My Bonie Bell


The smiling Spring comes in rejoicing, And surly Winter grimly flies; Now crystal clear are the falling waters, And bonie blue are the sunny skies. Fresh o'er the mountains breaks forth the morning, The ev'ning gilds the ocean's swell; All creatures joy in the sun's returning, And I rejoice in my bonie Bell. The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer, The yellow Autumn presses near; Then in his turn comes gloomy Winter, Till smiling Spring again appear: Thus seasons dancing, life advancing, Old Time and Nature their changes tell; But never ranging, still unchanging, I adore my bonie Bell.

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David Rintoul

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1791 and is read here by David Rintoul.

More about this song

This two stanza song gives some critics pause due to the irregularity of the metrical flow of the first stanza, but Johnson's papers from Scots Musical Museum indicate the lyrics as Burns' - though it is unknown if they were original or updated by Burns from an earlier traditional piece.

The sentiments, however, muse on a theme familiar to Burns: the transcendence of love over the bounds of time and season, as in line 13: 'seasons dancing, life advancing'. The focus here is the lady love, with the repeated end rhyme in both stanzas being her name: Bonie Bell.

This song was first published in Scots Musical Museum, August 1792. Notably, this poem contains one of the few ladies penned by Burns for whom no real-life counterpart has been named.

Lisa Harrison

Themes for this song

nature beauty

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