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Then sore harassed, and tired at last, with fortune's
vain delusion, O, I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to
this conclusion, O:15 The past was bad, and the future hid — its good
or ill untried, 0; But the present hour was in my power, and so I
would enjoy it, O.
No help, nor hope, nor view had I, nor person to
befriend me, 0); So I must toil, and sweat, and broil, and labor to
sustain me, O; To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father
bred me early, 0; 20 For one, he said, to labor bred, was a match for
fortune fairly, 0.
Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, through life
I'm doomed to wander, 0, Till down my weary bones I lay, in everlasting
slumber, O. No view nor care, but shun whate'er might breed
me pain or sorrow, 0; I live to-day as well 's I may, regardless of to-mor
25 But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in a
palace, 0, Though fortune's frown still hunts me down with
all her wonted malice, O: I make indeed my daily bread, but ne'er can make
it farther, O; But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much
regard her, 0.
When sometimes by my labor I earn a little
money, O, 30 Some unforeseen misfortune comes generally upon
Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my good-na
tured folly, 0: But come what will, I've sworn it still, I'll ne'er
be melancholy, 0.
All you who follow wealth and power with unremit
ting ardor, 0, The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your
view the farther, O: 33 Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore
A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer be
fore you, O.
TUNE — John Anderson my Jo.
JOHN ANDERSON my jo, John,
Your bonny brow was brent;
Your locks are like the snaw;
John Anderson my jo.
7. pow, head.
John Anderson my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither,
We've had wi' ane anither:
John Anderson my jo.
FLOW GENTLY, SWEET AFTON.
Flow Gently, Sweet Afton, is one of the songs, like the two that follow, composed in honor of Mary Campbell. After promising to marry Burns, she went from Ayrshire to her parents in Argyleshire, in May, 1786, to make ready for the marriage ; but five months later, before it could take place, she died. Their parting on the banks of the Ayr is the theme of the song Highland Mary. Popular tradition has it that after plighting solemn troth, “they stood on either side of a brook, they dipped their hands in the water, exchanged Bibles - and parted.” The poem To Mary in Heaven was written three years later, when Burns was living with his wife at Ellisland.
Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
5 Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds through the
glen, Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den, Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear, I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.
10. clamb, climbed ; thegither, together. 11. canty, pleasant. 12. ane anither, one another.
How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills, 10 Far marked with the courses of clear winding rills;
There daily I wander as noon rises high,
How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow; :5 There oft as mild evening weeps over the lea, The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.
Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, 20 As gathering sweet flowerets she stems thy clear
Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; My Mary 's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
TUNE — Katharine Ogie.
YE banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery,
Your waters never drumlie!
And there the langest tarry;
16. birk, birch. 4. drumlie, muddy. 5. simmer, summer ; unfauld, unfold. 6. langest, longest.
For there I took the last fareweel
O’ my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloomed the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom,
I clasped her to my bosom!
Flew o'er me and my dearie; 15 For dear to me as light and life
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi' monie a vow, and locked embrace,
Our parting was fu' tender;
We tore oursels asunder:
That nipt my flower sae early!
That wraps my Highland Mary !
25 Oh, pale, pale now, those rosy lips
I aft hae kissed sae fondly,
That dwelt on me sae kindly!
That heart that lo’ed me dearly ! But still within
bosom's core Shall live my Highland Mary.