I have only included the song texts (poetry) here when I was assured that they are in the public domain or have had success with securing
the appropriate permission.
 

 

“Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes
(2nd Version)

The Sprig of Thyme (arr. Sharp)

‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer

It’s a Rosebud in June

The Minstrel Boy

Dear Harp of My Country

(Oh!) ‘Tis Sweet to Think

Bruton Town

 

 

 

“Ca’ the Yowes to the Knowes (2nd Version)
By Robert Burns

Ca’ the yowes to the knowes,
Ca’ them where (also whar, in Quilter’s version) the heather grows
Ca’ them where the burnie rows,
My bonie dearie

Hark! The mavis’ evening sang
Sounding Cluden’s woods amang.
Then a-fauldin let us gang,
My bonie dearie.

We’ll gae down by Cluden side,
Thro’ the hazels spreading wide,
O’er the waves that sweetly glide
To the moon sae clearly.

Yonder Cluden’s silent towers,
Where at moonshine midnight hours,
O’er the dewy-bending flowers,
Fairies dance sae cheery.

Ghaist nor bogle shalt thou fear;
Thou’rt to love and Heaven sae dear,
Nocht of ill may come thee near,
My bonie dearie.


Fair and lovely as thou art,
Thou hast stown (stol’n, in Quilter’s version) my very heart;
I can die—but canna part,
My bonie dearie.

Italicized verses are not included in Quilter’s arrangement.

Yowes=ewes
Knows= knolls, hillocks
Burnie=brooklet
Rows=rolls
Mavis=thrush
Faulding=folding, bringing home the sheep
(Source: RPO Editors, Department of English, University of Toronto)

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The Sprig of Thyme (arr. Sharp)
Traditional text

O once I had thyme of my own,
And in my own garden it grew;
I used to know the place where my thyme it did grow,
But now it is cover’d with rue, with rue,
But now it is cover’d with rue.

The rue it is a flourishing thing,
It flourishes by night and by day;
So beware of a young man’s flattering tongue,
He will steal your thyme away, away,
He will steal your thyme away.

I sowed my garden full of seeds;
But the small birds they carried them away
In April, May, and in June likewise,
When the small birds sing all day, all day,
When the small birds sing all day.

In June there was a red-a-rosy bud,
And that seem’d the flower for me;
And oftentimes I snatched at the red-a-rosy bud,
Till I gained the willow, willow tree,
Till I gained the willow tree.

O the willow, willow tree it will twist,
And the willow, willow tree it will twine;
And so it was that young and false-hearted man
When he gained this heart of mine, of mine,
When he gained this heart of mine.

O thyme it is a precious, precious thing
On the road that the sun shines upon;
But thyme it is a thing that will bring you to an end,
And that’s how my time has gone, has gone,
And that’s how my time has gone.

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‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer

By Thomas Moore

‘Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions are faded and gone;
No flow’r of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one,
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them;
Thus kindly I scatter
Thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless* and dead.

So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from love’s shining circle
The gems drop away!
When true hearts lie wither’d,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?

*senseless, in Britten’s arrangement

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It’s a Rosebud in June

Traditional Text

It’s a rosebud in June and the violets in full bloom,
And the small birds singing love songs on each spray;

We’ll pipe and we’ll sing, Love,
We’ll dance in a ring, Love,
When each lad takes his lass all on the green grass;
And it’s all to plough
Where the fat oxen graze low,
And the lads and the lasses to sheep-shearing go.

When we have a-shear’d all our jolly, jolly sheep,
What joy can be greater than to talk of their increase?

We’ll pipe and we’ll sing, Love,
We’ll dance in a ring, Love,
When each lad takes his lass all on the green grass;
And it’s all to plough
Where the fat oxen graze low,
And the lads and the lasses to sheep-shearing go.

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The Minstrel Boy
By Thomas Moore

The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he has girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him.
“Land of Song,” said the warrior bard,
“Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard
One faithful harp shall praise thee.”

The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
Could not bring that proud soul under,
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;
And said “No chain shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
They shall never sound in slav’ry.”

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Dear Harp of My Country
By Thomas Moore

Dear Harp of my Country! In darkness I found thee,
The cold chain of silence had hung o’er thee long;
When proudly, my own Island Harp! I unbound thee,
And gave all thy chords to light, freedom, and song!
The warm lay of love and the light tone of gladness
Have waken’d thy fondest, thy liveliest thrill;
But so oft hast thou echo’d the deep sigh of sadness,
That e’en in thy mirth it will steal from thee still.

Dear Harp of my Country! Farewell to thy numbers,
This sweet wreath of song is the last we shall twine;
Go, sleep with the sunshine of Fame on thy slumbers,
Till touch’d by some hand less unworthy than mine.
If the pulse of the patriot, soldier, or lover,
Have throbb’d at our lay, ‘tis thy glory alone;
I was but as the wind, passing heedlessly over,
And all the wild sweetness I waked was thy own!

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(Oh!) ‘Tis Sweet to Think

By Thomas Moore

(Oh!) ‘tis sweet to think that where’er we rove,
We are sure to find something blissful and dear,
And that when we’re far from the lips we love,
We’ve but to make love to the lips we are near.
The heart like a tendril accustom’d to cling,
Let it grow where it will, cannot flourish alone,
But will lean to the nearest and loveliest thing
It can twine with itself, and make closely its own.
Then oh! What pleasure, where’er we rove,
To be sure* to find something, still, that is dear,
And to know when far from the lips we love,
We’ve but to make love to the lips we are near.

‘Twere a shame, when flowers around us rise,
To make light of the rest, if the rose isn’t there,
And the world’s so rich in resplendent eyes,
‘Twere a pity to limit one’s love to a pair.
Love’s wing and the peacock’s are nearly alike,
They are both of them bright, but they’re changeable too,
And wherever a new beam of beauty can strike,
It will tincture love’s plume with a different hue.
Then oh! What pleasure, where’er we rove,
To be sure* to find something, still, that is dear,
And to know when far from the lips we love,
We’ve but to make love to the lips we are near.

*Quilter uses the word “doomed” in this place. He also
uses full words in some places where contractions are used by Moore.

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Bruton Town
Traditional Text

In Bruton Town there lived a farmer
Who had two sons and one daughter dear.
By day and night they were a-contriving
To fill their parents’ hearts with fear.

One told his secret to none other,
But unto his brother this he said:
I think our servant courts our sister,
I think they have a mind to wed.

If he our servant courts our sister,
That maid from such a shame I’ll save.
I’ll put an end to all their courtship,
And send him silent to his grave.

A day of hunting was prepared
In thorny woods where briars grew.
And there they did that young man a murder,
And in the brake his fair body threw.

Now welcome home, my dear young brothers,
Our servant man is he behind?
We’ve left him where we’ve been a-hunting,
We’ve left him where no man can find.

She went to bed crying and lamenting,
Lamenting for her own true love.
She slept. She dream’d. She saw him by her
All cover’d o’er in a gore of blood.

You rise up early tomorrow morning
And straight-way to the brake you know,
And then you’ll find my body lying
All cover’d o’er in a gore of blood.

Then she rose early the very next morning,
Unto the garden brake she went,
And there she found her own dear jewel
All cover’d o’er in a gore of blood.

She took her kerchief from her pocket,
And wiped his eyes though he was blind;
Because he was my own true lover,
My own true lover and friend of mine.

And since my brothers have been so cruel
To take your tender sweet life away,
One grave shall hold us both together,
And along with you in death I’ll stay.

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