by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)
Translation by Josef Václav Sládek (1845 - 1912)

O were my Love yon lilac fair
Language: Scottish (Scots) 
Available translation(s): SPA
O were my Love yon lilac fair,
  Wi' purple blossoms to the spring,
And I a bird to shelter there,
  When wearied on my little wing;
How I wad mourn when it was torn
  By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing
  When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.
 
O gin my Love were yon red rose
  That grows upon the castle wa',
And I mysel a drap o' dew,
  Into her bonnie breast to fa';
[O there, beyond expression blest,
  I'd feast on beauty a' the night;
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
  Till fley'd awa' by Phoebus' light.]1

A. Beach sets stanza 2, 1

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Authorship

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:

  • Also set in French (Français), a translation by Henri-François-Louis-Auguste Potez (b. 1863) ; composed by André Gédalge.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Adolf Wilhelm Ernst von Winterfeld (1824 - 1888) , "O, wär' mein Lieb die Fliederblüth'" ; composed by Otto Bach, Ernst Paul Flügel.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by L. G. Silbergleit , "O wär' mein Lieb" ; composed by Jan Karol Gall, Eugène Jámbor, Rudolf Krzyzanowski.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810 - 1876) ; composed by Carl Banck, Frederick Brandeis, August Conradi, Wilhelm Heiser, Ludwig Hoffmann, Carl August Krebs, Arnold Krug, C. Adolph Oberdörffer, Hans Michael Schletterer, Václav Jan Křtitel Tomášek.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by (Johann) Philipp Kaufmann (1802 - 1846) , no title, appears in Gedichte von Robert Burns, first published 1839 [an adaptation] ; composed by Franz Bendel, Alban Maria Johannes Berg, Wilhelm Mayer.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Johann Bernhard André.

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Josef Václav Sládek) , "Kéž byla bys ten vonný bez"
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Elisa Rapado) , copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 16
Word count: 105

Kéž byla bys ten vonný bez
Language: Czech (Čeština)  after the Scottish (Scots) 
Kéž byla bys ten vonný bez,
   jenž vesnou v nach se rozvije,
a ptáčkem já, jenž tam se snes'
   a znaven v něm se ukryje!

Jak truchlil bych, až mráz a sníh
   by zahnaly mne v cizí kraj;
však záhy hned bych přilet' zpět,
   až rozkvétal by nový máj.

Ó, kéž bys byla růžičkou,
   jež na zdi kvete hradové,
a já tou rosy perličkou
   na její hrudi nachové!

Ó, celou noc jak blažený
   bych spočíval tu v luzných snech,
až slíbal by svit ruměný
   mne s atlasových vděků těch.

Confirmed with BURNS, Robert. Výbor z písní a ballad, translated by Josef Václav Sládek, Praha: J. Otto, 1892.


Authorship

Based on

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

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Researcher for this text: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2019-08-11
Line count: 16
Word count: 89