Traditional Scottish Songs
- Kinrara

The author of this song, Dr Robert Couper (1750-1818) was born in Wigtonshire. He went to Glasgow University with a view to becoming a minister of the church, but his parents both died before completing his studies. In 1769 he emigrated to America where he became a tutor to a Virginia family. He returned to Scotland on the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1776 and resumed studying at Glasgow University - but pursuing surgery and medicine rather than the ministry.

Dr Couper published "Poetry, chiefly in the Scottish Language" in 1804. Much of it is regarded as poor, but with occasional power. Some his songs are more highly regarded, however. This one (sung to the tune "Neil Gow") tenderly describes the feelings of a love-lost young man. Kinrara is in Inverness-shire.


Red gleams the sun on yon hill-tap,
   The dew sits on the gowan;
Deep murmurs through her glens the Spey,
   Around Kinrara rowan.

Where art thou, fairest, kindest lass?
   Alas! wert thou but near me,
Thy gentle soul, thy melting eye,
   Would ever, ever cheer me.

The lav'rock sings among the clouds,
   The lambs they sport so cheerie,
And I sit weeping by the birk:
   O where art thou, my dearie?

Aft may I meet the morning dew,
   Lang greet till I be weary;
Thou canna, winna, gentle maid!
   Thou canna be my dearie.

Meaning of unusual words:
hill-tap = hill top
gowan = daisy
rowan = mountain ash tree
lav'rock = lark
birk = beech tree
Lang greet = cry for a long time
canna, winna = cannot, will not

Return to the Index of Traditional Scottish Songs

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line