High School Teacher
|(Level 3) Distinguished Educator
This short poem by Sir Walter Scott seems to capture the haughtiness of youth through the way in which the response "Proud Maisie" receives to her question to the Robin tricks her into anticipating some kind of grand wedding to a handsome and rich man, only to discover that the event the Robin is talking about is her own death, which appears to be the only repayment for her pride and vanity. Note the way that that Robin's first response to Maisie cleverly disguises the true meaning and implication behind his words. When asked when Maisie shall marry, the Robin responds: "When six braw gentlemen / Kirkward shall carry ye."It is only when Maisie asks the Robin "Who makes the bridal bed," that the true nature of the Robin's response is made clear as the sexton is the man who will make Maisie's bridal death. Note how the final stanza brings Maisie's folly full circle with reference to the way that the owl shall sing to her "Welcome, proud lady." Thus the "proud" Maisie of the first stanza is welcomed to her death through her pride, it is suggested, in the final stanza. The title thus refers to the way that we can be so proud of ourselves in our youth and so blind to the way that this can actually endanger us.