The LiederNet Archive
This website stores both public-domain AND copyright-protected material.
It is illegal to copy and distribute material marked copyright without permission.

Could this ill world have been contriv'd

Language: English

Could this ill world have been contriv'd
to stand  without that mischief, woman,
how peaceful bodies wou'd have liv'd,
releas'd frae a' the ills sae common!
But since it is the waefu' case,
that man must have this teasing crony,
why such a sweet bewitching face?
Oh! had they no been made sae bonny!

I might have roam'd wi' cheerful mind,
nae sin nor sorrow to betide me,
as careless as the wand'ring wind,
as happy as the lamb beside me.
I might have screw'd my tuneful pegs,
and carol'd mountain airs fu' gayly,
had we but wanted a' the Megs,
wi' glossy e'en sae dark and wily.

I saw the danger, fear'd the dart,
the smile, the air, and a' sae taking,
yet open laid my wareless heart,
and got the wound that keeps me waking.
My harp waves on the willow green,
of wild witch notes it has nae ony,
sinc' e'er I saw that pawky quean,
sae sweet, sae wicked, and sae bonny.

Translation(s): GER

Submitted by Caroline Diehl


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
    * GER German (Deutsch) (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , title 1: "Wenn doch die arge böse Welt"

Text added to the website: 2004-08-03.

Notes about what "text verified" means can be found here.

Gentle Reminder
This is a personal project that I began in 1995. I receive no salary for my full-time work on it, and aside from ad revenue and copyright fees, the Archive was supported financially last year by about 0.03% of our visitors. So if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust, Founder
I also have a wishlist at

Classical Vocal Reprints
[ Download entire catalogue here ]