Page images



THERE's braw, braw lads on Yarrow braes,

That wander through the blooming heather ;
But Yarrow braes nor Ettrick shaws

Can match the lads o' Gala water.

But there is ane, a secret ane,

Abune them a' I lo'e him better ;
And I'll be his, and he'll be mine,

The bonnie lad o' Gala water.

Although his daddic was nae laird,

And though I hae nae mickle tocher;
Yet rich in kindest, truest love,

We'll tent our flocks on Gala water.

It ne'er was wealth, it ne'er was wealth,

That coft contentment, peace, or pleasure ;
The bands and bliss o' mutual love,

Oh, that's the chiefest warld's treasure !
The old tune to which this is sung is very beautiful. Its exact date is unknown.
It is said to have been a great favourite of Haydn's. The words of the old song are
lost, with the exception of the following:

Braw, braw lads of Gala water,

Braw, braw lads of Gala water;
I'll kilt my coats aboon my knee,

And follow my love through the water.
O'er yon bank and o'er yon brae,

O'er yon moss amang the heather,
I'll kilt my coats aboon my knee,

And follow my love through the water.


BURNS. Air-“ There'll never be peace until Jamie comes hame."

Now in her green mantle blythe Nature arrays,
And listens the lambkins that bleat ower the braes,
While birds warble welcome in ilka green shaw;
But to me it's delightless — my Nannie's awa.

The snaw-drap and primrose our woodlands adorn,
And violets bathe in the weet o' the morn;
They pain my sad bosom, sae sweetly they blaw;
They mind me o’Nannie--and Nannie's awa.
Thou laverock that springs frae the dews of the lawn,
The shepherd to warn of the grey-breaking dawn;
And thou mellow mavis that hails the night-fa',
Give over for pity —my Nannie's awa.
Come, Autumn, sae pensive in yellow and grey,
And soothe me wi' tidings o’nature's decay;
The dark dreary winter and wild driving snaw
Alane can delight me—my Nannie's awa.


BURNS. Air-“Wandering Willie." HERE awa, there awa, wandering Willie,

Now tired with wandering, haud awa hame; Come to my bosom, my ae only dearie,

And tell me thou bringst me my Willie the same. Loud blew the cauld winter winds at our parting ;

It was nae the blast brought the tear in my ee; Now welcome the simmer, and welcome my Willie

The simmer to nature, my Willie to me.
Ye hurricanes, rest in the caves o’your slumbers;
Oh, how


wild horrors a lover alarms ! Awaken, ye breezes, row gently, ye billows,

And waft my dear laddie ance mair to my arms. But if he's forgotten his faithfullest Nannie,

Oh, still flow between us, thou wide roaring main! May I never see it, may I never trow it;

But dying believe that my




As altered by Mr. Erskine and Mr. Thomson. Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie,

, Here awa, there awa, haud awa hame; Come to my bosom, my ain only dearie,

Tell me thou bringst me my Willie the same.

Winter-winds blew loud and cauld at our parting,

Fears for my Willie brought tears in my ee;
Welcome now simmer and welcome my Willie,

As simmer to nature, so Willie to me.
Rest, ye wild storms, in the caves o' your slumbers ;

How your dread howlings a lover alarms !
Blow soft, ye breezes, roll gently, ye billows,

And waft my dear laddie ance mair to my arms.
But oh, if he's faithless, and minds not his Nannie,

Flow still between us, thou dark heaving main;
May I never see it, may I never trow it;
While dying I think that my



ain! Burns, with his usual judgment, adopted some of these alterations, and rejected




BEHIND yon hills where Stinchar flows

Mang moors an' mosses many 0,
The wintry sun the day has closed,

And I'll awa to Nannie 0.

The westlan wind blaws loud an' shrill,

The night's baith mirk and rainy 0;
But I'll get my plaid an' out I'll steal,

An' ower the hills to Nannie 0.
My Nannie's charming, sweet, an' young ;

Nae artfu' wiles to win ye 0;
May ill befa’ the flatt ring tongue

That wad beguile my Nannie 0.
Her face is fair, her heart is true,

As spotless as she's bonnie 0;
The opening gowan wet wi' dew

Nae purer is than Nannie.O.
A country lad is my degree,
An' few there be that ken me O

But what care I how few they be?

I'm welcome aye to Nannie 0.

My riches a' 's my penny-fee,

An' I maun guide it cannie 0);
But warl's


ne'er troubles me,
My thoughts are o' my Nannie 0.
Our auld gudeman delights to view

His sheep an' kye thrive bonnie 0;
But I'm as blithe that hauds his pleugh,

An' hae nae care but Nannie 0.

Come weel, come wae, I care na by,

I'll take what Heaven will sen' me 0);
Nae ither care in life have I

But live an' love my Nannie 0.

“In the printed copy of 'My Nannie 0,'says Burns to Thomson, " the name of the river is horridly prosaic. I will alter it to · Behind yon hills where Lugar flows.' Girvan is the name of the river that suits the idea of the stanza best, but Lugar is the most agreeable modulation of syllables." The heroine of this song, written when the poet was very young, was a Miss Fleming, daughter of a farmer in the parish of Tarbolton, Ayrshire. Allan Ramsay wrote a song to the same exquisite melody, but it is in no respect equal to Burns'.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The day returns, my bosom burns,

The blissful day we twa did meet;
Though winter wild in tempest toil'd,

Ne'er summer sun was half sae sweet.
Than a' the pride that loads the tide,

And crosses o'er the sultry line ;
Than kingly robes, than crowns and globes,

Heaven gave me more—it made thee mine.
While day and night can bring delight,

Or nature aught of pleasure give;
While joys above my mind can move,

For thee and thee alone I live!
When that grim foe of life below

Comes in between to make us part;
The iron hand that breaks our band,

It breaks my bliss—it breaks my heart.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair !
How can ye chant, ye little birds,

And I sae weary fou o' care !
Ye'll break my heart, ye little birds,

That wanton through the flowery thorn ;
Ye mind me o' departed joys,

Departed never to return.

* " There is an air,” says Burns, in a letter to Mr. Thomson, " called The Caledonian Hunt's delight,' to which I wrote a song that you will find in Johnson. «Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,' might, I think, find a place among your hundred, as Lear says of his nights. Do you know the history of the air? It is curious enough. A good many years ago, Mr. James Miller, writer in your good town, a gentleman whom possibly you know, was in company with our friend Clarke; and talking of Scottish music, Miller expressed an ardent ambition to be able to compose a Scots air. Mr. Clarke, partly by way of joke, told him to keep to the black keys of the harpsicord, and preserve some kind of rhythm, and he would infallibly compose a Scots air. Certain it is that in a few days Mr. Miller produced the rudiments of an air, which Mr. Clarke, with some touches and corrections, fashioned into the tune in question. Ritson, you know, has the same story of the black keys; but this account which I have just given you, Mr. Clarke informed me of several years ago. Now, to show you how difficult it is to trace the origin of our airs, I have heard it repeatedly asserted that this was an Irish air; nay, I met with an Irish gentleman who affirmed that he had heard it in Ireland among the old women; while, on the other hand, a countess informed me that the first person who introduced the air into this country was a baronet's lady of her acquaintance, who took down the notes from an itinerant piper in the Isle of Man. How difficult, then, to ascertain the truth respecting our poesy and music!"

« PreviousContinue »