My Nannie's Awa'

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MY NANNY'S AWA. AKA and see "Dear Sandy," "There'll never be peace till Jamie comes home." Scottish, Air (3/4 time) and Waltz. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. "My Nanny's Awa" is from the pen of poet Robert Burns,who wrote to G. Thomson in December, 1794, saying:

It is, I assure you, the pride of my heart to do any thing to forward, or add to the value of your book; and as I agree with you that the jacobite song in the Museum, to "There'll never be peace till Jamie comes home," would not so well consort with Peter Pindar's excellent love-song to that air, I have just framed for you the following:

MY NANNIE'S AWA.
Tune--"There'll never be peace," &c.

Now in her green mantle blithe nature arrays,
And listen the lambkins that bleat o'er the braes,
While birds warble welcome in ilka green shaw;
But to me its delightless--my Nannie's awa.

The snaw-drap and primrose our woodlands adorn,
And violets bathe in the weet o' the morn;
They pain my sad bosom, sae sweetly they blaw,
They mind me o' Nannie--and Nanny's awa!

Thou lav'rock that springs frae the dews of the lawn,
The shepherd to warn o' the gray-breaking dawn,
And thou mellow mavis that hails the night fa',
Give over for pity--my Nannie's awa!

Come autumn sae pensive, in yellow and gray,
And soothe me with tidings o' nature's decay;
The dark dreary winter, and wild driving snaw,
Alane can delight me--now Nannie's awa!

Allan Cunningham, in his Complete Works of Robert Burns (1855), remarks that "Clarinda, tradition avers, was the inspirer of this song, which the poet composed in December, 1794, for the work of Thomson. His thoughts were often in Edinburgh: on festive occasions, when, as Campbell beautifully says, "The wine-cup shines in light," he seldom forgot to toast Mrs. Mac." Burns' inspiration was a letter from the lady, written at the end of their brief acquaintance. She wrote:

You'll hardly write me once a month, and other objects will weaken your affection for Clarinda; yet I cannot believe so. Oh! let the scenes of nature remind you of Clarinda! In winter, remember the dark shades of her fate; in summer, the warmth, the cordial warmth of her friendship; in autumn, her glowing wishes to bestow plenty on all; and let spring animate you with hope that your poor friend may yet live to surmount the wintry blast of life, and revive to taste a spring-time of happiness!

In his reply, Burns remarked on the "fine passage in your charming letter" and said, "I shall certainly steal it, and set it in some future production, and get immortal fame by it."

The song has been much anthologized, and was also published as a broadside ballad in the mid-19th century, printed by James Lindsay of 11 King Street, Glasgow [1].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources:

Recorded sources: Columbia 2568-D (78 RPM), Sandy MacFarlane (1926). Parolophone PMD 1047, Jimmy Shand - "Comin' Thro' the Rye."

See also listing at:
Hear the 1926 recording by Sandy MacFarlane on youtube.com [2]




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