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

Haydn (arr.) : Ye watchful guardians of the fair (Green sleeves) : illustration

Ye watchful guardians of the fair (Green sleeves)
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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: Allan Ramsay

Ye watchful guardians of the fair,
Who skiff on wings of ambient air,
Of my dear Delia take a care,
And represent her lover.
With all the gaiety of youth,
With honour, justice, love and truth,
Till I return her passions soothe;
For me in whispers move her.

Be careful no base sordid knave,
With soul sunk in a golden grave,
Who knows no virtue but to save,
With glaring gold bewitch her.
Tell her she was for me designed,
For me, who know how to be kind,
And have more plenty in my mind
Than one who's ten times richer.

Let all the world turn upside down,
And fools run an eternal round
In quest of what can ne'er be found,
To please their vain ambition.
Let little minds great charms espy
In shadows which at distance lie,
Whose hoped-for pleasure, when come nigh,
Proves nothing in fruition.

But, cast into a mould divine,
Fair Delia does with lustre shine,
Her virtuous soul's an ample mine,
Which yields a constant treasure.
Let poets in sublimest lays
Employ their skill her fame to raise;
Let sons of music pass whole days
With well tuned reeds to please her.