Volume I, song 014, page 15 - 'Jamie Gay' - Scanned from...
Volume I, song 014, page 15 - 'Jamie Gay' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'As Jamie Gay gang'd blythe his way along the banks of Tweed, a bonny lass, as ever was, came tripping o'er the mead. The hearty Swain, untaught to feign, the buxom Nymph survey'd, and full of glee, as lad could be, bespoke the pretty maid.'
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.
When Robert Burns agreed to join James Johnson in compiling the 'Scots Musical Museum', the first volume had already been published and included several songs which were not wholly of Scots origin, such as this one. Burns ensured that the remaining volumes included only Scots songs, yet he did not seem to regard this song with the same contempt as some of the other English pieces. In his notes on the 'Museum' he calls it 'a tolerable Anglo-Scotish piece' (sic).