Robert Burns

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    Biographical information

  1. A Farewell
  2. A Red, Red Rose
  3. Ae Fond Kiss
  4. Auld Lang Syne
  5. Bonnie Lesley
  6. Coming Thro' the Rye
  7. Highland Mary
  8. John Anderson, my Jo, John
  9. Lament for Culloden
  10. Mary Morison
  11. My Bonnie Mary
  12. To a Louse
  13. To a Mouse
  14. O Were my Love Yon Lilac Fair




    Biographical information

      Name: Robert Burns
      Place and date of birth: Alloway, Ayrshire (Scotland); January 25, 1759
      Place and date of death: Dumfries (Scotland); July 21, 1796 (aged 37)

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      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.

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      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 silksaft faulds to rest,
        Till fley'd awa' by Phoebus' light.

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      A Farewell

        Go fetch to me a pint o' wine,
        An' fill it in a silver tassie;
        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 Berwicklaw,
        And I maun leave my bonnie Mary.

        The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
        The glittering spears are rank§·d ready;
        The shouts o' war are heard afar,
        The battle closes thick and bloody;
        But it's not the roar o' sea or shore
        Wad mak me langer wish to tarry;
        Nor shouts o' war that's heard afar-
        It's leaving thee, my bonnie Mary.

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      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 could na scaith thee,
        Or aught that wad belang thee;
        He'd look into thy bonnie face,
        And say, 'I canna wrang thee!'.

        The Powers aboon will tent thee;
        Misfortune sha' na steer thee;
        Thou'rt like themselves 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.

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      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 windingsheet 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.'

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      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!
        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' mony 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 clos'd 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.

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      Ae Fond Kiss

        Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
        Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
        Deep in heartwrung 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 brokenhearted.

        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 heartwrung tears I'll pledge thee,
        Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!

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      My Bonnie Mary

        Go fetch to me a pint o' wine,
        An' fill it in a silver tassie,
        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 Berwicklaw,
        And I maun leave my bonnie Mary.

        The trumpets sound, the banners fly,
        The glittering spears are rank§·d 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!

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      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 stour
        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.

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      John Anderson, my Jo, John

        John Anderson, my Jo, John,
        When we were first acquent,
        Your locks were like the raven,
        Your bonnie brow was brent;
        But now your brow is beld, John,
        Your locks are like the snaw,
        But blessings on your frosty pow,
        John Anderson, my Jo!

        John Anderson, my Jo, John,
        We clamb the hill thegither,
        And monie a cantie day, John,
        We've had wi' ane anither;
        Now we maun totter down, John,
        And hand in hand we'll go,
        And sleep thegither at the foot,
        John Anderson, my Jo!

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      Auld Lang Syne

        Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
        And never brought to mind?
        Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
        And 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.

        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.

        We twa hae run about the braes,
        And pu'd the gowans fine;
        But we've wandered mony a weary fit
        Sin' 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.

        We twa hae paidled i' the burn,
        Frae morning sun till dine;
        But seas between us braid hae roared
        Sin' 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.

        And there's a hand, my trusty fiere,
        And gie's a hand o' thine!
        And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught
        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.

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      Coming Thro' the Rye

        Coming thro' the rye, poor body,
        Coming thro' the rye,
        She draiglet a' her petticoatie
        Coming thro' the rye.

        O, Jenny's a' wat, poor body;
        Jenny's seldom dry;
        She draiglet a' her petticoatie
        Coming thro' the rye.

        Gin a body meet a body
        Coming thro' the rye,
        Gin a body kiss a body¡ª
        Need a body cry?

        Gin a body meet a body
        Coming thro' the glen,
        Gin a body kiss a body
        Need the warld ken?

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      To a Louse

        (On seeing a louse on a lady's bonnet at church).

        Ha! Whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie!
        Your impudence protects you sairly:
        I canna say but ye strunt rarely
        Owre gauze and lace;
        Tho' faith, I fear ye dine but sparely
        On sic a place.

        Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
        Detested, shunned by saunt an' sinner,
        How daur ye set your fit upon her,
        Sae fine a lady!
        Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner,
        On some poor body.

        Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle;
        There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle
        Wi' ither kindred, jumpin cattle,
        In shoals and nations;
        Whare horn or bane ne'er daur unsettle
        Your thick plantations.

        Now haud ye there, ye're out o' sight,
        Below the fatt'rels, snug an' tight;
        Na faith ye yet! ye'll no be right
        Till ye've got on it,
        The vera tapmost, towering height
        O' Miss's bonnet.

        My sooth! Right bauld ye set your nose out,
        As plump an' grey as onie grozet:
        O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
        Or fell, red smeddum,
        I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't,
        Wad dress your droddum!

        I wad na been surprised to spy
        You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
        Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
        On's wyliecoat;
        But Miss's fine Lunardi! fie!
        How daur ye do't?

        O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
        An' set your beauties a' abread!
        Ye little ken what cursed speed
        The blastie's makin!
        Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
        Are notice takin!

        O, wad some Power the giftie gie us
        To see oursels as others see us!
        It wad frae monie a blunder free us
        An' foolish notion:
        What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
        And ev'n Devotion!

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      To a Mouse

        (On Turning her up in her Nest with the Plough).

        Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie,
        O what a panic's in thy breastie!
        Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
        Wi' bickering brattle!
        I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
        Wi' murd'ring pattle!

        I'm truly sorry man's dominion
        Has broken nature's social union,
        An' justifies that ill opinion
        Which makes thee startle
        At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
        An' fellow-mortal!

        I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
        What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
        A daimen-icker in a thrave
        'S a sma' request:
        I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
        And never miss't!

        Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
        Its silly wa's the win's are strewin':
        And naething, now, to big a new ane,
        O' foggage green!
        An' bleak December's winds ensuin'
        Baith snell an' keen!

        Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste
        An' weary winter comin' fast,
        An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
        Thou thought to dwell,
        Till, crash! the cruel coulter past
        Out thro' thy cell.

        That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
        Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
        Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
        But house or hald,
        To thole the winter's sleety dribble
        An' cranreuch cauld!

        But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
        In proving foresight may be vain:
        The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
        Gang aft a-gley,
        An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
        For promised joy.

        Still thou art blest, compared wi' me!
        The present only toucheth thee:
        But, oh! I backward cast my e'e
        On prospects drear!
        An' forward, tho' I canna see,
        I guess an' fear!

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