When Rosie was Faithful

Melody - Arranged by R.A. Smith

Robert Tannahill, who wrote it upon reading "The Harper of Mull," a Highland story

When Rosie was faithful, how happy was I!
Still gladsome as summer the time glided by;
I play'd my harp cheery, while fondly I sang
Of the charms of my Rosie the winter nights lang:
But now I'm as waefu' as waefu' can be,
Come simmer, come winter, 'tis a' ane to me,
For the dark gloom of falsehood sae clouds my sad soul,
That cheerless for aye is the Harper of Mull.
2. I wander the glens and the wild woods alane,
In their deepest recesses I make my sad mane;
My harp's mournful melody joins in the strain,
While sadly I sing of the days that are gane.
Though Rosin is faithless, she's no the less fair,
And the thoughts of her beauty but feeds my despair;
With painful remembrance my bosom is full,
And weary of life is the Harper of Mull.
3. As slumb'ring I lay by the dark mountain stream,
My lovely young Rosie appear'd in my dream;
I thought her still kind, and I ne'er was sae blest,
As in fancy I clasp'd the deer nymphs to my breast
Thou false fleeting vision, too soon thou wert o'er;
Thou wak'd'st me to tortures unequall'd before;
But death's silent slumbers my griefs soon shall lull,
And the green grass wave over the Harper of Mull.

The story on which these verses are founded may be thus abridged:

In the island of Mull there lived a harper who was distinguished for his professional skill, and the affectionate simplicity of his manners. He was attached to Rosin, the fairest flower of the island, and soon made her his bride. Not long afterwards, he set out on a visit to some low-country friends, accompanied by his Rosie, and carrying his harp, which had been his companion in all his journeys for many years. Overtaken by the shades of night, in a solitary part of the country, a cold faintness fell upon Rosie, and she sank, almost lifeless, into the harper's arms. He hastily wrapped his plaid round her shivering frame; but to no purpose. Distracted, he hurried from place to place in search of fuel to revive the dying embers of life. None could be found. His harp lay on the grass, its neglected strings vibrating to the blast. The harper loved it as his own life, but he loved his Rosie better than either. His nervous arms were applied to its sides, and ere long it lay crackling and blazing on the heath. Rosie soon revived under its genial influence, and resumed the journey when morning began to purple the east. Passing down the side of a hill, they were met by a hunter, on horseback, who addressed Rosie in the style of an old and familiar friend. The harper, innocent himself, and unsuspicious of others, paced slowly along, leaving her in converse with the stranger. Wondering at her delay, he turned round and beheld the faithless fair seated behind the hunter on his steed, which speedily bore them out of sight. The unhappy harper, transfixed in astonishment, gazed at them. Then, slowly turning his steps homewards, he sighing exclaimed,-- 'Fool that I was, to burn my harp for her!'

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