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January 24, 2018

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/address-to-the-woodlark


It is thought that Robert Burns composed this poem addressed to the song-bird at the request of the wife of his friend, John McMurdo. McMurdo was chamberlain to the Duke of Queensberry and lived at Drumlanrig, where Burns enjoyed the hospitality of the couple many times.


“O stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,

Nor quit for me the trembling spray,

A hapless lover courts thy lay, Thy soothing, fond complaining.


Again, again that tender part,

That I may catch thy melting art;

For surely that wad touch her heart Wha kills me wi' disdaining.


Say, was thy little mate unkind,

And heard thee as the careless wind?

Oh, nocht but love and sorrow join'd, Sic notes o' woe could wauken!


Thou tells o' never-ending care;

O' speechless grief, and dark despair:

For pity's sake, sweet bird, nae mair! Or my poor heart is broken.



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© 2014 Neil Macgillivray