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In simmer when the hay was mawn

Language: Scottish (Scots)

In simmer when the hay was mawn,
    And corn wav'd green on ilka field,
While claver blooms white o'er the lea,
    And roses blaw in ilka bield
    Blythe Bessie in the milking shield
Says, I'll be wed come o't what will:
    Out spak a dame in wrinkled eild,
O' gude advisement comes nae ill.

Its ye ha'e wooers mony ane,
    And, lassie, ye're but young, ye ken,
Then wait a wee, and cannie wale
    [A routhie butt, a routhie ben.]1
    There's Johnie o' the Buskie-glen,
Fu' is his barn, fu' is his byre.
    Tak this frae me, my bonnie hen,
Its plenty heets the luver's fire :

" For Johnie o' the Buskie-Glen
I dinua care a single flie :
He lo'es sae weel his craps and kye,
He has nae love to spare for me.
But blythe 's the blink o' Robie's e'e,
And weel I wat he lo'es me dear:
Ae blink o' him I wad na gie
For Buskie-Glen and a' his gear."

" O thoughtless lassie, life 's a faught !
The canniest gate, the strife is sair.
But ay fu'-han't is fechtin best:
A hungry care 's an unco care.
But some will spend, and some will spare,
An' wilfu' folk maun hae their will.
Syne as ye brew, my maiden fair.
Keep mind that ye maun drink the yill !"

O! gear will buy me rigs o' land,
    And gear will buy me sheep and kye;
But the tender heart o' leesome loove,
    The gowd and siller canna buy.
    We may be poor, Robie and I,
Light is the burden loove lays on;
    Content and loove brings peace and joy;
What mair hae queens upon a throne?

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

J. Haydn sets stanzas 1-2, 5

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 241.

1 Haydn moves this to the last line of the stanza.


Ilka = every
Lea = untilled ground, pasture
Bield = sheltered yard
Shield = shed
Eild = old age
Ken = know
Cannie wale = wait a while, and choose carefully
Routhie ben = a well-furnished house with two rooms, an outer room or kitchen (butt) and an inner sitting room or parlour (ben)
Gear = wealth, money
Kye = cows
Leesome = agreeable

Submitted by Ferdinando Albeggiani 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, 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: 2013-03-25.
Last modified: 2014-07-28 11:56:16
Line count: 40
Word count: 283

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