‘The Banks o’ Doon’: A Poem by Robert Burns

A short song, ‘Ye Banks an’ Braes o’ Bonnie Doon’ (also known as ‘The Banks o’ Doon’) is a Robert Burns poem about looking at the natural world while one is full of worries and cares because one’s love has been untrue. The natural world continues to be fair and carefree, the birds sing merrily, but the speaker of the poem is filled with woe.

The Banks o’ Doon

Ye banks and braes o’ bonie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu’ o’ care!
Thou’ll break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.

Aft hae I rov’d by Bonie Doon,
To see the rose and woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o’ its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o’ mine;
Wi’ lightsome heart I pu’d a rose,
Fu’ sweet upon its thorny tree!
And may fause Luver staw my rose,
But ah! he left the thorn wi’ me.

If you enjoyed ‘The Banks o’ Doon’, you might also enjoy our discussion of Robert Burns’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

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