Ye Flowery Banks (Bonie Doon)

Original Text: 
Reliques of Robert Burns; consisting chiefly of original letters, poems, and critical observations on Scottish songs. Ed. R. H. Cromek. London: J. M'Creery, 1808. PR 4300 1808 L6 ROBA
2      How can ye blume sae fair?
3How can ye chant, ye little birds,
4      And I sae fu' o' care?
5Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
6      That sings upon the bough;
7Thou minds me o' the happy days,
8      When my fause love was true.
9Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
10      That sings beside thy mate;
11For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
12      And wist na o' my fate.
13Aft hae I rov'd by bonie Doon
14      To see the wood-bine twine,
16      And sae did I o' mine.
17Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose
18      Frae aff its thorny tree;
20      But left the thorn wi' me.


1] Of the three versions of this song, that here printed is the second and best. The first or trial sketch, beginning: "Sweet are the banks--the banks o, Doon," was sent by Burns to Allan Cunningham, March 11, 1791; the second version, made shortly afterwards, was not published until 1808, the third "Ye banks and braes o' bonie Doon,/How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair!") was published in Johnson, The Scots Musical Museum, III. It is, on account of the air, better known than the others.
Doon: the river in Ayrshire near which Burns was born. Back to Line
15] ilka: every. Back to Line
19] staw: stole. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
G. G. Falle
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.318.