Greyfriars Bobby

Here is the true story of 'Greyfriars Bobby' in the form of an epic poem.


First published by United Press in The Book Of Epic Poems 2011


ISBN 978-0-85781-087-8













In a stone hewn city where Arthur's seat lies open to the sky,

Auld Jock Grey and Greyfriars Bobby, together in Greyfriars

churchyard peacefully lie.

Bobby with his master lived in a deep narrow valley down a long

dark street,

In a part of Edinburgh who's aura was somewhat downbeat.


Everyday to the Grassmarket along gloomy Cowgate and to the top of

Candlemaker Row,

To Ramsey's Coffeehouse a master with his four legged friend 

in tow;

For Bobby at Ramsey's, he would collect a little treat,

A piece of sausage, bannock, or a bone to eat.


Then one day Auld Jock fell ill and sadly passed away,

As for Bobby, Auld Jock's passing meant that from his normal

routine, he was to walk a different way...


That night, Bobby made his way past the tall dark houses of

Candlemaker's Row,

Through the forbidding gates of Greyfriars churchyard past the

sign No Dogs Allowed illuminated by the gas lamp's glow.

Greyfriars churchyard was looked after by James Brown,

Whom Bobby dodged so at his master's grave he could

keep vigil at every sundown.


Around his favourite haunts, all the other dogs Bobby had no fear,

And in the Grassmarket, looking for scraps, to lots of people

his presence brought cheer.

Up at the castle when they fired the one' o clock  gun,

Off to the coffeehouse Bobby would run.

Mr Traill, the new owner treated Bobby like an old friend,

And many a time for a treat at the coffeehouse Bobby

would descend.


When the weather was cold and snowy, in the graveyard

Bobby did not sleep,

But close by with James Anderson, a maker of armchairs, a

place for Bobby he would keep.

And a game that Bobby liked to play most of all,

Was to chase away the cats, and boys' from George Heriots

School who came over the wall.

All the children at the school Bobby had made friends,

But to stay faithful by Auld Jock's grave, this right against

all odds Bobby would defend.

One day the police were told to check all dogs and to make

sure they had a licence,

All stray dogs to be destroyed as they constituted a nuisance.

A policeman entered Mr Traill's coffeehouse while Bobby was

having his dinner,

Is he your dog?

demanded the policeman, his eyes all a

glimmer,No that's Bobby he's not mine, I just feed him replied Mr Traill,

Who owns him then?

and the answer he got turned the policeman's

face a little pale!

Auld Jock Grey

replied Mr Traill 'He's been dead this past five years'

Very funny!

the policeman's voice contorted into a sneer.

I'm not being funny!

Mr Traill said If you want I'll write it down,

He lies in Greyfriars churchyard, ask the caretaker, James Brown.

Then all the goodly people and children hearing about Bobby's


To plead to the Lord Provost, Bobby's case they would all unite!


So Bobby's case to the Lord Provost was sent,

Who after deliberation, these facts of Bobby's case was to



...For devotion to duty, and for his vigil by his master's grave

he has kept,

These are the facts of Bobby's case we must all accept,


Bobby belongs to Greyfriars, as shown this day by this people’s

and children lobby,

Greyfriars belongs to the city, so the city must be responsible

for Bobby...





Bobby received the Freedom Of The City and his licence 1867


Bobby passed away 1872


Today Bobby's collar and dish from Mr Traill's coffeehouse can

be seen in the Huntly House Museum, Edinburgh.




Inscription on Bobby's gravestone erected by the Dog Aid Society Of Scotland

and unveiled by H.R.H. The Duke Of Gloucester C.C.V.O. 1881.






Copyright 2010 Peter Morriss




        Greyfriars Bobby  


Click on the thumbnail for larger image.