Volume I, song 036, page 37 - 'Tweed Side' - Scanned from...
Volume I, song 036, page 37 - 'Tweed Side' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'What beauties does Flora disclose! How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed! Yet Mary's still sweeter then those, Both nature and fancy exceed. No daisy, nor sweet blushing rose, Nor all the gay flow'rs of the field, Nor Tweed gliding gently thro' those, Such beauty and pleasure does yield.'
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.
In his notes on the 'Museum', Burns informs us that this particular song was by Robert Crawford. The Mary of the song is seemingly Mary Stewart of the Castle-milk family, who later married John Ritchie. This information was relayed to Burns by a reliable source and friend of the song collector Allan Ramsay (1686-1758), Mr Tytler of Woodhouselee. The song is known to have been included in Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscellany' (1724-7).