“The Banks o' Doon”

Author: Robert Burns
Earliest date: 1792 (Scots Musical Museum)
Keywords: love courting abandonment nonballad

Description

The singer asks how the banks of bonnie Doon can bloom "sae fresh and fair" when she is separated from her love. She pulled a rose, which her lover took while leaving her the thorn

Notes

Burns, curiously, seems to have written two versions of this poem, both coming out in 1791. The first begins, "Ye flowery banks o' bonie Doon, How can ye blume sae fair"; it is to the tune "Cambdelmore," which is in 4/4 time.

The other version, more familiar to me and seemingly more popular in tradition, opens "Ye banks and braes o' bonie Doon, How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair"; the tune is "The Caledonian Hunt's Delight," in 6/8 time. The two are nonetheless obviously the same song. - RBW

Broadsides

Recordings

References

  1. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #55, "Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon" (1 text)
  2. DT, BNKSBRAE* BANKBRA2*
  3. Roud #13889
  4. BI, CTbnksbr