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ROBERT BURNS

1759-1796

507                                           Mary Morison

O MARY, at thy window be,
   It is the wish’d, the trysted hour!
Those smiles and glances let me see,
   That make the miser’s treasure poor:
How blythely wad I bide the stour1
   A weary slave frae sun to sun,
Could I the rich reward secure,
   The lovely Mary Morison!
Yestreen, when to the trembling string
    The dance gaed thro’ the lighted ha’,
To thee my fancy took its wing,
   I sat, but neither heard nor saw:
Tho’ this was fair, and that was braw,
   And yon the toast of a’ the town,
I sigh’d, and said amang them a’,
   ‘Ye arena Mary Morison.’
O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,
   Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?
Or canst thou break that heart of his,
   Whase only faut is loving thee?
If love for love thou wiltna gie,
   At least be pity to me shown;
A thought ungentle canna be
   The thought o’ Mary Morison.

1 stour: dust, turmoil.

508                                                Jean

OF a’ the airts1 the wind can blaw,
    I dearly like the west,
For there the bonnie lassie lives,
    The lassie I lo’e best:
There wild woods grow, and rivers row,2
    And monie a hill between;
But day and night my fancy’s flight
    Is ever wi’ my Jean.
I see her in the dewy flowers,
    I see her sweet and fair:
I hear her in the tunefu’ birds,
    I hear her charm the air:
There’s not a bonnie flower that springs
    By fountain, shaw, or green;
There’s not a bonnie bird that sings,
    But minds me o’ my Jean.

1 airts: points of the compass.

2 row: roll.

509                                           Auld Lang Syne

SHOULD auld acquaintance be forgot,
   And never brought to min’?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
   And days o’ lang syne?
We twa hae rin about the braes,
   And pu’d the gowans1 fine;
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit2
   Sin’ auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’t i’ the burn,
   Frae mornin’ sun till dine;3
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
   Sin’ auld lang syne.
And here’s a hand, my trusty fiere,4
   And gie’s a hand o’ thine;
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught5
   For auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
   And surely I’ll be mine;
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
   For auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
   For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
   For auld lang syne.

1 gowans: daisies.

2 fit: foot.

3 dine: dinner-time.

4 fiere: partner.

5 guid-willie waught: friendly draught.

510                                        My Bonnie Mary

GO fetch to me a pint o’ wine,
   An’ fill it in a silver tassie,1
That I may drink, before I go,
   A service to my bonnie lassie.
The boat rocks at the pier o’ Leith,
   Fu’ loud the wind blaws frae the ferry,
The ship rides by the Berwick-law,
   And I maun leave my bonnie Mary.
The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
   The glittering spears are rankàed ready;
The shouts o’ war are heard afar,
   The battle closes thick and bloody;
But it’s no the roar o’ sea or shore
   Wad mak me langer wish to tarry;
Nor shout o’ war that’s heard afar—
   It’s leaving thee, my bonnie Mary!

1 tassie: cup.

511                                       John Anderson, my Jo

JOHN ANDERSON, my jo,1 John,
   When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
   Your bonnie brow was brent;2
But now your brow is beld,3 John,
   Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,4
   John Anderson, my jo!
John Anderson, my jo, John,
   We clamb the hill thegither;
And monie a canty5 day, John,
   We’ve had wi’ ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
   But hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
   John Anderson, my jo.

1 jo: sweetheart.

2 brent: smooth, unwrinkled.

3 beld: bald.

4 pow: pate.

5 canty: cheerful.

512                                        The Banks o’ Doon

YE flowery banks o’ bonnie Doon,
    How can ye blume sae fair!
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
    And I sae fu’ o’ care!
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonnie bird,
    That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o’ the happy days
    When my fause luve was true.
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonnie bird,
    That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
    And wistna o’ my fate.
Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon,
   To see the woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o’ its luve,
   And sae did I o’ mine.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
   Upon a morn in June;
And sae I flourish’d on the morn,
   And sae was pu’d or1 noon.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
   Upon its thorny tree;
But my fause luver staw2 my rose,
   And left the thorn wi’ me.

1 or’: ere.

2 staw: stole.

513                                           Ae Fond Kiss

AE fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.
I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy;
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.
Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage1 thee!

1wage: stake, plight.

514                                              Bonnie Lesley

O SAW ye bonnie Lesley
   As she gaed o’er the Border?
She’s gane, like Alexander,
   To spread her conquests farther.
To see her is to love her,
   And love but her for ever;
For Nature made her what she is,
   And ne’er made sic anither!
Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,
   Thy subjects we, before thee:
Thou art divine, fair Lesley,
   The hearts o’ men adore thee.
The Deil he couldna scaith1 thee,
   Or aught that wad belang thee;
He’d look into thy bonnie face
   And say, ‘I canna wrang thee!’
The Powers aboon will tent2 thee,
   Misfortune sha’na steer3 thee:
Thou’rt like themsel’ sae lovely,
   That ill they’ll ne’er let near thee.
Return again, fair Lesley,
   Return to Caledonie!
That we may brag we hae a lass
   There’s nane again sae bonnie!

1 scaith: harm.

2 tent: watch.

3 steer: molest.

515                                             Highland Mary

YE banks and braes and streams around
   The castle o’ Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
   Your waters never drumlie!1
There simmer first unfauld her robes,
   And there the langest tarry;
For there I took the last fareweel
   O’ my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloom’d the gay green birk,
   How rich the hawthorn’s blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade
   I clasp’d her to my bosom!
The golden hours on angel wings
   Flew o’er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
   Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi’ monie a vow and lock’d embrace
   Our parting was fu’ tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
   We tore oursels asunder;
But oh! fell Death’s untimely frost,
   That nipt my flower sae early!
Now green’s the sod, and cauld’s the clay,
   That wraps my Highland Mary!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips
   I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly!
And closed for aye the sparkling glance
   That dwelt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust
   That heart that lo’ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom’s core
   Shall live my Highland Mary.

1 drumlie: miry.

516                                      O were my Love yon Lilac fair

O WERE my Love yon lilac fair,
   Wi’ purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
   When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
   By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
   When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d.
O gin my Love were yon red rose
   That grows upon the castle wa’,
And I mysel a drap o’ dew,
   Into her bonnie breast to fa’;
O there, beyond expression blest,
   I’d feast on beauty a’ the night;
Seal’d on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
   Till fley’d awa’ by Phbus’ light.

517                                            A Red, Red Rose

O MY Luve’s like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie
   That’s sweetly play’d in tune!
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in luve am I
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry:
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will luve thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only luve,
   And fare thee weel a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
   Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

518                                        Lament for Culloden

THE lovely lass o’ Inverness,
   Nae joy nor pleasure can she see;
For e’en and morn she cries, ‘Alas!’
   And aye the saut tear blin’s her e’e:
‘Drumossie moor, Drumossie day,
   A waefu’ day it was to me!
For there I lost my father dear,
   My father dear and brethren three.
‘Their winding-sheet the bluidy clay,
   Their graves are growing green to see;
And by them lies the dearest lad
   That ever blest a woman’s e’e!
Now wae to thee, thou cruel lord,
   A bluidy man I trow thou be;
For monie a heart thou hast made sair,
   That ne’er did wrang to thine or thee.’

519                                            The Farewell

IT was a’ for our rightfu’ King
   We left fair Scotland’s strand;
It was a’ for our rightfu’ King
   We e’er saw Irish land,
                           My dear—
We e’er saw Irish land.
Now a’ is done that men can do,
   And a’ is done in vain;
My love and native land, farewell,
   For I maun cross the main,
                           My dear—
For I maun cross the main.
He turn’d him right and round about
   Upon the Irish shore;
And gae his bridle-reins a shake,
   With, Adieu for evermore,
                           My dear—
With, Adieu for evermore!
The sodger frae the wars returns,
   The sailor frae the main;
But I hae parted frae my love,
   Never to meet again,
                           My dear—
Never to meet again.
When day is gane, and night is come,
   And a’ folk bound to sleep,
I think on him that’s far awa’,
   The lee-lang night, and weep,
                           My dear—
The lee-lang1 night, and weep.

1 lee-lang: livelong.

520                                           Hark! the Mavis

CA’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows,
Ca’ them where the burnie rows,
    My bonnie dearie
.
Hark! the mavis’ evening sang
Sounding Clouden’s woods amang,
Then a-faulding let us gang,
   My bonnie dearie.
We’ll gae down by Clouden side,
Through the hazels spreading wide,
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
   To the moon sae clearly.
Yonder Clouden’s silent towers,
Where at moonshine midnight hours
O’er the dewy bending flowers
   Fairies dance sae cheery.
Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear;
Thou’rt to Love and Heaven sae dear,
Nocht of ill may come thee near,
   My bonnie dearie.
Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stown my very heart;
I can die—but canna part,
   My bonnie dearie.
While waters wimple to the sea;
While day blinks in the lift1 sae hie;
Till clay-cauld death shall blin’ my e’e,
   Ye shall be my dearie.
Ca’ the yowes to the knowes...

1 lift: sky.

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