"Sweet Afton" as written by Robert Burns and Chris Thile....
Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds through the glen,
Oh, ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

Oh, how lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighboring hills
Far marked with the courses of clear winding rills,
There daily I wander as noon rises high
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
There oft as mild Evening sweeps over the lea
The sweet scented birk shades my Mary and me.

Though thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
As gathering sweet flowerets she stems thy clear wave.

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays,
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
So, flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream


Lyrics submitted by heafar

"Sweet Afton" as written by Chris Thile

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Sweet Afton song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment"Sweet Afton" is a poem by Robert Burns, who often writes about nature and entangles it very beautifully with a love story. This is a prime and wonderful example of his writings. To me, Afton (the river) is like life, with bends and surrounded by its high and low parts of the landscape (being the ups and downs of life). Mary is the love part of the story, sleeping in her elegance as life passes by, with her feet barely in life itself. And as she is dreaming, the stream only murmurs so she can be imaginative in what she hopes her life can be like.
    JessiLon April 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutley love Robert Burns, he was a poet back a long time ago in Scotland and his claim to fame was that he wrote in Scootish dialect. His poems are all beautiful, a little difficult to read sometimes, but all of them have gorgeous images and sweet afton is now exception, Nickle Creek did a great job translating it to music.
    aftonbelleon March 03, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA beautiful song, but JessiL, Mary is dead. I saw them live and Chris Thile was laughing about it cos he wasnt too sure when he wrote the melody, hence why he wrote it in a major key. Burns is contrasting the death of Mary with the flow of the river being a metaphor for the passage of time.
    folk_foolon June 04, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat the heck? Nickle Creek translated this song to music? I have music books dated back to the 1940's that I inherited from my grandmother when she passed away and Sweet Afton is in a few of them. I always thought they were just replaying a song popular over half a century ago.
    adaptiveRADIATIONon October 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazingly beautiful and sweet.
    I hadn't heard of Robert Burns before this.
    Seems beautiful how an American Bluegrass band plays a poem of a Scottish poet.
    Also a nice detail about the song being in major while it's about the death of Mary, does make it allot more sweet.
    The_Promiseon February 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy favorite song, it's just so soothing. odd to think of it as describing death though, i've always seen it as a sort of tranquil life
    lovinit12791on March 28, 2008   Link

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