Songs of Robert Burns/Now simmer blinks on flowry braes

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Songs of Robert Burns ~ Now simmer blinks on flowry braes
James C. Dick
No. 113. From "The Songs by Robert Burns". A Study in Tone-Poetry. Published by Henry Frowde. London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and New York 1903. Source: «traditionalmusic»


No. 113. Now simmer blinks on flowry braes.

Tune : The Birks of Abergeldie Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. 113.

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Chorus. Bonie lassie, will ye go,
Will ye go, will ye go ?
Bonie lassie, will ye go
To the birks of Aberfeldy?

Now simmer blinks on flow'ry braes,
And o'er the crystal streamlets plays,
Come, let us spend the lightsome days
In the birks of Aberfeldy.

The little birdies blythely sing,
While o'er their heads the hazels hing,
Or lightly flit on wanton wing
In the birks of Aberfeldy.

The braes ascend like lofty wa's,
The foaming stream, deep-roaring, fa's
O'erhung wi' fragrant spreading shaws,
The birks of Aberfeldy.

The hoary cliffs are crown'd wi' flowers,
White o'er the linns the burnie pours,
And, rising, weets wi' misty showers
The birks of Aberfeldy.

Let Fortune's gifts at random flee,
They ne'er shall draw a wish frae me,
Supremely blest wi' love and thee,
In the birks of Aberfeldy.

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No. 113. Now simmer blinks on flow'ry braes. Scots Musical Museum, 1788, No. uj, signed 'B,' entitled Birks of Aberfeldy. This is the earliest of the series of songs due to the first tour in the Highlands in company with William Nicol, of the High School of Edinburgh. On August 30, 1787, Burns arrived at Aberfeldy, and wrote in his copy of the Museum, that this song was composed ' standing under the falls of Aberfeldy, at or near Moness.' It is justly esteemed one of the most popular songs in Scotland. The original was known as The Birks of Abergeldie, two stanzas of which are inserted in the Museum, immediately following Burns's verses. The old fragment was copied from Herd's Scottish Songs, 1776, ii. 221, and begins thus:— ' Bonny lassie, will ye go, will ye go, will ye go, Bonny lassie, will ye go to the Birks o' Abergeldie? Ye shall get a gown of silk, a gown of silk, a gown of silk, Ye shall get a gown of silk, and coat of calimancoe.' In his Scottish Ballads and Songs, 1859, /?> Maidment reprinted verses from an original broadside of the beginning of the eighteenth century, but he considered Herd's fragment older. The Maidment ballad is written throughout in English.

The sustained popularity of the song is due in a great measure to its melody. In the 1690 edition of Playford's Dancing Master the tune is entitled A Scotch Ayre; as Abergeldie it is in Atkinson's MS., 1694; in Sinkler's MS., 1710, as Birks of Ebergeldie. It is also in Original Scotch Tunes, 1700; in Bremner's Keels, 1758, j;; Stewart's Peels, 1761, } ; Caledonian Pocket Companion, c. 1756, viii. 16, and others. Abergeldy, near Balmoral, is now a royal demesne.

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