On a visit to Scotland, a ‘Lady’ (recorded as being the renowned beauty and novelist Lady Charlotte Campbell) was startled by the appearance and conduct of a poor mad woman. This poem, published around 1800, tells the sad tale of heart-broken ‘Crazy Jane’, who lost her wits when she was deserted by her false lover, Henry.
Why, fair maid, in ev’ry feature,
Are such signs of fear express’d?
Can a wandering wretched creature,
With such terrors fill thy breast?
Do my frenzied looks alarm thee?
Trust me, sweet, thy fears are vain;
Not for kingdoms would I harm thee;
Shun not then poor Crazy Jane.
Dost thou weep to see my anguish?
Mark me, and avoid my woe,
When men flatter, sigh and languish,
Think them false – I found them so.
For I lov’d – Oh, so sincerely,
None could ever love again,
But the youth I lov’d so dearly,
Stole the wits of Crazy Jane.
Fondly my young heart receiv’d him,
Which was doom’d to love but one,
He sigh’d – he vow’d – and I believed him
He was false – and I undone,
From that hour has reason never
Held her empire o’er my brain:
Henry fled – With him for ever
Fled the wits of Crazy Jane.
Now forlorn and broken-hearted,
And with frenzied thoughts beset,
On that spot where we last parted,
On that spot where first we met.
Still I sing my love-lorn ditty;
Still I slowly pace the plain,
Whilst each passer-by, in pity,
Cries – God help ye, Crazy Jane.
Images © Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.