Oh, sair did we greet, and muckle did we say
We took but ae kiss, and tore ourselves away:
I wish I were dead, but I'm nae like to die;
And why do I live to say, Oh, waes me!
I gang like a ghaist, I carena to spin,
I darena think on Jamie, for that wad be a sin ;
But I'll do my best a gude wife to be,
For auld Robin Gray is a kind man to me.



WILLIAM JULIUS MICKLE. From Herd's Collection, 1776.

But are ye sure the news is true ?

And are ye sure he's weel?
Is this a time to think o' wark ?

Ye jauds, fling by your wheel !
Is this a time to think o' wark,

When Colin's at the door?
Rax down my cloak—I'll to the quay,
And see him come ashore.

For there's nae luck about the house,

There's nae luck at a';
There's nae luck about the house,

When our gudeman's awa'.

words more suitable to its character than the ribald verses which had always hitherto, for want of better, been sung to it. It struck her that some tale of virtuous distress in humble life would be most suitable to the plaintive character of her favourito air; and she accordingly set about such an attempt, taking the name of “ Auld Robin Gray” from an ancient herd at Balcarras. When she had written two or three of the verses, she called to her junior sister (afterwards Lady Hardwicke), who was the only person near her, and thus addressed her : "I have been writing a ballad, my dear; I am oppressing my heroine with many misfortunes ; I have already sent her Jamie to sea, and broken her father's arm, and made her mother fall sick, and given her Auld Robin Gray for her lover; but I wish to load her with a fifth sor. row within the four lines-poor thing! Help me to one." "Steal the cow, Sister Anne," said the little Elizabeth. “ The cow," adds Lady Anne in her letter, “ was immediately lifted by me, and the song completed."

Lady Anne Barnard died in a vigorous old age about two years after her confession to Sir Walter Scott. The air to which the song is now usually sung is the composition of an English amateur, the Rev. William Leeves, rector of Wrington, who died in 1828, at the age of eighty.

And gie to me my bigonet,

My bishop satin gown,
For I maun tell the baillie's wife

That Colin's come to town.
My Turkey slippers I'll put on,

My stockins pearl-blue-
It's a' to pleasure our gudeman,
For he's baith leal and true.

For there's nae luck, &c. Rise up and mak a clean fireside,

Put on the muckle pat;
Gie little Kate her cotton gown,

And Jock his Sunday's coat.
Mak their shoon as black as slaes,

Their stockins white as snaw; It's a' to pleasure our gudemanHe likes to see them braw.

For there's nae luck, &c. There are twa hens into the crib

Hae fed this month or mair;
Mak haste and thraw their necks about,

That Colin weel may fare.
And spread the table neat and clean,

Gar ilka thing look braw,
For wha can tell how Colin fared
When he was far awa' ?

For there's nae luck, &c. Sae sweet his voice, sae smooth his tongue,

His breath's like cauler air ; His very

foot has music in't, As he comes up the stair. And will I see his face again,

And will I hear him speak ?
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought,
In troth I'm like to greet.

For there's nae luck, &c. The cauld blasts o' the winter wind

That thirlèd through my heart, They're a' blawn bye, I hae him safe,

Till death we'll never part.

But what puts parting in my head ?

be far awa',
The present moment is our ain,
The neist we never saw.

For there's nae luck, &c.

Since Colin's weel, I'm weel content,

I hae nae mair to crave;
Could I but live, to mak him blest,

I'm blest aboon the lave.
And will I see his face again ?

And will I hear him speak ?
I'm downright dizzy wi' the thought,
In troth I'm like to greet.

For there's nae luck, &c.

“This,” says Burns, " is positively the finest love-ballad in the Scotch, or perhaps in any other language;"-a verdict in which every lover of poetry and every feeling heart will agree. There is some doubt as to the authorship, which has been claimed on behalf of several persons; but the claim of William Julius Mickle appears preferable to that of any other person.


ROBERT BURNS, born 25th January, 1759, died July 21st, 1796.

Air-“Miss Forbes' farewell to Banff."

Thou lingering star, with less'ning ray

That lov'st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usherst in the day

My Mary from my soul was torn.
O Mary, dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid,

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ?

*“The song of Highland Mary' was written," says Burns,“ on one of the most interesting passages of my youthful days.” The object of this passion died early in life, and the impression left on the mind of Burns seems to have been deep and lasting. Several years afterwards, when he was removed to Nithsdale, he gaye vent to the sensibility of his recollections in these impassioned lines (“To Mary in Heaven").- DR. CURRIE.

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That sacred hour can I forget,

Can I forget the hallow'd grove Where by the winding Ayr we met,

To live one day of parting love ? Eternity will not efface

Those records dear of transports past; Thy image at our last embrace

Ah, little thought we 'twas our last ! Ayr gurgling kiss'd his pebbled shore,

(erhung with wild woods thick’ning green ; The fragrant birch and hawthorn hoar

Twined am'rous round the raptured scene. The flowers sprang wanton to be press’d,

The birds sang love on ev'ry spray, Till soon, too soon the glowing west

Proclaim'd the speed of winged day. Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes,

And fondly broods with miser care ; Time but the impression deeper makes,

As streams their channels deeper wear.

My Mary, dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest ?
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid,

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ?



WILL ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

And leave auld Scotia's shore ?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,

Across the Atlantic's roar ?

Oh, sweet grow the lime and the orange,

And the apple on the pine :
But a' the charms o' the Indies

Can never equal thine.
I hae sworn by the heavens to my Mary,

I hae sworn by the heavens to be true;
And sae may the heavens forget me

When I forget my vow.
Oh, plight me your faith, my Mary,

And plight me your lily-white hand;
Oh, plight me your faith, my Mary,

Before I leave Scotia's strand.

We hae plighted our troth, my Mary,

In mutual affection to join ;
And curst be the hour that shall part us,

The hour and the moment o' time!

"In my very early years, when I was thinking of going to the West Indies, I took the following farewell of a dear girl. It is quite trifling, and has nothing of the merit of. Ewe-Bughts;' but it will fill up this page. You must know that my earlier love-songs were the breathing of ardent passion; and though it might have been easy in after-times to have given them a polish, yet that polish to me, whose they were, and who perhaps alone cared for them, would have defaced the legend of my heart, which was so faithfully inscribed on them. Their uncouth simplicity was, as they say of wines, their race.”– Burns to Thomson.

Mr. Thomson did not think sufficiently well of this song to insert it in his colTortion.

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