Ye Banks and Braes

I remember my first acquaintance with reading Robert Burns’ poetry, young as I was. The first thing I found out was that unbeknownst to me, I was already acquainted with his works through music because everyone sang Auld Lang Syne every year. I also already knew the song Coming Through the Rye and I did like Scottish folk songs like Loch Lomond (still do but now I know a lot more). Reading his poetry was a little harder but I persevered and came to understand and appreciate the dialect. I never heard anyone recite Burns’ poetry till I was older.

I imagine with today’s resources it must be a lot easier for students to find an audio of any given Burns work. Youtube has a lot.

Here is one of many videos on youtube featuring The Banks of Doon, along with the lyrics. So sad but so beautiful.

Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds
And I sae weary, fu’ of care
Thou’lt break my heart, my thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys
Departed–never to return!

Aft hae I rov’d by bonnie Doon
To see the rose and woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o’ its luve
And fondly sae did I o’ mine.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose
Fu’ sweet upon its flowering tree;
But my fause luver stole my rose
And ah! He left the thorn wi’ me.

Here is a link to the poem version of The Banks O’ Doon by Robert Burns in which there was a time at least when the false lover was true.

More Resources:
BBC – Burns’ Poetry – Text and Audio

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  1. Vinny says:

    Ah, Robert Burns … I remember being introduced to the work of Mr. Burns as a young boy, courtesy of my English and Literature professor grandmother. He is still the same delight to read now that he was then.

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