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Five Burns Songs

Word count: 570

Song Cycle by Mervyn, Lord Horder, the Second Baron of Ashford (1910 - 1998)

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1. A red, red rose [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): SWG CZE DAN GER GER GER GER GER GER GER GER GRE IRI SWE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • SWG Swiss German (Schwizerdütsch) (August Corrodi) , "Min schatz ist wienes Röseli", first published 1870
  • GRE Greek (Ελληνικά) [singable] (Christakis Poumbouris) , "Η π’ αγαπώ ’ναι ρόδο ροζ", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


O my [Luve's]1 like a red, red rose 
  That's newly sprung in June: 
O my [Luve's]1 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.


View original text (without footnotes)
Note: due to a similarity in first lines, Berg's song O wär' mein Lieb' jen' Röslein roth is often erroneously indicated as a translation of this poem.
1 Beach: "Luve is"; Bacon: "love's"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. O whistle and I'll come to you [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): GER

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O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad,
O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad;
Tho' father, and mother, and a' should gae mad,
  [Thy Jeanie will venture wi' ye, my lad.]1

But warily tent, when ye come to court me,
And come nae unless the back-yett be a-jee;
Syne up the back-style and let naebody see,
  And come as ye were na comin to me -
  And come as ye were na comin to me. -
     O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad...

At kirk, or at market whene'er ye meet me, 
Gang by me as tho' that ye car'd nae a flie;
But steal me a blink o' your bonie black e'e,
  Yet look as ye were na lookin at me -
  Yet look as ye were na lookin at me.
     O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad...

Ay vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whyles ye may lightly my beauty a wee;
But court nae anither, tho' jokin ye be,
  For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me -
  For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me. -
     O whistle, and I'll come to ye, my lad...


View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Hopekirk

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

3. My Jean [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): DAN FRE GER GER GER

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Of a' the airts the wind can blaw, 
	I dearly like the west, 
For there the bonnie Lassie lives, 
  The Lassie I lo'e best: 
There's wild-woods grow, and rivers row, 
  And mony 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.


Tune: Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. John Anderson, my jo [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): FRE GER GER GER GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "John Anderson, mon chéri", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


John Anderson, my jo, John, 
  When we were first acquent, 
Your locks were like the raven, 
  Your bonie 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 mony a cantie 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!


Confirmed with The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Cambridge edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897, page 223.


Submitted by Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]

5. The Winter it is past [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): GER GER

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The Winter it is past, 
and the summer comes at last,
And the small birds, they sing on ev'ry tree;
Now ev'ry thing is glad,
while I am very sad,
Since my true love is parted from me.

The rose upon the brier,
by the waters running clear,
May have charms for the linnet or the bee;
Their little loves are blest,
and their little hearts at rest,
But my true love is parted from me.


Submitted by Jean Branch

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