The dawn was like a red, red rose

No, it was like a gold, gold lily –


But today is Burns Day.

My luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June,
My luve is like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun,
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve,
And fare thee weel, a while,
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

5 thoughts on “The dawn was like a red, red rose”

  1. For a poet as celebrated as Burns is, his spelling is atrocious. Which Burns is this? George? j/k

    1. I tidied up the spelling and punctuation a little bit in my own way, but one wouldn’t think of altering Burns’s “a’ the seas” or “luve” (which is closer to the sound than standard “love” is). Burns collected folksongs of the Scottish countryside, improved them a bit, I think, in his own brilliant way, and gave them to a Scottish publisher (in 1794, I think), so I suppose the printed spelling is that of the publisher. English spelling, which previously varied wildly, had been standardized by Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of 1755, but Burns would have aimed to suggest actual Scottish speech at least a little. He certainly didn’t go so far as, for instance, William Barnes in his poems in the Dorset dialect, in the next century.

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