Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
When the Kye Come Hame
By James Hogg (1770–1835)
COME all ye jolly shepherds,
  That whistle through the glen,
I’ll tell ye of a secret
  That courtiers dinna ken:
What is the greatest bliss        5
  That the tongue o’ man can name?
’Tis to woo a bonny lassie
  When the kye come hame.
      When the kye come hame,
      When the kye come hame,        10
    ’Tween the gloaming an’ the mirk
      When the kye come hame.
’Tis not beneath the coronet,
  Nor canopy of state,
’Tis not on couch of velvet,        15
  Nor arbour of the great—
’Tis beneath the spreading birk,
  In the glen without the name,
Wi’ a bonny, bonny lassie,
  When the kye come hame.        20
There the blackbird bigs his nest
  For the mate he loes to see,
And on the topmost bough,
  O, a happy bird is he;
Where he pours his melting ditty,        25
  And love is a’ the theme,
And he’ll woo his bonny lassie
  When the kye come hame.
When the blewart bears a pearl,
  And the daisy turns a pea,        30
And the bonny lucken gowan
  Has fauldit up her e’e,
Then the laverock frae the blue lift
  Drops down, an’ thinks nae shame
To woo his bonny lassie        35
  When the kye come hame.
See yonder pawkie shepherd,
  That lingers on the hill,
His ewes are in the fauld,
  An’ his lambs are lying still;        40
Yet he downa gang to bed,
  For his heart is in a flame,
To meet his bonny lassie
  When the kye come hame.
When the little wee bit heart        45
  Rises high in the breast,
An’ the little wee bit starn
  Rises red in the east,
O there’s a joy sae dear,
  That the heart can hardly frame,        50
Wi’ a bonny, bonny lassie,
  When the kye come hame!
    When the kye come hame, &c.
Then since all nature joins
  In this love without alloy,
O, wha wad prove a traitor        55
  To Nature’s dearest joy?
Or wha wad choose a crown,
  Wi’ its perils and its fame,
And miss his bonny lassie
  When the kye come hame?        60
      When the kye come hame,
      When the kye come hame,
    ’Tween the gloaming and the mirk,
      When the kye come hame.

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