On the seas and far away


How can my poor heart be glad, When absent from my Sailor lad; How can I the thought forego, He's on the seas to meet the foe: Let me wander, let me rove, Still my heart is with my Love; Nightly dreams and thoughts by day, Are with him that's far away. On the seas and far away, On stormy seas and far away, Nightly dreams and thoughts by day, Are aye with him that's far away. When in summer noon I faint, As weary flocks around me pant, Haply in this scorching sun My Sailor's thund'ring at his gun: Bullets spare my only joy! Bullets spare my darling boy! Fate, do with me what you may, Spare but him that's far away. On the seas and far away, On stormy seas and far away, Fate do with me what you may, Spare but him that's far away. At the starless, midnight hour When Winter rules with boundless power; As the storms the forest tear, And thunders rend the howling air: Listening to the doubling roar, Surging on the rocky shore, All I can - I weep and pray For his weal that's far away, On the seas and far away, On stormy seas and far away, All I can � I weep and pray For his weal that's far away. Peace, thy olive wand extend, And bid wild War his ravage end, Man with brother Man to meet, And as a brother kindly greet: Then may Heaven with prosperous gales Fill my Sailor's welcome sails; To my arms their charge convey, My dear lad that's far away. On the seas and far away, On stormy seas and far away, To my arms their charge convey, My dear lad that's far away.

Listen

Clare Grogan

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1794 and is read here by Clare Grogan.

More about this song

Burns composed 'On the seas and far away' in 1794 and sent it to George Thomson for inclusion in his Select Collection of Scottish Airs. That said, both Burns and Thomson were unhappy with the song and so it remained unpublished until after poet's death.

The song describes a young woman's fear and longing for her lover who has sailed to war, and ends with a typically Burnsian appeal for peace, fraternity and equality: 'Man with brother Man to meet,/ And as a brother kindly greet'.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this song

love war unhappiness

Selected for 22 December

A young woman is missing her sailor sweetheart away waging war. And the loss is sorest, 'At the starless midnight hour/When Winter rules with boundless power'.

Donny O'Rourke

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