by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)
Translation by Josef Václav Sládek (1845 - 1912)

There was a lass, and she was fair !
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): FRE
There was a lass, and she was fair !
At kirk and market to be seen
When a' our fairest maids were met,
The fairest maid was bonnie Jean.

And ay she wrought her [country]1 wark,
And ay she sang sae merrilie :
The blythest bird upon the bush
Had ne'er a lighter heart than she.

But hawks will rob the tender joys,
That bliss the little lintwhite's nest,
And frost will blight the fairest flowers,
And love will break the soundest rest.

Young Robie was the brawest lad,
The flower and pride of a' the glen,
And he had owsen, sheep, and kye,
And wanton naigies nine or ten.

He gaed wi' Jeanie to the tryste,
He danc'd wi' Jeanie on the down,
And, lang ere witless Jeanie wist,
Her heart was tint, her peace was stown!

As in the bosom of the stream
The moon-beam dwells at dewy e'en,
So trembling pure, was tender love
Within the breast of bonnie Jean.

And now she works her [country's]1 wark,
And aye she sighs wi' care and pain,
Yet wist na what her ail might be,
Or what wad make her weel again.

But did na Jeanie's heart loup light,
And didna joy blink in her e'e,
As Robie tauld a tale o' love
Ae e'enin on the lily lea?

[While monie a bird sang sweet o' love,
And monie a flower blooms o'er the dale,
His cheek to hers he aft did lay,
And whisper'd thus his tender tale: —]2

“O Jeanie fair, I lo'e thee dear.
O, can'st thou think to fancy me ?
Or wilt thou leave thy mammie's cot,
And learn to tent the farms wi' me?

At barn or byre thou shalt na drudge,
Or naething else to trouble thee,
But stray amang the heather bells,
And tent the waving corn wi' me.”

Now what could artless Jeanie do?
She had na will to say him na !
At length she blushd a sweet consent,
And love was ay between them twa.

J. Haydn sets stanzas 1-3, 5-6

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Cambridge edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897, page 297.

Glossary:
lintwhite's = linnet
brawest = most handsome
owsen = oxen
kye = cows
nagies = horses
wist = knew
tint = lost
stown = stolen
ilka = every
tent = care for

1 Haydn: "mammie's"
2 Haydn:
The sun was sinking in the west,
The birds sang sweet in ilka grove;
His cheek to her's he fondly laid,
And whisper'd thus his tale o' love.

Authorship

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):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Kdys byla hezká dívčina"
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Il y avait une fille", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Research team for this text: Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] , Pierre Mathé [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2008-06-08 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-11-10 21:46:49
Line count: 48
Word count: 337

Kdys byla hezká dívčina
Language: Czech (Čeština)  after the Scottish (Scots) 
Kdys byla hezká dívčina; —
   i v kostele i na poli
žeť byla Jeanie nejhezčí
   z děv nejkrásnějších v okolí.

A při práci si zpívala,
   jak málo kdy jste slyšeli,
žeť nebyl ptáček na stromu
   tak šťasten a tak veselý.

Leč konopka se vyplaší,
   když krouží sokol ve výši,
mráz nejkrásnější zmaří květ
   a láska poklid nejtišší.

Byl mladý Robie statný hoch,
   z těch nejšvarnějších po kraji,
měl stáda volů, ovcí, krav
   a deset koni ve stáji.

On s Jeanie chodil na přástvy,
   on tančil s Jeanie skoro sám
a než se Jeanie nadálá,
   je srdce pryč a mír ten tam.

Jak v letní večer na řece
   zář měsíčná se tetelí,
tak čistá, něžná zachvěla
   jí láska ňader úbělí.

A v práci, dřív tak veselá,
   teď s povzdechem se zastaví
a neví, co že schází jí,
   a neví, co ji pozdraví.

Proč poskočilo srdečko
   a oči blýskly ve blahu,
když Robie večer o lásce
   cos řek' jí květném na svahu?

Juž slunko spělo k západu
   a ptáci pěli po háji;
on k její líci přitisk' líc
   a rty mu láskou šeptají:

»Ó hezká Jeanie, mám tě rád,
   a chceš-li ty mi dělat žal,
neb opustit své matky chýž
   a hospodařit u mne dál?

Ty nebudeš se klopotit
   ni v stájích, ani v stodole,
vždy půjdem se jen podívat
   na krásná žita do pole.«

Co dělat Jeanie ubohé,
   co pořídí, když řekne — ne?
I zarděla se, řekla: Tak, —
   a žili v lásce blažené.

Authorship

Based on

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

    [ None yet in the database ]


Researcher for this text: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

Text added to the website: 2019-08-11 00:00:00
Last modified: 2019-08-11 17:48:36
Line count: 48
Word count: 244