Birks of Endermay (or Invermay)
lyrics by William Malloch or
This charming song, published in William Thomson's
Orpheus Caledonius (1733), will
always be associated with the tragic story of Captain
Willie Leslie. It was the song with which his sister Lady
Jeany won the heart of an American student, Ben Rush, in Edinburgh in
1767, and it was through Rush's association with the Leslies that
Willie was given proper burial at Pluckemin,
NJ, in 1777. Funnily enough, Invermay and its birks were inherited by
Jeany's descendants, via the sister of Will's friend Alexander
Hepburn-Murray. Small world!
The Birks of
Invermay, it was also the
song sung by the poet Robert Fergusson as he was dying in the
Edinburgh madhouse at the age of 24, from a head injury.
The smiling Morn,
the breathing Spring,
Invite the tuneful Birds to sing:
And while they warble from each Spray,
Love melts the universal Lay.
Let us, Amanda, timely wise,
Like them improve the Hour that flies;
And in soft Raptures waste the day,
Among the Birks of Endermay.
For soon the Winter of the Year,
And Age, Life's Winter, will appear:
At this, thy living Bloom will fade;
As that will strip the verdant Shade.
Our Taste of Pleasure then is o'er;
The feather's Songsters love no more:
And when they droop, and we decay,
Adieu the Birks of Endermay.
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'S co sheinneas an fhideag airgid?
Co theireadh nach seinninn, sheinninn,
Co theireadh nach seinninn fhin í?