Go on, sweet bird

Music: Michael Buck. Words: Robert Burns (1759-1796)
SATB with descant
performance time approx 1m 40s
Range S: b♭ – e''♭ (descant g'') / A: g – c'' / T: e♭ – d' / B: G – g
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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This poignant poem by Robert Burns describes how birdsong can uplift a downcast human spirit. The descant that enters, birdlike, in the last two verses leavens the sad tone of the piece. It can be very effective to use a wordless descant (sung on ‘ah’) in the last verse.

The recording is by the Magpie Consort, Ohio, dir. Sheena Phillips.


Go on, sweet bird, and soothe my care,
Thy tuneful notes will hush despair;
Thy plaintive warblings, void of art,
Thrill sweetly thro' my aching heart.

Now choose thy mate and fondly love,
And all the charming transport prove;
While I a lovelorn exile live,
Nor transport or receive or give.

For thee is laughing Nature gay,
For thee she pours the vernal day;
For me in vain is Nature drest,
While Joy's a stranger to my breast.

These sweet emotions all enjoy;
Let Love and Song thy hours employ!
Go on, sweet bird, and soothe my care,
Thy tuneful notes will hush despair.

Robert Burns

Purchase – 1034: Go on, sweet bird

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