A Red, Red Rose
Table o contents
Oreegins o the sang
Burns wrocht for the hintmaist ten year o his life for tae uphaud tradeetional Scots sangs for times tae come. In aw, he haed a haund in hainin ower three hunder sangs, the maist kenspeckle airgiably bein Auld Lang Syne. He wrocht on this project fer James Johnson's The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803) an for George Thomson's five-vollum A Select Collection of Orginal Scottish Airs for the Voice. Burns ettelt that A Red, Red Rose shoud be setten furth as pairt o Thomson's ingaitherin. Houe'er, he wrate a freend that Thomson an him didna gree on the merits o thon type o sang: "Whit tae me appears tae be the semple an the will, tae him, an I jalouse tae ye an aw, wuill be leukit on as the ludicrous an the daftlike."
Insteid, Burns gied the sang tae Scots lilter Pietro Urbani, that set it furth in his Scots Songs. In his beuk, Urbani wrate:
- "The wirds o the Red Red Rose wis obleeginly gien tae me by a celebratit Scots poet, that wis that struck by thaim whan liltit by a landwart lassie that he wrate thaim doun an, no bein blythe wi the air, beggit the author tae set thaim tae muisic in the style o a Scots tuin, that he haes duin accordin."
In ither letters, Burns referred tae it as a "semple Scots sang that I haed pickit up in the kintra."
The text o the poem
O my Luv's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luv's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luv am I:
And I will luv 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 luv thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luv
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luv,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
Urbani set the sang furth tae an oreeginal tuin that he wrate. The sang kythed in Johnson's Museum in 1797 tae the tuin o Neil Gow's Major Graham that wis the tuin Burns wis wantin. In 1799, it kythed in Thomson's Scottish Airs setten tae William Marshall's Wishaw's Favourite wi the leerics chynged a tait.
The sang becam mair popular whan Robert Archibald Smith jyned it wi the tuin o Low Down in the Broom in his Scottish Minstrel beuk in 1821. This haes become the maist popular arreengment. The same haes been widely performed by a reenge o airtists sinsyne, wi mony deefferent fowk, pop, rock an choral versions kythin.