Franz Joseph Haydn (arr.)
(1732 - 1809)

Haydn (arr.) : While absent from these faithful arms (Nanny O) : illustration

While absent from these faithful arms (Nanny O)
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Composers since the time of Purcell, H. had been attempting to harmonise Scots tunes, particularly the pentatonic, empathetically. Haydn's attempts were more popular than most, albeit no more successful.
Lyrics: William Pearce

While absent from these faithful arms,
O'er distant hills my Henry hies,
Fears fondly framed my breast alarms,
And tears of passion bathe my eyes.
Along this secret grove I stray,
For oft at eve I've met him here,
And to illusive thought a prey,
I turn and fancy he is near.

Beneath these oaks, how he would kneel
And vow his love with life would last!
But mem'ry heightens all I feel,
With pain I recollect the past.
Some fairy guide me to the spot
Where hides the sov'reign of this heart;
Adieu sweet vales, adieu sweet cot,
My snowy lambs and I must part.

Thro' woods and wilds, 'midst thorns and brakes,
For thee, my lad, my way I'll keep,
'Til strength this tender frame forsakes;
When wearied, lie me down and wee.
But O, return, perfidious swain,
Thou weary wand'rer, cease to rove.
Ah, I haste to these fond arms again,
For none you meet like me will live.