The hauntingly beautiful “Ye Banks and Braes o’ Bonie Doon” is one of the most popular of Burns’ songs today. However, the version commonly known now wasn’t the first attempt on this theme by Robert Burns. He actually had several earlier drafts in which he developed the perfect combination of the words. He also had different tunes in mind as an accompaniment. This is possibly his first draft.
“Sweet are the banks-the banks o' Doon, The spreading flowers are fair,
And everything is blythe and glad, But I am fu' o' care.
Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings upon the bough;
Thou minds me o' the happy days When my fause Luve was true:
Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings beside thy mate;
For sae I sat, and sae I sang, And wist na o' my fate.
“Aft hae I rov'd by bonie Doon, To see the woodbine twine;
And ilka birds sang o' its Luve, And sae did I o' mine:
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon its thorny tree;
But my fause Luver staw my rose And left the thorn wi' me:
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon a morn in June;
And sae I flourished on the morn, And sae was pu'd or noon!”