Volume I, song 008, page 9: 'Roslin Castle' - Scanned from...
Volume I, song 008, page 9: 'Roslin Castle' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
There are two versions of the lyrics for this song given in the 'Museum'. Here is an excerpt from the first: Verse 1: ''Twas in that season of the year, when all things gay and sweet appear, that Colin with the morning ray, arose and sung his rural lay. Of Nanny's charms the Shepherd sung, the hills and dales with Nanny rung; while Roslin Castle heard the Swain, And echo'd back the chearful strain.' The second set of lyrics begin: 'From Roslin Castle's echoing walls'.
The 'Scots Musical Museum' is the most important of the numerous eighteenth- and nineteenth-century collections of Scottish song. When the engraver James Johnson started work on the second volume of his collection in 1787, he enlisted Robert Burns as contributor and editor. Burns enthusiastically collected songs from various sources, often expanding or revising them, whilst including much of his own work. The resulting combination of innovation and antiquarianism gives the work a feel of living tradition.
This tune was ascribed to James Oswald (1711-69) in an 1821 obituary notice although he never claimed to have written it. It is more likely that the tune was written by William McGibbon (c.1690-1756), who published it under the name 'House of Glams' (Glamis), in his second collection of Scots tunes in 1746, prior to its being published in Oswald's 'Caledonian Pocket Companion', book iv. The words are by Hewitt.