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Westlin' Winds
by Robert Burns, arranged by the Tannahill Weavers
This song, also known as Composed in August , is one of the most recorded of all Burns' songs, and with good reason. It is certainly one of his most melodic and, with a lyric that is half love song, half anti-blood sports protest song, it is one of his most compelling. In a letter to The Noblemen & Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt, Burns wrote, " The Poetic Genius of my country found me, as the prophetic bard Elijah did Elisha -- at the plough; and threw her inspiring mantle over me. She bade me sing the love, the joys, the rural scenes and rural pleasures of my native soil, in my native tongue. I tuned my wild, artless notes, as she inspired. She whispered me to come to this ancient Metropolis of Caledonia and lay my songs under your protection: I now obey her dictates."

There is also an unsubstantiated story that Burns was, in fact, allowed to ride in one hunt. He was immediately and permanently banned from any future participation. "The cry, Mr. Burns, is 'Tally-Ho!' Not 'After the little $%#&!s'!!"

LYRICS:

Now westlin' winds and slaught'ring guns
Bring autumn's pleasant weather
The gorcock springs on whirring wings
Amang the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
The moon shines bright, as I rove by night
To muse upon my charmer

The paitrick lo'es the fruitfu' fells
The plover lo'es the mountains
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring hern the fountains
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path o' man to shun it
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join, and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt, away, the cruel sway
Tyrannic man's dominion!
The sportsman's joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering gory pinion!

But, Peggy dear, the evening's clear
Thick flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the joys of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And ilka happy creature

We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk
While the silent moon shines clearly
I'll clasp thy waist, and, fondly prest
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal show'rs to budding flow'rs
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair my lovely charmer

 


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