Here is a song by Robert Burns in one of his more soulful moods as he describes a love-lost girl as she wanders by the banks of the river Doon in Ayrshire.

Second version

“The Banks O’ Doon” (Modern ScotsThe Banks o Doon) is a Scots song written by Robert Burns in 1791, sometimes known as “Ye Banks and Braes” (after the opening line of the third version). Burns set the lyrics to an air called The Caledonian Hunt’s Delight. Its melodic schema was also used for Phule Phule Dhole Dhole, a song by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

The song was inspired by the story of Margaret (Peggy) Kennedy (1766—95), who was seduced and then abandoned by Andrew McDouall, the son of a wealthy family and sometime Member of Parliament for Wigtonshire. Kennedy sued for a declarator of marriage, but died prior to adjudication of the case. Although the Consistorial court found the marriage claim valid, the Court of Session decided the marriage claim failed, but found McDouall to be the father of Kennedy’s daughter and ordered that he pay £3,000 to Kennedy’s estate and provide for the child. (Burns wrote a second poem about Peggy, whom he had met when she was 18 – Young Peggy Blooms.

Lyrics

Burns wrote three versions of the song, all published in 1791.

First VersionSecond VersionThird Version
Sweet are the banks — the banks o’ Doon,
The spreading flowers are fair,
And everything is blythe and glad,
But I am fu’ o’ care.
Ye flowery banks o’ bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae fu’ o’ care!
Ye banks and braes o’ bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair;
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary, fu’ o’ care!
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o’ the happy days
When my fause Luve was true:
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings upon the bough!
Thou minds me o’ the happy days
When my fause Luve was true.
Thou’ll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist na o’ my fate.
Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,
That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang,
And wist na o’ my fate.
Aft hae I rov’d by bonie Doon,
To see the woodbine twine;
And ilka birds sang o’ its Luve,
And sae did I o’ mine:
Aft hae I rov’d by bonie Doon,
To see the woodbine twine;
And ilka bird sang o’ its Luve,
And sae did I o’ mine.
Aft hae I rov’d by Bonie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o’ its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine;.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Upon its thorny tree;
But my fause Luver staw my rose
And left the thorn wi’ me:
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Upon its thorny tree;
But my fause Luver staw my rose,
And left the thorn wi’ me.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! She left the thorn wi’ me.
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Upon a morn in June;
And sae I flourished on the morn,
And sae was pu’d or noon!
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Upon a morn in June;
And sae I flourished on the morn,
And sae was pu’d or noon.

A Touch of a Sweet Breeze

Phule Phule Dhole Dhole

Dance Song
(Bengali)

That today softly cradles the buds,
A winding stream that gently gurgles
In its happy, playful journey,
The cuckoo sings in the trees and gardens
Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo,
My absent heart does not know why
It was borne away completely.

Tagore's version

Third version

Author Profile

Rabindranath Tagore
Bengali polymath, a poet, musician and artist from the Indian subcontinent. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse" of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal".

A Pirali Brahmin from Calcutta with ancestral gentry roots in Jessore, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. At the age of sixteen, he released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha ("Sun Lion"), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics. By 1877 he graduated to his first short stories and dramas, published under his real name. As a humanist, universalist, internationalist, and ardent anti-nationalist, he denounced the British Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy also endures in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.

Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced) and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: India's Jana Gana Mana and Bangladesh's Amar Shonar Bangla. The Sri Lankan national anthem was inspired by his work

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