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Broadside ballads entitled 'Banks of Doon' and 'The Fairest Flower'


'Banks of Doon' begins: 'Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, / How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair! / How can ye chnat, ye little birds, / And I saw weary, fu' o' care! / Thou'lt break my heart, thou warbling bird / That wantons through the flow'ring thorn: / Thou minds me o' departed joys - Departed never to return!' The words were written by Robert Burns.

'The Fairest Flower' begins: 'The rose, diffusing sweet perfume, / Blooms bonny on its thorny tree; / The linnet sits amang the broom, / And charms us with its melody. / But ne'er was flower in field or bower, / Nor warbler on the greenwood tree, / That bloomed so bonnie in their hour, / Or sang more sweetly, love, than thee.' The words were written by P. McNeill, and the song was to be sung to the tune 'The Bonnie Woods of Craigielea'.

The publisher of this broadside possibly chose to group these two songs together because he saw the influence of one upon the other. 'Banks of Doon', first published in the 'Scots Musical Museum' in 1792 is one of Burns's most famous and popular songs. 'The Fairest Flower' takes as its central image the rose 'on its thorny tree' that also appears in Burns's song, However, in McNeill's version, the rose is a symbol of love and hope, whereas in Burns's bittersweet words the rose comes to represent betrayal.

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Probable period of publication: 1870-1890   shelfmark: L.C.1269(108a)
Broadside ballads entitled 'Banks of Doon' and 'The Fairest Flower'
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