the song
title : Song   better known as   Ae fond kiss
written by : Robert Burns
arranged by : Eddi Reader, Ian Carr, Phil Cunningham, Boo Hewerdine, John McCusker and Ewen Vernal
song copyright : none

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocal
with :
Ian Carr acoustic guitar
Phil Cunningham accordion
Boo Hewerdine acoustic guitar
John McCusker cittern?, whistle
Ewen Vernal double bass
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
conducted by Kevin McCrae :
strings, arranged by Kevin McCrae
1st violins: Edwin Paling, William Chandler, Tamas Fejes, Andrew Martin, Robert Yeomans, Barbara Paterson, Jane Reid, Gail Digney; 2nd violins: Rosalin Lazaroff, Jacqueline Speirs, Marion Wilson, Wanda Wojtasinska, Elizabeth Lloyd, Paul Medd; violas: John Harrington, Ian Budd, David Amon, Claire Dunn; cellos: Pauline Dowse, Jeremy Fletcher, Betsy Taylor, William Paterson; double basses: David Inglis, Robert Mitchell
music
key : A major
time-signature : 3/4
tempo : MM 92
form : v V V V v V V V P
lyrics

Ae fond kiss

ae fond kiss and then we sever
ae fareweel, alas for ever
deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee
warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee

who shall say that fortune grieves him
while the star of hope she leaves him
me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me
dark despair around benights me

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy
nothing can resist my Nancy
for to see her was to love her
love but her, and love for ever

– whistle and accordion

had we never loved sae kindly
had we never loved sae blindly
nor never met, nor never parted
we would never have been so broken-hearted

fare thee weel, my first and fairest
fare thee weel, my best and dearest
thine be like joy and treasure…
peace, enjoyment, love and pleasure

mmm, ae fond kiss, and then we sever
ae fareweel alas, for ever
deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee
warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee

I’ll wage thee
I’ll wage
I’ll
I’ll wage thee
my best and dearest
ah my treasure, ea-ah
bye-bye baby
[heart-wrung] I’ll wage thee
bye-bye baby […]

glossary
aeone
naeno
wagepresumably as in ‘to wage war’
weelwell
explanations

This song was one of two written for ‘Clarinda’, Agnes Craig M’Lehose, when she was about to sail for Jamaica to rejoin her husband. Burns sent it and Gloomy December to her in Dumfries on 1791-12-27. Here is Burns’s original, from the Watson manuscript 1134, as printed in the Burns complete edition :

Song—

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, and then for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,
While the star of hope she leaves him:
Me, nae chearful twinkle lights me;
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy
Naething could resist my Nancy:
But to see her, was to love her;
Love but her, and love for ever.

Had we never lov’d sae kindly,
Had we never lov’d sae blindly!
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, Alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

source : No. 337 in Poems and songs of Robert Burns / edited by James Kinsley. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1968

The lyric was printed in the The Scots musical museum of 1792 under the title Rory Dall’s port, which is the name of the ‘other’ tune to which it can be sung, completely different to the one used by Eddi. However, Eddi’s tune seems to be “the one I know”, so if you have any details of the discrepancy, please pass them on to me, thanks.

additional glossary for the explanations
ilkaevery

the recording
personnel
produced by : Boo Hewerdine
recorded by : Robert Rankin at CaVa Studios, Glasgow – 2003-01
mixed by : Jon Kelly
mastered by : Tim Young at Metropolis Studios, London
technical
signal path : DDD
song timing : 6:33
released on
album : Eddi Reader sings the songs of Robert Burns track 4   timing : 6:36
album : The songs of Robert Burns (deluxe edition) track 4   timing : 6:36

commentary
Eddi said
“I have been singing this for a while and did a version of it on an old Fairground Attraction album… It came out on BMG records without my involvement and they spelt the bloody words wrong… So here I am with my beautiful mates reclaiming it. God bless Sylvander and Clarinda (check out the Burns and Nancy McLehose love affair) for throwing their hearts at one another and for leaving Robert so bereft he wrote this.”
booklet note in her Burns albums (both original and deluxe editions)
additional note
for details of Eddi’s earlier recording of this song, see the version released by Fairground Attraction.