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The Braes o' Gleniffer
Lyrics by Robert Tannahill, melody by Les Wilson
It would be a little remiss of us not to include a Robert Tannahill song on an album and, once again, Les shoulders the responsibility with his usual aplomb.

Robert Tannahill, though every bit as romantic as his predecessor and literary role model Robert Burns had, by comparison, a very unhappy love life. In fact he had no love life at all, which along with poor health contributed to his unhappy state of mind.

According to J. W. Tannehill, an ancestor of Robert Tannahill's brother John, "Whilst delighting all classes of his countrymen with his native songs, the poet fell into a state of morbid despondency, aggravated by his bodily weakness and a tendency to consumption. He had prepared a new edition of his poems for the press and sent the manuscript to Mr. Constable, the publisher, but it was returned by that gentleman in consequence of his having more new works on hand than he could undertake that season. This disappointment preyed on the spirits of the sensitive poet and his melancholy became deep and habitual. On the 17th of May 1810, the unhappy poet retired to rest; but suspicion having been excited, in about an hour afterward, it was discovered that he had stolen out unperceived. Search was made in every direction and by the dawn of the morning, the coat of the poet was discovered lying at the side of a neighboring stream, pointing out to surely where his body was to be found."
Robert Tannahill was 36 when he died.


LYRICS:


Keen blaws the win' o'er the braes o' Glennifer
The auld castle's turrets are covered wi' snaw
How changed frae the time when I met wi' my lover
Amang the brume bushes by Stanley green shaw

The wild flowers o' simmer were spread a' sae bonnie
The Mavis sang sweet frae the green birkin tree
But far to the camp they ha'e marched my dear Johnnie
And now it is winter wi' nature and me

Then ilk thing aroun' us was blythsome and cheery
Then ilk thing aroun' us was bonnie and braw
Now naething is heard but the win' whistlin' dreary
And naething is seen by the wide spreadin' snaw

The trees are a' bare, and the birds mute and dowie
They shake the cauld drift frae their wings as they flee
And chirp out their plaints, seeming wae for my Johnnie
'Tis winter wi' them and 'tis winter wi' me

Yon caul sleety could skiffs alang the bleak mountain
And shakes the dark firs on the stey rocky brae
While doun the deep glen bawls the snaw-flooded fountain
That murmur'd sae sweet to my laddie an' me

'Tis no' its loud roar, on the wintry win' swellin'
'Tis no' the caul' blast brings the tear to my e'e
For, oh, gin I saw my bonnie Scots callan
The dark days o' winter war simmer tae me

 


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