A brief return today to Burns, the nation’s ultimate chronicler of love.

This poem ranks among his sunniest on the subject, and the closing transcendental lines are particularly fine; but it is less popular as poem or song than others such as A Red Red Rose.


O were I on Parnassus hill;

Or had o’ Helicon my fill;

That I might catch poetic skill,

To sing how dear I love thee.

But Nith maun be my Muse’s well,

My Muse maun be thy bonie sell;

On Corsincon I’ll glowr and spell,

And write how dear I love thee.


Them come, sweet Muse, inspire my lay!

For a’ the lee-lang simmer’s day,

I coudna sing, I coudna say,

How much, how dear, I love thee.

I see thee dancing o’er the green,

Thy waist sae jimp, thy limbs sae clean,

Thy tempting lips, thy roguish een –

By Heaven and Earth I love thee.


By night, by day, a-field, at hame,

The thoughts o’ thee my breast inflame;

And ay I muse and sing thy name,

I only live to love thee.

Tho’ I were doom’d to wander on,

Beyond the sea, beyond the sun,

Till my last, weary sand was run;

Till then –and then I love thee.