Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
137. Song—Farewell to the Banks of Ayr
 
 
Tune—“Roslin Castle.”
  “I composed this song as I conveyed my chest so far on my road to Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica. I meant it as my farewell dirge to my native land.”—R. B.
 
 
THE GLOOMY night is gath’ring fast,
Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o’er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor.        5
The scatt’red coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.
 
The Autumn mourns her rip’ning corn
By early Winter’s ravage torn;        10
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave;
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,        15
Far from the bonie banks of Ayr.
 
’Tis not the surging billow’s roar,
’Tis not that fatal, deadly shore;
Tho’ death in ev’ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:        20
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc’d with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonie banks of Ayr.
 
Farewell, old Coila’s hills and dales,        25
Her healthy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:        30
The bursting tears my heart declare—
Farewell, the bonie banks of Ayr!
 

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