The Book of Scottish Song/Cessnock Banks

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Cessnock Banks.

[This song—elaborate in its similitudes, but at the same time beautiful—was an early unpublished production of Burns's.—Cromek recovered it from the recitation of a lady in Glasgow with whom the poet was intimately acquainted. In Pickering's edition of Burns, a version is given from the author's own manuscript, which differs little from Cromek's, but which we here follow. Who the heroine of Cessnock Banks was has not transpired. The tune of the song is called "If he be a butcher neat and trim."]

On Cessnock banks a lassie dwells;
Could I describe her shape and mien;
Our lasses a' she far excels,—
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

She's sweeter than the morning dawn,
When rising Phœbus first is seen,
And dew-drops twinkle o'er the lawn;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

She's stately, like yon youthful ash,
That grows the cowslip braes between,
And drinks the stream wi' vigour fresh;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

She's spotless like the flow'ring thorn,
With flow'rs so white, and leaves so green,
When purest in the dewy morn;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her looks are like the vernal May,
When ev'ning Phœbus shines serene,
While birds rejoice on every spray;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her hair is like the curling mist
That climbs the mountain-sides at e'en,
When flow'r-reviving rains are past;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her forehead 's like the show'ry bow,
When gleaming sunbeams intervene,
And gild the distant mountain's brow;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her cheeks are like yon crimson gem,
The pride of all the flow'ry scene,
Just op'ning on its thorny stem;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her teeth are like the nightly snow,
When pale the morning rises keen,
While hid the murm'ring streamlets flow;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her lips are like yon cherries ripe,
That sunny walls from Boreas screen,
They tempt the taste and charm the sight;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her breath is like the fragrant breeze,
That gently stirs the blossom'd bean,
When Phœbus sinks behind the seas;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

Her voice is like the ev'ning thrush,
That sings on Cessnock banks unseen,
While his mate sits nestling in the bush;
An' she 's twa sparkling, rogueish een.

But it's not her air, her form, her face,
Though matching beauty's fabled queen,
'Tis the mind that shines in every grace;
An' chiefly in her rogueish een.