John Anderson, My Jo

by ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796)

John Anderson, my jo, John,
   When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
   Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
   Your locks are like the snaw,
but blessings on your frosty pow,
   John Anderson, my jo!

John Anderson, my jo, John,
   We clamb the hill thegither,
And mony a canty day, John,
   We’ve had wi’ ane anither;
Now we maun totter down, John,
   But hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
   John Anderson, my jo!

Robert Burns adapted John Anderson from a bawdy ballad and turned it into a poem that commemorates a deep love and lifelong commitment that will continue even after death. The poem was also set to music. The real John Anderson was a carpenter and close friend of Robert Burns. Many believed he built Burns’ coffin.

jo: sweetheart.
acquent: acquainted.
bonie: good-looking.
brent: smooth, unwrinkled.
beld: bald.
snaw: snow
mony: many.
pow: pate, head.
canty: cheerful.
maun: must
thegither: together

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