Sketch by Isa, Marjory's cousin.

Who was Marjory Fleming?

Marjorie Fleming (15 January 1803 - 19 December 1811) was a child writer and poet, born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. She died of meningitis at the age of 8. Her complete written work is held by the National Library of Scotland. After spending some time in Edinburgh under the tutelage of her beloved cousin Isa Keith, Fleming returned to Kirkcaldy, where she contracted measles which later developed into the meningitis that killed her.

She is best remembered for a diary which she kept for the last eighteen months of her life. For fifty years following her death the diary remained unpublished, although she was rumoured to be the favorite poet of Sir Walter Scott. Fleming was allegedly related to Scott distantly on her mother's side. The two never referred to each other in their journals and the relationship was suggested by her 1863 editor Dr. John Brown.

Her diary was first published in 1858 by H. B. Farnie and was a great hit with Victorians. It was subsequently re-edited by Dr. Brown in 1863 and Lachlan Macbean in 1904 and 1928. However, these were severely truncated and re-worked versions of Fleming's diary, due to the nature of Fleming's writing style which used language seen in Victorian times as inappropriate for an eight-year-old to use, or indeed to be used at all in polite company. As a result, Fleming's writings were extensively edited during the Victorian and subsequent Edwardian periods and a complete and accurate edition was not published until 1935, over a century after Marjorie Fleming's death.

Note: "Marjorie" is the spelling popularized by her later editors. "Marjory" is the spelling used by the Fleming family.

Marjory's life was from 1803 to 1811.

From my personal collection.




  • Quay Bell 6y

    Oh I LoVe Poetry!~Beautiful!~thanks Love~
  • richardasplen 6y

    She was unknown to me. Thanks for the information.
  • star1950 6y

    Hi Quay when I find her poetry I will post it to let you see her work.

    Hi Richard, there is a small museum i've been to, shows her notes and poems, it just gets to you when looking at them and realising she died at only 8 years old.
    Thank you both for commenting.
  • Katie 6y

    Hi Star! Marjory Fleming is a major player in my Ph.D. dissertation, which I hope to finish sometime next year. Those interested in reading her writing should know that a new edition was released a few years ago.

    In my opinion, MF is one of the most enjoyable authors you could read!
  • Katie 6y

    P.S. Here's one poem for Quay.

    "A Melancholy Lay"
    by Marjory Fleming (1803-1811)

    Three Turkeys fair their last have breathed
    And now this worled for ever leaved
    Their father and their mother too
    Will sigh and weep as well as you
    Mourning for their offspring fair
    Whom they did nurse with tender care
    Indeed the rats their bones have cranch'd
    To Eternity are they launched
    Their graceful form and pretty eyes
    Their fellow fowls did not despise
    A direful death indeed they had
    That would put any parent mad
    But she was more than usual calm
    She did not give a single dam
    Here ends this melancholy lay
    Farewell poor turkeys I must say
  • star1950 6y

    Hi Katherine nice of you to drop in.
    Thank you so much for leaving a poem for Quay, that was so nice of you. Hope you do well in your Ph. D.

    Thanks again.
  • 76 Totters Lane 3y

    Hi, I really love this work -
    would you please add it to TOTAL ART

    Click here to add your Work
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Taken on February 24, 2009
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