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Afton Water -- Robert Burns

Guest poem submitted by Matthew Brooks:
(Poem #1526) Afton Water
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes!
 Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise!
 My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

 Thou stock-dove, whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
 Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
 Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
 I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

 How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
 Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills;
 There daily I wander as noon rises high,
 My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

 How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
 Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
 There oft, as mild Ev'ning sweeps over the lea,
 The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

 Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
 And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
 How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
 As gathering sweet flowrets she stems thy clear wave.

 Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
 Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
 My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
-- Robert Burns

Here is a poem for The Wondering Minstrels. It's in the "summer" theme.
Afton Water is one of my favorite poems, mostly because of the sense of deep
peace and tranquillity that comes over me when I read it. There is something
about the pace and rhythm of this poem... I think it is the combination of
alliteration ("Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow") and the
gentleness of the nature imagery that works. And it is also purely,
unabashedly romantic. The facts about Robert Burns are chronicled elsewhere.
Another great aspect of this poem is that it has lent itself to song, having
been set to music by several diverse singers and groups, all of which
preserve the spirit of the work... it is one of those poems that really
deserves to be read aloud.


18 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Paul Stewart said...

An interesting fact about this poem is that it provided (and still
provides) the name of a well known brand of cigarettes in Ireland.
Lines from the poem were quoted on the packets of "Sweet Afton". Maybe
it provided the inspiration for the advertising doggerel for Consulate,
a menthol cigarette which in the UK was claimed to be "Cool as a
mountain stream". Does anyone else know of poetry subverted for such
unhealthy purposes?
Paul Stewart

Adrian Laird-Craig said...

ref sweet afton

no, but I hope tobe introducing lines from another romantic poet/dramaturge to the label of a whisky. let's hope you find it in the next ten years or so.


edegra online said...


Nice poem posted here... Great combination of words.... Thanks for posting this poem ..

Anonymous said...

i ate poop while reading this! :)

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