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Whistle, And I'll Come To You


[In one of the variations of this song the name of the heroine is
Jeanie: the song itself owes some of the sentiments as well as words
to an old favourite Nithsdale chant of the same name. "Is Whistle, and
I'll come to you, my lad," Burns inquires of Thomson, "one of your
airs? I admire it much, and yesterday I set the following verses to
it." The poet, two years afterwards, altered the fourth line thus:--

"Thy Jeany will venture wi' ye, my lad,"

and assigned this reason: "In fact, a fair dame at whose shrine I, the
priest of the Nine, offer up the incense of Parnassus; a dame whom the
Graces have attired in witchcraft, and whom the Loves have armed with
lightning; a fair one, herself the heroine of the song, insists on the
amendment, and dispute her commands if you dare."]

I.

O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad,
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad:
Tho' father and mither and a' should gae mad,
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad.
But warily tent, when you come to court me,
And come na unless the back-yett be a-jee;
Syne up the back-stile and let naebody see,
And come as ye were na comin' to me.
And come as ye were na comin' to me.

II.

At kirk, or at market, whene'er ye meet me,
Gang by me as tho' that ye car'd na a flie;
But steal me a blink o' your bonnie black e'e,
Yet look as ye were na lookin' at me.
Yet look as ye were na lookin' at me.

III.

Ay vow and protest that ye care na for me,
And whiles ye may lightly my beauty a wee;
But court na anither, tho' jokin' ye be,
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me.
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me.

IV.

O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad,
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad:
Tho' father and mither and a' should gae mad,
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad.

Robert Burns


Poetry