Scots Sangs Fur Schools

Traditional and new Scots songs for use in Scottish schools

AE FOND KISS

One of Robert Burns’s finest love songs.

 

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever

Ae fareweel, and then forever

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?

e, nae cheerfu 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 loved sae kindly

Had we never loved 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, forever

Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee

Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee

 

 

This lyric was written for ‘Clarinda’, Mrs Agnes (Nancy) McLehose, whom Burns wooed and promised to marry when her dissolute and brutal estranged husband died. Burns signed himself ‘Sylvander’ in his seven years of correspondence with ‘Clarinda’. When in December 1791 Agnes decided to join her husband in Jamaica, Burns wrote and sent to her 'Ae Fond Kiss'.

But Burns died before her husband James McLehose did.

You would not know from the lyric that when Burns wrote it he was three years married to Jean Armour and had several children with her. Burns’s lyric is in part reworked from a poem 'The Parting Kiss', published by the English poet Robert Dodsley in 1749, which begins 'One kind kiss before we part, / Drop a tear and bid adieu; / Tho’ we sever, my fond heart, / Till we meet, shall pant for you.'

 

 

Although Robert Burns chose the tune 'Rory Dall’s Port' for his lyric, it has since been set to various other new and old tunes.

At present, 'Ae Fond Kiss' is sung to the tune on our recording. It was made or arranged by John Michael Diack (1869-1946), who said it was 'founded on an old Scottish air', probably a Gaelic one.

Heather Yule has identified this tune as 'Mo run an diugh mar an dé thu' (My Love Today as Heretofore), which she found in the Simon Fraser Collection. She has arranged and recorded it especially for this website.