“I composed this song as I conveyed my chest so far on my road to Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica. I meant it as my farewell dirge to my native land.”–R. B.
The gloomy night is gath’ring fast,
Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o’er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor.
The scatt’red coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.
The Autumn mourns her rip’ning corn
By early Winter’s ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave;
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonie banks of Ayr.
‘Tis not the surging billow’s roar,
‘Tis not that fatal, deadly shore;
Tho’ death in ev’ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc’d with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonie banks of Ayr.
Farewell, old Coila’s hills and dales,
Her healthy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:
The bursting tears my heart declare–
Farewell, the bonie banks of Ayr!