Traditional Scottish Songs
- The Lass o' Ballochmyle

The Bonnie Lass o' Ballochmyle was Wilhelmina Alexander (1753-1843) who was a sister of the laird of Ballochmyle, on the banks of the River Ayr. Burns saw her on the banks of the river and sent the song to her. Wilhelmina did not reply but in her old age (still a spinster) the song was said to be one of her most treasured possessions. The "chorus" was not part of the original poem and has been added as part of the poem's conversion to a beautiful song, sung to a tune "Ettrick Banks."

The Lass o' Ballochmyle

'Twas even: the dewy fields were green,
On every blade the pearls hang,
The zephyr wanton'd round the bean,
And bore its fragrant sweets alang.
In ev'ry glen the mavis sang,
All Nature list'ning seem'd the while,
Except where greenwood echoes rang,
Amang the braes o' Ballochmyle

The bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle
The bonnie lass!
The bonnie, bonnie lass!
The bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle.

With careless step I onward stray'd,
My heart rejoic'd in Nature's joy,
When, musing in a lonely glade,
A maiden fair I chanc'd to spy.
Her look was like the morning's eye,
Her air like Nature's vernal smile,
Perfection whisper'd, passing by: -
'Behold the lass o' Ballochmyle!'


Fair is the morn in flow'ry May,
And sweet is night in autumn mild,
When roving thro' the garden gay,
Or wand'ring in the lonely wild;
But woman, Nature's darling child -
There all her charms she does compile;
Even there her other works are foil'd
By the bonnie lass 0' Ballochmyle.


O, had she been a country maid,
And I the happy country swain,
Tho' shelter'd in the lowest shed
That ever rose on Scotia's plain!
Thro' weary winter's wind and rain,
With joy, with rapture, I would toil;
And nightly to my bosom strain,
The bonnie lass 0' Ballochmyle!


Then Pride might climb the slipp'ry steep,
Where fame and honours lofty shine;
And thirst of gold might tempt the deep
Or downward seek the Indian mine!
Give me the cot below the pine,
To tend the flocks or till the soil,
And ev'ry day have joys divine
With the bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle.


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