> June Tabor > Songs > O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose

O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose

[ Roud 12946 , V2890 ; Ballad Index FSWB140C ; Robert Burns]

O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose is a 1794 song in Scots by Robert Burns based on traditional sources.

Mrs McGrath from Ayrshire sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 1951 to Alan Lomax. This recording was included in 1955 on the anthology The World Library of Folk and Primitive Music: Scotland.

Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose on their 1962 Decca album with The Galliards, A Rovin'.

Davy Steele sang O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose in 1993 on Ceolbeg's Greentrax album An Unfair Dance. This recording was included in 2014 on the Greentrax anthology Favourite Scottish Songs. He also sang it in 1998 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 4.

Sheena Wellington sang My Luv's Like a Red, Red Rose in a concert at Nitten (Newtongrange) Folk Club, Scotland, that was published in 1995 on her Greentrax CD Strong Women. She also sang it on the 1998 anthology Scottish Love Songs. She commented in the first album's liner notes:

Burns wrote this beautiful song, probably based on an older one, to the tune Major Graham found in Niel Gow's first collection. The accidental omission of the two dot repeats marks it the fourth measure meant that it appeared in volume 5 of the Scots Musical Museum, published after the poet's death, with an odd mismatch of tune and words. I am indebted to the work of the late American musicologist, Serve Hovey, for presenting the song as the Bard intended though, in traditional fashion. I have taken liberties in adding the two line reprise.

Gibb Todd sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 1999 on his CD Connected.

June Tabor sang O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose in 2001 on her Topic CD Rosa Mundi. She commented in the album's notes:

The red rose represents a passionate love. Burns moulded the traditional folk poetry of his Galloway upbringing into a vibrant affirmation of constancy. The tune, Major Graham, is now believed to be the one Burns had in mind when he wrote the song.

Tich Frier sang O My Luve's Like a Red, Red Rose in 2002 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 12.

Eddi Reader sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2003 on her Rough Trade album The Songs of Robert Burns.

Isla St Clair sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2004 on her CD Looking Forward to the Past.

Corrina Hewat sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2006 on her Park Records CD with Kathryn Tickell, The Sky Didn't Fall.

Mairi Campbell sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2007 on The Cast's Greentrax CD Greengold.

Ed Miller sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2009 on his CD of songs written or collected by Robert Burns, Lyrics of Gold.

Twelfth Day sang My Love's Like a Red, Red Rose in 2010 on their CD Northern Quarter.

Sarah Matthews sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2011 on the Pecsaetan Morris anniversary album At One With the Bells, and in 2012 on her solo CD As I Was Walking.

Tan Yows sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2012 on their CD Undipped.

Josienne Clarke sang My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose in 2013 on her album with Ben Walker, Fire and Fortune.

Lyrics

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.