A Birthday Hansel

Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Word count: 0

1. Birthday Song [sung text checked 1 time]

Health to our well-lo'ed Hielan Chief!
Health, ay sour'd by care or grief:
Inspir'd, I turn'd Fate's sibyl leaf,
This natal morn,
I see thy life is stuff o' prief,
Scarce quite half-worn: 

All hail, all hail, auld birkie!  Lord be near ye,
And then the De'il, he daurna steer ye:
Your friends ay love, your faes ay fear ye,
For me, shame fa' me,
If neist my heart I dinna wear ye,
While BURNS they ca' me.

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Researcher for this text: Jean Branch

2. My Early Walk [sung text checked 1 time]

A rose bud by my early walk,
Adown a corn-inclosèd bawk,
Sae gently bent its thorny stalk,
All on a dewy morning.

Ere twice the shades o' dawn are fled,
In a' its crimson glory spread,
And drooping rich the dewy head,
It scents the dewy morning.

Within the bush her covert nest 
A little linnet fondly prest,
The dew sat chilly on her breast
Sae early in the morning.

So thou, dear bird, young Jeany fair,
On trembling string or vocal air,
Shall sweetly pay the tender care
That tents thy early morning.

So thou, sweet Rose bud, young and gay,
Shalt beauteous blaze upon the day,
And bless the Parent's evening ray
That watch'd thy early morning.

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Researcher for this text: Jean Branch

3. Wee Willie [sung text checked 1 time]

Wee Willie Gray, [an']1 his leather wallet,
Peel a willow-wand, to be him boots and jacket!
The rose upon the [brier]2 will be him [trouse]3 and doublet --
The rose upon the [brier]2 will be him [trouse]3 and doublet!

Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet,
Twice a lily-flower will be him sark and [gravat]4!
Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet --
Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet!

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Confirmed with The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, edited by James Barke with an Introduction by John Cairney, Collins, Glasgow 1995, Page 599.

1 Britten: "and"
2 Britten: "breer"
3 Britten: "trews"
4 Britten and Scott: "cravat"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Jean Branch , Iain Sneddon [Guest Editor]

4. My Hoggie [sung text checked 1 time]

What will I do gin my Hoggie die,
My joy, my pride, my Hoggie?
My only beast, I had nae mae,
And vow but I was vogie.

The lee-lang night we watch'd the fauld,
Me and my faithfu' doggie;
We heard nocht but the roaring linn,
Amang the braes sae scroggie.

But the howlet cry'd frae the castle wa'.
The blitter frae the boggie,
The tod reply'd upon the hill--
I trembled for my Hoggie.

When day did daw, and cocks did craw,
The morning it was foggie;
An unco tyke lap o'er the dyke,
And maist has killed my Hoggie.

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Researcher for this text: Jean Branch

5. Afton Water [sung text checked 1 time]

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
I charge you disturb not my slumbering Fair.

[ ... ]
Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave. Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet River, the theme of my lays; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

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1 Hopekirk: "sweet"

Research team for this text: Jean Branch , Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

6. The Winter [sung text checked 1 time]

The Winter it is past, 
and the summer comes at last,
And the small birds, they sing on ev'ry tree;
Now ev'ry thing is glad,
while I am very sad,
Since my true love is parted from me.

The rose upon the brier,
by the waters running clear,
May have charms for the linnet or the bee;
Their little loves are blest,
and their little hearts at rest,
But my true love is parted from me.

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Researcher for this text: Jean Branch

7. Leezie Lindsay [sung text checked 1 time]

Will ye go to the Hielands, Leezie Lindsay?
Will ye go to the Hielands wi' me?
Will ye go to the Hielands, Leezie Lindsay,
My pride and my darling to be?

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

Researcher for this text: Jean Branch