by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)
Translation © by David K. Smythe

The Highland Balou
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): ENG FRE GER
Hee Balou, my sweet wee Donald,
Picture o' the great Clanronald!
Brawlie kens our wanton Chief
What gat my young Highland thief.
(Hee Balou!)

Leeze me on thy bonnie craigie!
And thou live, thou'll steal a naigie,
Travel the country thro' and thro' ,
and bring hame a Carlisle cow!

Thro' the Lawlands, o'er the Border,
Weel, my babie, may thou furder!
Herry the louns o' the laigh Countrie,
Syne to the Highlands hame to me!


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) , "Ukolébavka"
  • ENG English (David K. Smythe) , "The Highland lullaby", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (David K. Smythe) , copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Wiegenlied aus den schottischen Highlands", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 13
Word count: 76

The Highland lullaby
Language: English  after the Scottish (Scots) 
O hush! My sweet little Donald
Image of the great Clan Ronald!
Excellently teaches our wanton Chief
That fathered my young Highland thief.
(O hush!)

Dear to me is thy pretty neck!
If thou live, thou'll steal a horse,
Travel the country through and through,
and bring home a Carlisle cow!

Through the Lowlands, over the Border,
Well, my baby, may thou thrive!
Harry the lads of the low Country,
Afterwards to the Highlands home to me!

Note: this is a translation into modern English


  • Translation from Scottish (Scots) to English copyright © 2005 by David K. Smythe, (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:


This text was added to the website: 2005-04-27
Line count: 13
Word count: 77