O Nannie, Wilt Thou Gang Wi' Me?
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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This Scottish tune was written in 1773 by Thomas Carter. The words are older. There is a note in Our National Songs that the words were "Scotticised from Bishop Percy," which would refer to Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). O Nannie, wilt thou gang wi' me,
Nor sigh to leave the flaunting town?
Can silent glens have charms for thee,
The lowly cot, the russet gown?
No longer dress'd in silken sheen,
No longer deck'd wi' jewels rare,
Say can'st thou quit each courtly scene,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?
Where thou were fairest,
Where thou wert fairest,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair.

O Nannie, when thou'rt far away,
Wilt thou not cast a wish behind?
Say, can'st thou face the parching ray,
Nor shrink before the wintry wind?
Oh, can that soft and gentle mien
Severest hardship learn to bear,
Nor sad regret each courtly scene
Where thou wert fairest of the fair!
Where thou were fairest,
Where thou wert fairest,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair.

O Nannie, can'st thou love so true?
Thro' perils keen wi' me to gae,
Or when thy swain mishap shall rue
To share wi' him the pangs of wae?
Say, should disease or pain befal,
Wilt thou assume the nurse's care?
Nor wistful those gay scenes recal,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair!
Where thou were fairest,
Where thou wert fairest,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair.

And when at last, thy love shall die,
Wilt thou receive his parting breath?
Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,
And cheer with smiles the bed of death?
And wilt thou o'er his breathless clay,
Strew flow'rs, and drop the tender tear?
Nor then regret those scenes so gay?
Where thou wert fairest of the fair!
Where thou were fairest,
Where thou wert fairest,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair.

From Our National Songs
See Bibliography for full information.