Ye Banks And Braes (O’ Bonie Doon)

River Doon, Ayrshire, Scotland

A lovely performance by Holly Tomás of another song written by Robert Burns. From Sangstories:

This lyric was first printed in Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum, Vol.4, 13th August 1792, when Burns was 33. Johnson notes that Burns wrote it for this volume, and adds “ the Music by Mr. James Millar, Writer in Edinburgh.”

The flowering rose with its hidden thorn is a metaphor for the pain of love betrayed.

“Ye Banks and Braes” is the third set of verses Burns produced on this theme. The first began Sweet are the banks, the banks o’ Doon / The spreading flowers are fair to the tune “Cambdelmore”. Burns wrote in March 1792 to Allan Cunningham that he intended this for volume 4 of the Museum, but it does not appear there.

The second version, “Ye Flowery Banks o’ Bonie Doon”, to the same tune “Cambdelmore”, has often been preferred by academic commentators to “Ye Banks and Braes”. It was also written in 1791 but not printed until 1808, after Burns’s death, in Cromek’s Reliques of Robert Burns

Ye Banks and Braes O’ Bonie Doon

Ye Flowery Banks o’ Bonie Doon

Ye flowery banks o’ bonie Doon,
How can ye blume sae fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu’ o’ care!

Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird
That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o’ the happy days
When my fause luve was true.

Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird
That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist na o’ my fate (knew not)

Aft hae I rov’d by bonie Doon,
To see the woodbine twine,
And ilka bird sang o’ its luve,
And sae did I o’ mine.

Wi lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
Frae aff its thorny tree,
And my fause luver staw my rose,
But left the thorn wi’ me.

Wi lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Upon a morn in June:
And sae I flourish’d on the morn,
And sae was pu’d or noon!
But, ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.

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Now Westlin Winds

A version of the Robert Burns poem as sung by the great Dick Gaughan.  Thanks to Niamh Parsons for posting a link to The Voice Squad singing their version which reminded me of this other version.

Now Westlin Winds

Now westlin winds and slaughtering guns
Bring autumn’s pleasant weather
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Among the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wild o’er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
And the moon shines bright as I rove at night
To muse upon my charmer

The partridge loves the fruitful fells
The plover loves the mountain
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring hern the fountain
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path of man to shun it
The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt! Away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man’s dominion
The sportsman’s joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering, gory pinion

But Peggy dear the evening’s clear
Thick flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the charms of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And every happy creature

We’ll gently walk and sweetly talk
Till the silent moon shines clearly
I’ll grasp thy waist and, fondly pressed,
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal showers to budding flowers
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair, my lovely charmer

Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes

Heather in the knowes.

There are a number of versions of this song collected and edited by Robert Burns. The one below was his second effort as he was not satisfied with the first. He produced it while on a solitary evening stroll in September 1794.  “Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes” can be translated as “Drive the Sheep (ewes) to the Hills.” The “Clouden” is a tributary of the river Nith and the “silent towers” are the ruins of Lincluden Abbey. Here it is sung by The Three Graces.

Ca’ the Yowes

Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where the heather grows,
Ca’ them where the burnie rowes,
My bonnie dearie.

Hark, the mavis e’ening sang
Sounding Clouden’s woods amang
Then a-faulding let us gang.
My bonie dearie.

We’ll gae down by Clouden side,
Thro the hazels, spreading wide
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

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