the song
title : Ae fond kiss
written by : Robert Burns, arranged by Fairground Attraction
song copyright : none; arrangement © 1988 BMG Entertainment International UK & Ireland Ltd

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocals
Mark E. Nevin acoustic guitar
music
key : A major
time-signature : 2/4
tempo : MM 64
form : V V V V V
lyrics

provided for research and private study only (see above for copyright details):

Ae fond kiss

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

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

had we never lov’d so kindly
had we never lov’d so blindly
nor never met, nor never parted
we would never be so broken-hearted

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

glossary
aeone
naeno
wage make
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.

True to the folk-song tradition, Eddi and F.A. have revamped the text slightly, removing a verse which is ‘boy specific’ and re-ordering the others to compensate. Burns’s version, from the Watson manuscript 1134, as printed in the Burns complete edition, is as follows :

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
ilkaevery

the recording
personnel
produced by : Fairground Attraction and Kevin Moloney
recorded by : Kevin Moloney at Westside Studios, London in 1988-05
mixed by : Kevin Moloney at ?
mastered by : ? at ?
technical
track timing : 3:19
song timing : m:ss
released on
single : Find my love CD, 12" track 4
album : Ay fond kiss track 12
album : Fairground Attraction (comp.) track 13
album : The very best of Fairground Attractio (comp.) track 16
album : The masters (comp.) track 14
album : Perfect (comp., US?) track 5
album : The best of Fairground Attraction (comp., Japan) track 17
album : The very best of Fairground Attraction (comp.) track 21

commentary

For other songs by Robert Burns, recorded by Eddi in her solo career, see the early attempts at ‘Green grow the rashes’ and ‘John Anderson my Joe’, and the whole twenty-first century …sings the songs of Robert Burns enterprise, for which Eddi recorded a new version of this song, with orchestral accompaniment, under Burns’s spelling of the title