As I was a wand'ring


As I was a wand'ring ae midsummer e'enin, The pipers and youngsters were makin their game, Amang them I spyed my faithless fause luver, Which bled a' the wounds o' my dolour again. Weel, since he has left me, may pleasure gae wi' him; I may be distress'd, but I winna complain: I flatter my fancy I may get anither, My heart it shall never be broken for ane. I could na get sleeping till dawin, for greetin; The tears trickl'd down like the hail and the rain: Had I na got greetin', my heart wad a broken, For Oh, luve forsaken's a tormenting pain! Weel, since he has left me, may pleasure gae wi' him; I may be distress'd, but I winna complain: I flatter my fancy I may get anither, My heart it shall never be broken for ane. Although he has left me for greed o' the siller, I dinna envy him the gains he can win: I rather wad bear a' the lade o' my sorrow, Than ever hae acted sae faithless to him. Weel, since he has left me, may pleasure gae wi' him; I may be distress'd, but I winna complain: I flatter my fancy I may get anither, My heart it shall never be broken for ane.

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Clare Grogan

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1792 and is read here by Clare Grogan.

More about this song

Robert Burns revised the old song 'As I was a wand'ring' for inclusion in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum where it appeared in 1792.

Here a broken-hearted female character laments the loss of her 'faithless fause luver', the implication being that he has left her for her lack of dowry: 'for greed o' the siller'.

Finances played an important, practical part in eighteenth-century courtships and marriages insofar as it was customary for a bride's family to provide a 'dowry' or 'tocher' to assist newlyweds in setting up home and to aid the new husband in caring for his wife.

As such, a young woman's prospects for marriage were significantly increased should she come from a wealthy family.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

unhappiness love greed

Selected for 21 June

For the summer solstice a midsummer wander. Yet again Burns is preoccupied with the way riches can supplant love, yet again he writes from the viewpoint of an abandoned woman. And still, in a powerfully authentic and emotionally believable lyric, she forgives her false lover's 'greed o' the siller' knowing, like the poet, full well the temptation wealth represents to the poor.

Donny O'Rourke

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