Where are the joys?

Music: Trad. arr. Alasdair MacLean. Words: Robert Burns, adapted by Alasdair Maclean
SATB & piano
performance time approx 2m 00s
Range S: c' — d'' / A: g — a' / T: c — d' / B: F — f
Price code: B
Complexity: **

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This piece is the last in the set Five Scottish songs
The first piece is The winter it is past (MacLean)
If you don't want to buy the whole set, then you can buy Where are the joys? individually using the link on this page.
Robert Burns wrote the words of this song in 1793, to a tune called Saw ye my father?, which Burns described as “one of my greatest favourites” in a letter to James Thomson (editor of The Scots Musical Museum). He also commented: “I have sprinkled [the song] with the Scottish dialect, but it may be easily turned into correct English.”

In mood, this song echoes the first in the set, telling of heartsickness even amid the beauty of summer.

The recording is by the Elliott Chorale of Mount Allison University, Canada, dir. Gayle Martin, and is used with permission.


Where are the joys I have met in the morning,
That danced to the lark’s early song?
Where is the peace that awaited my wand’ring,
At evening the wildwoods among?

Is it that summer’s forsaken our valleys,
And grim surly winter is near?
No, no, the bees humming ‘round the roses wild
Proclaim it the pride of the year.

No more a-winding the course of yon river,
And marking sweet flow’rets so fair;
No more I trace light footsteps of pleasure,
But sorrow and sad sighing care.

Robert Burns, adapted by the composer

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