You can help us modernize! The present website has been online for a very long time and we want to bring it up to date. As of April 20, we are $4,600 away from our goal of $15,000 to fund the project. The fully redesigned site will be better for mobile, easier to read and navigate, and ready for the next decade. Please give today and join dozens of other supporters in making this important renovation possible!

The LiederNet Archive
WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net

O saw ye bonnie Lesley

Language: Scottish (Scots)

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 never made 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 themsels 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.

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with Robert Burns, The Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, 1919, page 452.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2019, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2003-09-29T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2019-04-04T13:19:14
Line count: 24
Word count: 137

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust

Ô avez‑vous vu la belle Lesley

Language: French (Français) after the Scottish (Scots)

 Ô avez-vous vu la belle Lesley
    Quand elle a traversé la frontière
Elle est passée comme Alexandre
    Pour étendre ses conquêtes plus loin.

La voir, c'est l'aimer,
    Et n'aimer qu'elle pour toujours,
Car le Nature la fit ce qu'elle est
    Et n'en fit jamais d'autre.

Tu es une reine,belle Lesley,
    Nous, tes sujets devant toi :
Tu es divine, belle Lesley,
    Le cœur des hommes t'adore.

Le diable ne peut te nuire
    Ni à rien qui t'appartiendrait :
Il regarderait ta jolie figure,
    Et dirait « Je ne puis te faire du mal ! ».

Les puissances célestes te protégeront,
    L'infortune jamais ne s'acharnera sur toi ;
Tu es comme elles si charmante
    Que jamais elles ne la souffriront près de toi.

Reviens, belle Lesley,
    Reviens en Calédonie !
Que nous puissions nous vanter d'avoir une fille
    Qu'aucune autre n'égale en beauté.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

About the headline (FAQ)

Translations of title(s):
"Bonny Lesley" = "Belle Lesley"
"Bonnie Lesley" = "Belle Lesley"
"O saw ye bonie Lesley" = "Ô avez-vous vu la belle Lesley"


  • Translation from Scottish (Scots) to French (Français) copyright © 2019 by Pierre Mathé, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.


    licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
    (licenses at lieder dot net)

Based on
  • a text in Scottish (Scots) by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796), "Bonnie Lesley"
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): William Beaton Moonie, Humphrey Procter-Gregg, Maude Valérie White. Go to the text.


Text added to the website: 2019-04-04T00:00:00.
Last modified: 2019-04-04T10:25:25
Line count: 24
Word count: 143