and played with considerable skill upon the violin. These qualities, added to a happy temper and a fine flow of animal spirits, soon gained him many friends, through whose assistance our poet was, in 1771, enabled to enter himself a student of divinity in the university of Edinburgh.

On his first return from college, he became tutor in the family of Mr McGhie of Airds, an amiable country gentleman, who had several beautiful daughters. In this romantic abode, so favourable to the descriptive muse, Lowe composed many little pieces, of which it is to be regretted that few copies are now to be found, though there are songs of his composition still sung by the common people of the Glenkens in Galloway. He also composed a pretty long pastoral, entitled, 'Morning, a Poem,' which is still preserved in his own bandwriting. He likewise attempted to write a tragedy, but no part of it is now to be found. About this time, Mr Alexander Miller, a surgeon, who had been engaged to Mary, one of the young ladies of Airds, was unfortunately lost at sea; an event which would probably have been forgotten, but for the exquisitely tender and pathetic song of 'Mary's Dream,' which has given to it immortality. It is presumed that our poet was sensibly alive to the misfortunes of a young lady, whose sister had inspired him also with the tenderest passion; but it was not their fate to be united.

After finishing his studies at the Divinity Hall, and seeing no prospect of obtaining a living in his native country, Mr Lowe, in 1773, embarked for America. For some time he acted as tutor to the family of a brother of the great Washington; a situation which supplied some hopes of advancement. He next opened an academy for the education of young gentlemen in Fredericksburgh, Virginia, which was given up upon his taking orders in the church of England. After this event he married a Virginian lady, who unfortunately proved his ruin. She was not only regardless of his happiness, but even unfaithful to his bed.

Overwhelmed with shame, disappointment, and sorrow, the rigour of his constitution was broken, and he fell into an untimely grave in 1798, in the forty-eighth year of his age. His remains were interred under the shade of two palm trees near Fredericksburgh, without even a stone to write,'Mary, weep no more for me.'

This truly elegant and popular ballad, however, was originally composed by Lowe in the Scottish dialect, before he gave it the polished English form. As the older ballad may be interesting, even in its rude form, to some readers, it is here subjoined.

English Form

Mary's Dream

The moon had climbed the highest hill
Which rises o'er the source of Dee,
And from the eastern summit shed
Her silver light on tower and tree;
When Mary laid her down to sleep,
Her thoughts on Sandy far at sea,
When, soft and low, a voice was heard,
Saying,'Mary, weep no more for me!'

She from her pillow gently raised
Her head, to ask who there might be,
And saw young Sandy shivering stand,
With visage pale, and hollow ee.
0 Mary dear, cold is my clay;
It lies beneath a stormy sea.
Far, far from thee I sleep in death;
So, Mary, weep no more for me!

Three stormy nights and stormy days
We tossed upon the raging main;
And long we strove our bark to save,
But all our striving was in vain.
Even then, when horror chilled my blood,
My heart was filled with love for thee:
The storm is past, and I at rest;
So, Mary, weep no more for me!

0 maiden dear, thyself prepare;
We soon shall meet upon that shore,
Where love is free from doubt and care,
And thou and I shall part no more!'
Loud crowed the cock, the shadow fled,
No more of Sandy could she see;
But soft the passing spirit said,
Sweet Mary, weep no more for me!

Scottish Dialect Form

Mary's Dream

The lovely moon had climb'd the hill
Where eagles big aboon the Dee,
And, like the looks of a lovely dame,
Brought joy to every body's ee:
A' but sweet Mary, deep in sleep,
Her thoughts on Sandy, far at sea;
A voice drapt saftly on her ear —
Sweet Mary, weep nae mair for me!

She lifted up her waukening een,
To see from whence the voice might be,
And there she saw young Sandy stand,
Pale, bending on her his hollow ee.
O Mary dear,lament nae mair!
I'm in death's thraws aneath the sea;
Thy weeping makes me sad in bliss,
Sae, Mary, weep nae mair for me!

The wind slept when we left the bay,
But soon it wak'd, and rais'd the main,
And God, he bore us down the deep,
Wha strave wi' him but strave in vain.
He stretch'd his arm and took me up,
Though laith I was to gang but thee.
I look free heaven aboon the storm,
Sae, Mary, weep nae mair for me!

Take aff thae bride sheets frae thy bed,
Which thou hast faulded down for me;
Unrobe thee of thy earthly stole —
I'll meet, in heaven aboon, wi' thee.'
Three times the gray cock flapt his wing,
To mark the morning lift his ee,
And thrice the passing spirit said,
Sweet Mary, weep nae mair for me!