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

The small birds rejoice in the green...

Language: English

  Air -- "Captain O'Kean."

The small birds rejoice [in]1 the green leaves returning,	
The murmuring streamlet winds clear thro' the vale;	
The primroses blow in the dews of the morning,	
And wild scatter'd cowslips bedeck the green dale:	
But what can give pleasure, or what can seem fair,
When the lingering moments are [numbered by]2 care?	
No birds sweetly singing, nor flow'rs gaily springing,	
Can soothe the sad bosom of joyless despair.	
The deed that I dared, could it merit their malice?	
A king and a father to place on his throne!
His right are these hills, and his right are these valleys,	
Where [the]3 wild beasts find shelter, tho' I can find none!	
But 'tis not my suff'rings, thus wretched, forlorn,	
My brave gallant friends, 'tis your ruin I mourn;	
Your faith proved so loyal in hot bloody trial, --
Alas! [I can]4 make it no better return!

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Burns, Robert. Poems and Songs. Vol. VI. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14;, 2001.

1 Haydn: "on"
2 Haydn: "number'd wi' "
3 omitted by Haydn
4 in another version by Burns: "can I" (cf. The Complete Poetical Works of Robert Burns, Cambridge edition, Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1897, page 318; in this publication the poem has an extra line break in the penultimate line of each stanza.)

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani


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, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title unknown, copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website: 2011-03-06.
Last modified: 2014-08-04 11:11:09
Line count: 17
Word count: 148

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

Browse (Petrucci Music Library) for Lieder or choral works