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The Ploughman

[ Roud 1095 ; Ballad Index CrSe161 ; DT HIGHMARY ; Robert Burns]

Frank Kidson: Traditional Tunes

Paddy Tunney sang Highland Mary in 1982 on his Green Linnet album The Stone Fiddle.

Ross Kennedy sang Ye Banks and Braes and Streams in 2001 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 9.

Jim Malcolm sang Highland Mary on his 2007 album of songs of Robert Burns, Acquaintance. He noted:

This song is based on the star-crossed relationship Burns had with young Mary Campbell. Her death caused him great pain and severely damaged his reputation. It is a difficult song to sing, having a strange internal rhythm.


Jim Malcolm sings Highland Mary

Ye banks and braes, and streams around
The castle o’ Montgomery,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie.
There simmer first unfald her robes,
And there the langest tarry:
For there I took the last Fareweel
O’ my sweet Highland Mary.

How sweetly bloom’d the gay, green birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom;
As underneath their fragrant shade,
I clasp’d her to my bosom.
The golden Hours, on angel’s wings,
Flew o’er me and my Dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi’ mony a vow, and lock’d embrace,
Our parting was fu’ tender;
And pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder:
But Oh, fell Death’s untimely frost,
That nipt my Flower sae early,
Now green’s the sod, and cauld’s the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary.

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
I aft hae kiss’d sae fondly,
And clos’d for ay, the sparkling glance,
That dwalt on me sae kindly.
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that lo’ed me dearly,
But still within my bosom’s core
Shall live my Highland Mary.