by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)

Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): FRE
Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong,
The wretch's destinie!
McPherson's1 time will not be long,
On yonder gallows-tree.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly,
   Sae dauntingly gae'd he:
   He play'd a spring, and danc'd it round
   Below the gallows-tree.

O what is death but parting breath?
On many a bloody plain
I've dar'd his face, and in this place
I scorn him yet again!
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

Untie these bands from off my hands,
And bring to me my sword[;]2
And there 's no a man in all Scotland,
But I'll brave him at a word.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

I've liv'd a life of sturt and strife; 
I die by treacherie:
It burns my heart I must depart
And not avenged be.
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

Now farewell, light, thou sunshine bright,
And all beneath the sky!
May coward shame distain his name,
The wretch that dares not die!
   Sae rantingly, sae wantonly...

J. Haydn sets stanzas 1-2, 4-5

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 in some editions, "M'Pherson"
2 in some editions, ","
sturt = trouble


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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Mac Phersonovo loučení"
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "L'adieu de McPherson", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2003-11-19
Line count: 28
Word count: 153