Red, Red Rose, A - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

Like Auld Lang Syne, A Red, Red Rose is a Scottish folk song that was curated, and probably enhanced, by Robbert Burns in the late eighteenth century.  Burns says that he heard the lyric sung by a country girl and was immediately taken with it.  But he didn't like the melody.  Today, A Red, Red Rose is usually sung to the tune 'Low Down in the Broom', having been first paired with it twenty-five years after Burns' death.  There are recent recordings of A Red, Red Rose by Eva Cassidy and Eddi Reader.  The lyric is well known as a poem in its own right.  Musically, the song provides a good example of how a few chords and a simple tune provide sufficient setting for outstanding words. 

Chords

Capo at 3rd Fret

       G                          C            Am7
Oh, my love is like a red, red rose

            C                          D7
That's newly sprung in June:


       G                            C       Am7             
Oh, my love’s like the melody

            C            D7           G
That's sweetly played in tune.



    
      G          Am7        C
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

                                  D7
So deep in love am I;


        G        Am7        C               
And I will love thee still, my dear,

                  D7             G
Till all the seas gang dry.




      G                            C            Am7
Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,

              C                                 D7
And the rocks melt with the sun;


       G                         C             Am7     
And I will love thee still, my dear,

                 C              D7          G
While the sands of life shall run.



    
  
      G              Am7        C
And fare thee well, my only love,

                                  D7
Oh, fare thee well a while,


        G       Am7    C               
And I will come again, my love,

                                 D7             G
Though 'twere ten thousand mile.

Lyrics

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June:
Oh, my love's like the melody
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till all the seas gang dry.

Till all the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt with the sun;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands of life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only love,
Oh, fare thee well a while,
And I will come again, my love,
Though 'twere ten thousand mile.

Other Scottish Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs