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O, WERE my


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 ! How I wad sing on wanton wing,

When youthfu' May its bloom renewed.



TUNE-I had a Horse.

between ye;

O, PUIRTITH cauld, and restless love,

Ye wreck my peace
Yet puirtith a' I could forgie,
An 'twere na for my

O, why should fate sic pleasure have,

Life's dearest bands untwining ?
Or why sae sweet a flower as love

Depend on Fortune's shining ?

This world's wealth when I think on,

Its pride, and a' the lave o't; Fie, fie on silly coward man,

That he should be the slave o't.

Her een, sae bonnie blue, betray

How she repays my passion ; But prudence is her owerword aye,

She talks of rank and fashion.

0, wha can prudence think upon,

And sic a lassie by him ?
O, wha can prudence think upon,
And sae in love as I am ?

How blest the humble cottar's lot!

He woos his simple dearie ;
The sillie bogles, wealth and state,
Can never make them eerie.
Oh, why should fate sic pleasure bave,

Life's dearest bands untwining ?
Or why sae sweet a flower as love

Depend on Fortune's shining ? *



How sweetly smells the simmer green;

Sweet taste the peach and cherry;
Painting and order please our een,

And claret makes us merry :
But finest colours, fruits, and flowers,

And wine, though I be thirsty,
Lose a' their charms and weaker powers,

Compared with those of Chirsty.

When wandering o'er the flowery park,

No natural beauty wanting,
How lightsome is't to hear the lark,

And birds in concert chanting ! * I have been informed, that Burns wrote this song in consequence of hearing a gentleman (now a respectable citizen of Edinburgh) sing the old homely ditty which gives name to the tune, with an effect which made him regret that such pathetic music should be united to such unsentimental poetry. The meeting, I have been further informed, where this circumstance took place, was held in the poet's favourite tavern, Johnzie Dowie's, in the Lawnmarket, Edinburgh; and there, at a subsequent meeting, the new song was also sung, for the first time, by the same individual.

† Spelled Christy in the original, but here altered to suit the ordinary pronunciation and the rhyme. The heroine of the song was Miss Christian Dundas, daughter of Sir James Dundas of Arniston, and married to Sir Charles Areskine of Alva, (who was born in 1613, and knighted in 1666.) She was the mother of Sir Charles Areskine of Alva, Lord Justice-Clerk of Scotland for some years previous to his death in 1763. As her son was born in 1680, we may conjecture that this lady flourished as " Bonny Chirsty" a good wḥile before Ramsay's time; but the poet, who might have written the song in compliment to charms which, though then faded, were still celebrated, is known, from the “Orpheus Caledonius," to have only substituted it for an older song, now lost. A portrait of Lady Areskine, exhibiting such a degree of beauty and grace as fully to justify her common title of Bonny Chirsty, is still in the possession of her descendants. From the circumstance of Rainsay having commenced his collection with this song, it would appear that it was, out of all his compositions in this department of poetry, his own favourite.

But if my Chirsty tunes her voice,

I'm rapt in admiration;
My thoughts with ecstasies rejoice,

And drap the haill creation.

Whene'er she smiles a kindly glance,

I take the happy omen,
And aften mint to make advance,

Hoping she'll prove a woman :
But, dubious of my ain desert,

My sentiments I smother ; With secret sighs I vex my heart,

For fear she love another.

Thus sung blate Edie by a burn;

His Chirsty did o'erbear him: She doughtna let her lover mourn,

But, ere be wist, drew near him. She spak her favour with a look,

Which left nae room to doubt her ; He wisely this white minute took,

And flung his arms about her.

My Chirsty! Witness, bonnie stream,

Sic joys frae tears arising !
I wish this may na be a dream!

Oh, love the maist surprising ! Time was too precious now for tauk ;

This point o' a' his wishes
He wadna with set speeches baulk,

But wared it a' on kisses.



Tune- The Yowe-buchts.

Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

And leave auld Scotia's shore ? Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

Across the Atlantic's roar ?

Oh, sweet grow the lime and the orange,

And the apple on the pine;
But a' the charms o' the Indies

Can never equal thine.

I hae sworn by the heavens, my Mary,

I hae sworn by the heavens to be true;
And sae may the heavens forget me,

When I forget my vow!

O, plight me your faith, my Mary,

And plight me your lily-white hand;
O, plight me your faith, my Mary,

Before I leave Scotia's strand.

We hae plighted our troth, my Mary,

In mutual affection to join ;
And curst be the cause that shall part us !

The hour and the moment o'time ! *



TUNE-Nanny, wilt thou gang wi' me ?
O, Nannie wilt thou



Nor sigh to leave the flaunting town?
Can silent glens have charms for thee,

The lowly cot and russet gown?
Nae langer drest in silken sheen,

Nae langer deck'd wi' jewels rare,
Say, canst thou quit each courtly scene,

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ?

O Nannie, when thou’rt far awa,

Wilt thou not cast a look behind ?

* When Burns was designing his voyage to the West Indies, he wrote this song as a farewell to a girl whom he happened to regard, at the time, with considerable admiration. He afterwards sent it to Mr Thomson for publication in his splendid collection of the national music and musical poetry of Scotland.

Say, canst thou face the flaky snaw,

Nor shrink before the winter wind ?
O can that soft and gentle mien

Severest hardships learn to bear,
Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene,

Where wert fairest of the fair ?

O Nannie, canst thou love so true,

Through perils keen wi' me to gae ?
Or, wben thy swain mishap shall rue,

To share with bim the pang of wae ?
Say, should disease or pain befall,

Wilt thou assume the nurse's care,
Nor, wishful, those gay scenes recall,

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ?

And when at last thy love shall die,

Wilt thou receive his parting breath?
Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,

And cheer with smiles the bed of death?
And wilt thou o'er his much-loved clay

Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear?
Nor then regret those scenes so gay,

Where thou wert fairest of the fair ?


[JACOBITE SONG.] UPON a fair morning, for soft recreation,

I heard a fair lady was making her moan, With sighing and sobbing, and sad lamentation,

Saying, My black bird most royal is flown. My thoughts they deceive me, reflections do grieve me,

And I am o'erburden'd wi' sad miserie ; Yet if death should blind me, as true love inclines me,

My black bird I'll seek out wherever he be.

* This song, which appeared in Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany, is inserted here as a specimen of the allegorical poetry under which the Jaco bites, about the beginning of the last century, couched their treasonable sentiments. The allegory of this poem is curious enough. The black bird was one of the nick-names of the Chevalier de St George, being suggested by his complexion, which was so excessively dark as to form a miraculous

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