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The Banks O’ Doon


Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in Alloway, a small village near the river Doon just south of the town of Ayr, in the south-west of Scotland. As Scots and Scotophiles to world over prepare to celebrate Burns Night on the 25th, here’s a song from the new Oxford World’s Classics edition of his Selected Poems and Songs, dedicated to that river near which he grew up.

The Banks O’ Doon

Ye Banks and braes o’ bonie 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 warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.

Oft 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,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause luver staw my rose,
But, ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.

The Banks O' Doon

Robert Burns was an eighteenth century Scottish poet and songwriter. Selected Poems and Songs offers Burns’s work as it was first encountered by contemporary readers, presenting the texts as they were originally published. It reproduces in its entirety the volume which made Burns famous–Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, published at Kilmarnock in 1786–and it showcases a generous selection of songs from The Scots Musical Museum and A Select Collection of Scottish Airs, complete with their full scores.

For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more. You can follow Oxford World’s Classics on Twitter, Facebook, or here on the OUPblog. Subscribe to only Oxford World’s Classics articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

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Image credit: The Banks O’ Doon sheet music. Taken from Selected Poems and Songs by Robert Burns. Do not reproduce without permission.

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