The Banks of Devon

by Robert Burns


How pleasant the banks of the clear winding Devon,
With green-spreading bushes, and flowers blooming fair!
But the bonniest flower on the banks of the Devon
Was once a sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr.
Mild be the sun on this sweet blushing flower,
In the gay rosy morn, as it bathes in the dew!
And gentle the fall of the soft vernal shower,
That steals on the evening each leaf to renew.


O spare the dear blossom, ye orient breezes,
With chill hoary wing, as ye usher the dawn!
And far be thou distant, thou reptile, that seizes
The verdure and pride of the garden or lawn!
Let Bourbon exult in his gay gilded lilies,
And England, triumphant, display her proud rose:
A fairer than either adorns the green valleys,
Where Devon, sweet Devon, meandering flows.

Notes to the poem:

"These verses," says Burns, in his notes in the Musical Museum, "were composed on a charming girl, Miss Charlotte Hamilton, who is now married to James M. Adair, physician. She is sister to my worthy friend Gavin Hamilton of Mauchline, and was born on the Banks of the Ayr, but was, at the time I wrote these lines, residing Harvieston, in Clackmannanshire, on the romantic banks of the little river Devon."

He writes of her also in Fairest Maid On Devon Banks.


The Poetical Works Of Robert Burns
Copyright 1910
Ward, Lock, and Co., Ltd