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The Banks Of The Devon

March 9, 2017

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/the-banks-of-the-devon


This was composed by Robert Burns in 1787 for Miss Charlotte Hamilton, sister of his great friend, Gavin Hamilton. She had been brought up in Ayrshire but later moved to Harviestoun in Clackmannanshire near to where the River Devon flows. Burns observed that she was “a charming girl”.


How pleasant the banks of the clear winding Devon,

With green spreading bushes and flow'rs blooming fair!

But the boniest flow'r on the banks of the Devon

Was once a sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr.

Mild be the sun on this sweet blushing flower,

 In the gay rosy morn, as it bathes in the dew;

And gentle the fall of the soft vernal shower,

That steals on the evening each leaf to renew!


O spare the dear blossom, ye orient breezes,

With chill hoary wing as ye usher the dawn;

And far be thou distant, thou reptile that seizes

The verdure and pride of the garden or lawn!

Let Bourbon exult in his gay gilded lilies,

And England triumphant display her proud rose:

A fairer than either adorns the green valleys,

Where Devon, sweet Devon, meandering flows.



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© 2014 Neil Macgillivray