by William Smyth (1765 - 1849)
Translation © by Guy Laffaille

The sweetest lad was Jamie
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
The sweetest lad was Jamie,
  The sweetest, the dearest;
And well did Jamie love me,
  And not a fault has he.
Yet one he had, it spoke his praise,
He knew not woman's wish to teaze,
He knew not all our silly ways,
  Alas! The woe [is]1 me!

For though I loved my Jamie
  Sincerely and dearly,
Yet, often when he woo'd me,
  I held my head on high;
And huffed and tossed with saucy air,
And danced with Donald at the fair,
And placed his ribbon in my hair,
  And Jamie, -- passed him by.

So, when the war-pipes sounded,
  Dear Jamie he left me,
And now some other maiden
  Will Jamie turn to woo.
My heart will break, and well it may,
For who would word of pity say
To her who threw a heart away,
  So faithful and so true?

Oh! Knew he how I loved him,
  Sincerely and dearly!
And I would fly to meet him,
  Oh! happy were the day!
Some kind, kind friend, oh! come between,
And tell him of my altered mien!
That Jeanie has not Jeanie been
  Since Jamie went away!

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with William Smyth, English Lyrics, London, William Pickering, 1850, pages 165-166.

1 Beethoven: "to"


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

  • by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827), "The sweetest lad was Jamie", op. 108 (25 schottische Lieder mit Begleitung von Pianoforte, Violine und Violoncello) no. 5 (1815). [voice, violin, violoncello, piano] [
     text verified 1 time

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , title 1: "Der schönste Bub war Henny, der schönste, der beste!"
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Le plus doux garçon était Jamie", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ferdinando Albeggiani

Text added to the website: 2004-08-18 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-09-28 12:02:14
Line count: 32
Word count: 188

Le plus doux garçon était Jamie
Language: French (Français)  after the English 
Le plus doux garçon était Jamie,
Le plus doux, le plus cher,
Et Jamie m'aimait si tendrement,
Et il n'avait pas un défaut.
Pourtant il en avait un, tout à sa gloire,
Il ne savait pas qu'une femme aime taquiner.
Il ne connaissait pas toutes nos sottises,
Hélas ! Malheur à moi !

Car bien qu'aimant mon Jamie,
Sincèrement et tendrement,
Pourtant souvent quand il me faisait la cour,
Je me tenais la tête haute ;
Et je boudais, le repoussais d'un air impertinent,
Et je dansais avec Donald à la fête,
Et je mettais son ruban dans mes cheveux
Et Jamie ! je le négligeais.

Aussi quand les guerrières sonnèrent,
Mon cher Jamie, il m'a quitté,
Et maintenant un autre fille
Incitera Jamie à lui faire la cour.
Mon cœur se brisera, et ce sera bien fait,
Car qui dirait un mot de pitié
À celle qui repoussa un cœur,
Si fidèle et si sincère !

Ah ! s'il avait su combien je l'aimais,
Sincèrement et tendrement ;
Et je volerais pour le revoir !
Ah ! Que le jour serait heureux !
Si un gentil, gentil ami, ah, venait
Et lui parlait de ma mine fanée !
Que Jeanie n'a pas été Jeanie
Depuis que Jamie est parti ! 


  • Translation from English to French (Français) copyright © 2014 by Guy Laffaille, (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.

Based on


Text added to the website: 2014-09-28 00:00:00
Last modified: 2014-09-28 11:07:07
Line count: 32
Word count: 211