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20 Jan 2020

My luve is like a red, red rose

A stone carving of a rose, with the title of A red red above
Said to be Bob Dylan’s greatest inspiration, this little poem is one of Scotland’s most loved songs.

As with ‘Auld lang syne’, this poem is based on several traditional Scottish ballads that received the Burns treatment! This ‘simple old Scots song which I had picked up in the country’ was published in 1794 in Pietro Urbani’s Scots Songs. The simple, heartfelt words and popular tune (added by George Thomson after Burns’s death) have made it loved across the world.

Some believe Burns wrote this to be sung by his wife, Jean Armour. More recently, it has been performed by Eva Cassidy, Carly Simon and Eddi Reader, amongst many, many others. 

My luve is like a red, red rose

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


As fair art thou, my bonie 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!
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

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

Handy glossary: gang = go/run

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