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The Red, Red Rose

Air--"_Hughie Graham._"

[There are snatches of old song so exquisitely fine that, like
fractured crystal, they cannot be mended or eked out, without showing
where the hand of the restorer has been. This seems the case with the
first verse of this song, which the poet found in Witherspoon, and
completed by the addition of the second verse, which he felt to be
inferior, by desiring Thomson to make his own the first verse, and let
the other follow, which would conclude the strain with a thought as
beautiful as it was original.]

I.

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 renewed.

II.

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'!
Oh, 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.

Robert Burns


Poetry