Ye Flowery Banks

Robert Burns, born January 25th in 1759 at Alloway in Ayrshire (which is southwestern Scotland) was a farmer and farm-laborer almost all his life. He never traveled further than ten miles from his birthplace until after his 28th birthday. His poverty drove him to publish his poems so that he could emigrate to Jamaica with the money earned. His book met with great success and he traveled to Edinburgh but he became disillusioned with the fanfare and went back to a small farm at Ellisland. With his family, he had limited success there in farming and a government job, so he moved them to Dumfries. His true wealth was in his ability to make an easy rhyme of English. He was always in love no matter his marital state and his verses- whether song or poems- show it but his greatest work is in his Scots dialect which you will read below.  Within ten years of moving to Dumfries he died (in 1796) only thirty-seven years old and nearly impoverished. Today he is Scotland’s most famous and beloved poet.
               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!
Aft hae I roved by bonie Doon
To see the woodbine twine,
And ilka* bird sang o’ its luve,
And sae did I l’ 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!
Robert Burns
* each, *stole
Leaving you sweet rosy kisses, The Castle Lady !     Robert Burns

About Evelyn

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One Response to Ye Flowery Banks

  1. Evelyn says:

      It just occurred to me that some of you might need a translation esp. if you\’re not Scots. XD  Here it is:
               You flowery banks of the pretty dale
                How can you bloom so fair
               How can you sing you little birds
               And I\’m so full of care
               You\’ll break my heart pretty bird
               That sings upon the bough
               You remind me of the happy days
               When my false love was true.
               You\’ll break my heart you lovely bird
               That sing beside your mate
               For so I sat and so I sang
                And didn\’t know my fate.
               Often have I wandered by the pretty dale
               To see the woodvine twine
                And each bird sang of it\’s love
                And so did I of mine
                With a lightsome heart I picked a rose
                From off it\’s thorn-filled tree
                And my false lover stole my rose
                But left the thorn with me.
                                                                The Castle Lady   ;  )     


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