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A Burns Sequence

Word count: 983

Song Cycle by John Linton Gardner (b. 1917)

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1. Prayer under the pressure of violent anguish [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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O Thou Great Being! what Thou art,
  Surpasses me to know;
Yet sure I am, that known to Thee
  Are all Thy works below.
 
Thy creature here before Thee stands,
  All wretched and distrest;
Yet sure those ills that wring my soul
  Obey Thy high behest.
 
Sure, Thou, Almighty, canst not act
From cruelty or wrath!
O, free my weary eyes from tears,
Or close them fast in death!
 
But, if I must afflicted be,
To suit some wise design,
Then man my soul with firm resolves,
To bear and not repine!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Raging fortune [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

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O raging Fortune's withering blast
  Has laid my leaf full low, O!
O raging Fortune's withering blast
  Has laid my leaf full low, O!
 
My stem was fair, my bud was green,
  My blossom sweet did blow, O!
The dew fell fresh, the sun rose mild,
  And made my branches grow, O!
 
But luckless Fortune's northern storms
  Laid a' my blossoms low, O!
But luckless Fortune's northern storms
  Laid a' my blossoms low, O!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. My luve is like 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]2 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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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 and Scott: "Luve is"; Bacon: "love's"
2 Scott: "Sae"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Iain Sneddon [Guest Editor]

4. Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary? [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

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Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
  And leave auld Scotia's shore?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
  Across th' Atlantic roar?
 
O sweet grows 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 to 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: "Will ye go to the Ewe-Bughts, Marion."

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. O whistle an'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...


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1 omitted by Hopekirk

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

6. Ca' the yowes to the knowes [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

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Ca' the yowes tae the knowes,
  Ca' them whar the heather grows,
Ca' them whar the burnie rows,
  My bonnie dearie.

Hark, the mavis' e'enin' sang,
Soundin' Cluden's woods amang;
Then a fauldin' let us gang,
  My bonnie dearie.

We'll gang down by Clouden side,
Through the hazels spreading wide
O'er the waves that sweetly glide
  To the moon sae clearly.

Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stol'n my very heart;
I can die, but canna part,
  My bonnie Dearie.

While waters wimple to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie
Till death shall blin' my e'e
  Ye shall be my dearie.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Macpherson's farewell [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): FRE RUS

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "L'adieu de McPherson", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong,
The wretch's destinie!
McPherson's1 time will not be long,
On yonder gallows-tree.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
   Sae dauntingly gae'd he:
   He play'd a spring, and danc'd it round
   Below the gallows-tree.

O what is death but parting breath?
On many a bloody plain
I've dar'd his face, and in this place
I scorn him yet again!
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

Untie these bands from off my hands,
And bring to me my sword[;]2
And there 's no a man in all Scotland,
But I'll brave him at a word.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

I've liv'd a life of sturt and strife; 
I die by treacherie:
It burns my heart I must depart
And not avenged be.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

Now farewell, light, thou sunshine bright,
And all beneath the sky!
May coward shame distain his name,
The wretch that dares not die!
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...


View original text (without footnotes)
1 in some editions, "M'Pherson"
2 in some editions, ","
sturt = trouble

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. Paraphrase of the First Psalm [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: Scottish (Scots) after the Latin

Translation(s): GER

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Based on

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The man, in life wherever plac'd,
  Hath happiness in store,
Who walks not in the wicked's way,
  Nor learns their guilty lore!
 
Nor from the seat of scornful pride
  Casts forth his eyes abroad,
But with humility and awe
  Still walks before his God.
 
That man shall flourish like the trees,
  Which by the streamlets grow;
The fruitful top is spread on high,
  And firm the root below.
 
But he whose blossom buds in guilt
  Shall to the ground be cast,
And, like the rootless stubble, tost
  Before the sweeping blast.
 
For why? that God the good adore,
  Hath giv'n them peace and rest,
But hath decreed that wicked men
  Shall ne'er be truly blest.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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