Ae Fond Kiss

File:Heyerdahl idyll 1906.jpg

Hans Heyerdahl, Idyll, 1906

Ah, Burns Night. Hope you’ve got your Scotch, your tatties, your neeps and your haggis all ready and that you’re primed to declaim the ‘Address to a Haggis’ and the ode ‘To a Mouse’.

Here is that wretched charming philanderer’s loveliest poem, written as a farewell to his amour, Mrs Agnes Maclehose, with whom he never managed to dally, although he did get her maid pregnant:

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; 
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever! 
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee, 
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee. 
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him, 
While the star of hope she leaves him? 
Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me; 
Dark despair around benights me. 

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy, 
Naething could resist my Nancy: 
But to see her was to love her; 
Love but her, and love for ever. 
Had we never lov’d sae kindly, 
Had we never lov’d sae blindly, 
Never met-or never parted, 
We had ne’er been broken-hearted. 

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest! 
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest! 
Thine be ilka joy and treasure, 
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure! 
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever! 
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever! 
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee, 
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

Here’s Eddi Reader singing this…. and Karen Matheson with Paul Brady in a quieter version, with Aly Bain on the fiddle.

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