Volume I, song 033, page 34 - 'The Blathrie o't' - Scanned...
Volume I, song 033, page 34 - 'The Blathrie o't' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'When I think on this warld's pelf, And the little wee share I have o't to my self, And how the lass that wants it is by the lads forgot, May the shame fa' the gear and the blathrie o't.' The Scots word 'blathrie' refers to foolishness or nonsense.
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.
The tune to accompany this song was published in Oswald's 'Caledonian Pocket Companion' (1759) and in McGibbon's 'Collection of Scots Tunes' (1755). It is generally believed, however, to be much older than the earliest printed copy. In his notes on the 'Museum', Burns remembers encountering a woman and child who sang a version of this song with the first line 'O, Willie weel I mind, I lent you my hand'.