'Katy 's Answer' by Allan Ramsay

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1My mither's ay glowran o'er me,
2Tho she did the same before me,
3I canna get leave
4To look to my loove,
5Or else she'll be like to devour me.

6Right fain wad I take ye'r offer,
7Sweet Sir, but I'll tine my tocher,
8Then, Sandy, ye'll fret,
9And wyt ye'r poor Kate,
10When e'er ye keek in your toom coffer.

11For tho my father has plenty
12Of siller and plenishing dainty,
13Yet he's unco sweer
14To twin wi' his gear,
15And sae we had need to be tenty.

16Tutor my parents wi' caution,
17Be wylie in ilka motion,
18Brag well o' ye'r land,
19And there's my leal hand,
20Win them, I'll be at your devotion.

Editor 1 Interpretation

Katy's Answer: A Poem by Allan Ramsay

Have you ever read a poem that captures the essence of love and the beauty of nature in a few short lines? Look no further than Allan Ramsay's "Katy's Answer." In just 24 lines of rhyming couplets, Ramsay paints a vivid picture of a young couple's love, set against the backdrop of a picturesque Scottish countryside.


Allan Ramsay (1686-1758) was a Scottish poet, playwright, and publisher. He is best known for his pastoral poetry, which celebrates rural life and nature. "Katy's Answer" was first published in 1730 as part of a collection of poems titled "The Tea-Table Miscellany." The poem is written in Scots dialect, which is a variant of English spoken in Scotland.


The poem opens with the speaker asking Katy, "Will ye go to the Hielands, Leezie Lindsay?" The Hielands, or Highlands, are a mountainous region in Scotland known for its rugged beauty. The speaker is asking Katy if she wants to go on a journey with him to this picturesque landscape.

Katy's answer is an enthusiastic "I will gang wi' you, my kind Highland laddie!" She is eager to accompany the speaker on this adventure, showing her trust in him and her willingness to explore new places.

As the couple travels through the Hielands, they encounter breathtaking scenery. The "birks," or birch trees, are "bonie," or beautiful. The "braes," or hillsides, are covered in heather, a purple flower that is a symbol of Scotland. The "burn," or stream, flows gently through the landscape.

The speaker is captivated by this natural beauty and declares his love for Katy. He says that even the "dowie dens," or gloomy valleys, are made "blythe," or cheerful, by her presence. He compares her to the "primrose," a delicate yellow flower that blooms in the spring. In doing so, he is expressing his admiration for her beauty and his belief that she brings joy to his life.

Katy, in turn, responds with her own declaration of love. She tells the speaker that she loves him more than anything else in the world, even the "honey-suckle," a sweet-smelling flower that is often associated with love. She promises to be faithful to him and to love him until the end of time.

The poem ends with the speaker and Katy enjoying each other's company in the "bonie" Hielands. They are surrounded by nature's beauty and the promise of a bright future together.

Literary Criticism

"Katy's Answer" is a prime example of pastoral poetry, which celebrates the beauty of rural life and nature. Ramsay uses vivid imagery to bring the Scottish landscape to life, making it a central character in the poem. The Hielands are not just a backdrop for the couple's love story; they are a living, breathing entity that enhances the beauty of their relationship.

Ramsay also employs the use of dialect in the poem, which adds to its authenticity and charm. The use of Scots dialect is a nod to Ramsay's Scottish heritage and gives the poem a sense of place and time.

The poem's rhyme scheme, which follows aabbccdd pattern, adds to its musicality and makes it easy to read and remember. The simple, straightforward language also makes it accessible to readers of all ages and backgrounds.

At its core, "Katy's Answer" is a love poem that celebrates the beauty of nature and the joy of being in love. It reminds us that love can be found in the most unexpected places and that it has the power to transform even the dreariest of landscapes into something beautiful and meaningful.


In conclusion, "Katy's Answer" is a beautiful poem that captures the essence of love and nature in a few short lines. Ramsay's use of vivid imagery, Scots dialect, and simple language make it a timeless classic that has resonated with readers for centuries. It is a testament to the power of love and the beauty of nature, reminding us that there is nothing more precious than being in the company of those we love in a beautiful landscape.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Katy's Answer: A Classic Poem by Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay, a Scottish poet, is known for his works that reflect the culture and traditions of Scotland. One of his most famous poems is "Katy's Answer," a beautiful piece that tells the story of a young woman's response to a suitor's proposal. This poem is a classic example of Ramsay's ability to capture the essence of Scottish life and the emotions that come with it.

The poem begins with the suitor, who is unnamed, expressing his love for Katy. He tells her that he wants to marry her and live a happy life together. He promises to provide for her and make her happy. The suitor's words are sincere and heartfelt, and it is clear that he truly loves Katy.

Katy's response to the suitor's proposal is the focus of the poem. She listens to his words carefully, and then she speaks. Her answer is not what the suitor expects, and it is this unexpected response that makes the poem so powerful.

Katy's answer is simple but profound. She tells the suitor that she cannot marry him because she is already in love with someone else. She does not reveal the identity of this person, but it is clear that her heart belongs to someone else. Katy's response is honest and brave, and it shows her strength of character.

The poem is written in Scots, a dialect of English that is spoken in Scotland. Ramsay's use of Scots adds to the authenticity of the poem and helps to capture the Scottish culture and traditions. The language is rich and expressive, and it adds to the emotional impact of the poem.

Ramsay's use of imagery is also noteworthy. He describes Katy's eyes as "twa sparkling diamonds," which adds to the beauty of the poem. The use of imagery helps to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind and adds to the emotional impact of the poem.

The theme of the poem is love and honesty. Katy's response to the suitor's proposal is honest and true to her heart. She could have easily accepted the suitor's proposal and lived a comfortable life, but she chose to be true to herself and her feelings. The poem celebrates the importance of honesty and staying true to oneself.

The poem also reflects the culture and traditions of Scotland. The idea of being true to oneself and one's feelings is an important part of Scottish culture. The use of Scots language and imagery also adds to the Scottishness of the poem.

Overall, "Katy's Answer" is a beautiful and powerful poem that captures the essence of Scottish life and the importance of honesty and staying true to oneself. Ramsay's use of language and imagery adds to the emotional impact of the poem and helps to create a vivid picture in the reader's mind. This poem is a classic example of Ramsay's ability to capture the emotions and traditions of Scotland in his writing.

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