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December 7, 2017

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/now-westlin-winds


The other day I was listening to the radio and heard a great recording of this song. I have previously read this on my website but I thought it was worth another outing.


Written by Robert Burns at the age of 16, when studying mathematics at a summer school in Kirkoswald. ‘Peggy’ in the fourth verse refers to a girl who lived next door to the school and diverted his thoughts from trigonometry.


“Now westlin’ winds and slaught’ring guns bring Autumn’s pleasant weather;

The moorcock springs on whirring wings amang the blooming heather

Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain, delights the weary farmer;

And the moon shines bright, as I rove by night, to muse upon my charmer.


The paitrick lo’es the fruitfu’ fells, the plover lo’es the mountains,

 The woodcock haunts the lonely dells, the soaring hern the fountains;

Thro’ lofty groves the cushat roves, the path o’ man to shun it;

The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush, the spreading thorn the linnet.


Thus ev’ry kind their pleasure find, the savage and the tender;

Some social join and leagues combine, some solitary wander:

Avaunt, away, the cruel sway! Tyrannic man’s dominion!

The sportsman’s joy, the murd’ring cry, the flutt’ring gory pinion!


But, Peggy dear, the ev’ning’s clear, thick flies the skimming swallow;

The sky is blue, the fields in view, all fading green and yellow.

Come let us stray our gladsome way, and view the charms of nature;

The rustling corn, the fruited thorn, and ilka happy creature.


We’ll gently walk and sweetly talk, while the silent moon shines clearly:

I’ll clasp thy waist, and, fondly prest, swear how I lo’e thee dearly:

Not vernal show’rs to budding flow’rs, not Autumn to the farmer;

So dear can be as thou to me, my fair, my lovely charmer.”



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© 2014 Neil Macgillivray