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Bonnie Jean

[Jean M'Murdo, the heroine of this song, the eldest daughter of John
M'Murdo of Drumlanrig, was, both in merit and look, very worthy of so
sweet a strain, and justified the poet from the charge made against
him in the West, that his beauties were not other men's beauties. In
the M'Murdo manuscript, in Burns's handwriting, there is a
well-merited compliment which has slipt out of the printed copy in
Thomson:--


"Thy _handsome_ foot thou shalt na set
In barn or byre to trouble thee."]


I.

There was a lass, and she was fair,
At kirk and market to be seen,
When a' the fairest maids were met,
The fairest maid was bonnie Jean.

II.

And aye she wrought her mammie's wark,
And ay she sang so merrilie:
The blithest bird upon the bush
Had ne'er a lighter heart than she.

III.

But hawks will rob the tender joys
That bless the little lintwhite's nest;
And frost will blight the fairest flowers,
And love will break the soundest rest.

IV.

Young Robie was the brawest lad,
The flower and pride of a' the glen;
And he had owsen, sheep, and kye,
And wanton naigies nine or ten.

V.

He gaed wi' Jeanie to the tryste,
He danc'd wi' Jeanie on the down;
And, lang ere witless Jeanie wist,
Her heart was tint, her peace was stown.

VI.

As in the bosom o' the stream,
The moon-beam dwells at dewy e'en;
So trembling, pure, was tender love
Within the breast o' bonnie Jean.

VII.

And now she works her mammie's wark,
And ay she sighs wi' care and pain;
Yet wist na what her ail might be,
Or what wad mak her weel again.

VIII.

But did na Jeanie's heart loup light,
And did na joy blink in her e'e,
As Robie tauld a tale of love,
Ae e'enin' on the lily lea?

IX.

The sun was sinking in the west,
The birds sung sweet in ilka grove;
His cheek to hers he fondly prest,
And whisper'd thus his tale o' love:

X.

O Jeanie fair, I lo'e thee dear;
O canst thou think to fancy me!
Or wilt thou leave thy mammie's cot,
And learn to tent the farms wi' me?

XI.

At barn or byre thou shalt na drudge,
Or naething else to trouble thee;
But stray amang the heather-bells,
And tent the waving corn wi' me.

XII.

Now what could artless Jeanie do?
She had nae will to say him na:
At length she blush'd a sweet consent,
And love was ay between them twa.

Robert Burns


Poetry