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August 15, 2019

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/behold-the-hour-the-boat-arrive


The following is one of several versions of this ode by Robert Burns, marking the departure of his ‘Clarinda’,  Agnes (Nancy) McLehose to join her husband in the West Indies. Ironically, the lady returned from Jamaica just months after arriving there and not being reconciled with her husband. Despite her living in Edinburgh thereafter, the connection with Burns did not re-ignite and the pair never met again.


“Behold the hour, the boat arrive; Thou goest, the darling of my heart;

Sever'd from thee, can I survive? But Fate has will'd and we must part.

I'll often greet the surging swell, Yon distant Isle will often hail:

"E'en here I took the last farewell; There, latest mark'd her vanish'd sail."


Along the solitary shore, While flitting sea-fowl round me cry,

Across the rolling, dashing roar, I'll westward turn my wistful eye:

"Happy thou Indian grove," I'll say, "Where now my Nancy's path may be!

While thro' thy sweets she loves to stray, O tell me, does she muse on me!"



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© 2014 Neil Macgillivray