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WILL YE GO TO THE INDIES, MY MARY?
Robert Burns

 

Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
And leave auld Scotia's shore?
Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
Across th' Atlantic roar?

O sweet grows the lime and the orange,
And the apple on the pine;
But a' the charms o' the Indies
Can never equal thine.

I hae sworn by the Heavens to my Mary,
I hae sworn by the Heavens to be true;
And sae may the Heavens forget me,
When I forget my vow!

O plight me your faith, my Mary,
And plight me your lily-white hand;
O plight me your faith, my Mary,
Before I leave Scotia's strand.

We hae plighted our troth, my Mary,
In mutual affection to join;
And curst be the cause that shall part us!
The hour and the moment o' time!
Footnote : Continuing a further mini-series of songs by our National Bard, Robert Burns, to celebrate the publication of the 'Kilmarnock Edition' (31 July 1786), this song was written to Highland Mary in 1786 whilst the Bard was planning to emigrate to the West Indies. In March 1792 he wrote to George Thomson concerning this song -
 
'In my early years, when I was thinking of going to the West Indies, I took this farewell of a dear girl. All my earlier love songs were the breathings of ardent passion ; and though it might have been easy for me in aftertimes to have given them a polish, yet that polish to me, whose they were, and who alone cared for them, would have defaced the legend of my heart, which was so faithfully inscribed on them. Their uncouth simplicity was, as they say of wines, their race.'
 

 


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