by James Hogg (1770 - 1835)

Could this ill world have been contriv'd
Language: English 
Could this ill world have been contriv'd
to stand  without that mischief, woman,
how peaceful bodies wou'd have liv'd,
releas'd frae a' the ills sae common!
But since it is the waefu' case,
that man must have this teasing crony,
why such a sweet bewitching face?
Oh! had they no been made sae bonny!

I might have roam'd wi' cheerful mind,
nae sin nor sorrow to betide me,
as careless as the wand'ring wind,
as happy as the lamb beside me.
I might have screw'd my tuneful pegs,
and carol'd mountain airs fu' gayly,
had we but wanted a' the Megs,
wi' glossy e'en sae dark and wily.

I saw the danger, fear'd the dart,
the smile, the air, and a' sae taking,
yet open laid my wareless heart,
and got the wound that keeps me waking.
My harp waves on the willow green,
of wild witch notes it has nae ony,
sinc' e'er I saw that pawky quean,
sae sweet, sae wicked, and sae bonny.

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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), "Could this ill world have been contriv'd", op. 108 (25 schottische Lieder mit Begleitung von Pianoforte, Violine und Violoncello) no. 16 (1815). [voice, violin, violoncello, piano] [
     text verified 1 time

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , title 1: "Wenn doch die arge böse Welt"

Researcher for this text: Caroline Diehl

This text was added to the website: 2004-08-03
Line count: 24
Word count: 166