Volume V, song 460, page 473 - 'Blue Bonnets' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Wherefore sighing art thou Phillis? Has thy Prime unheaded past hast thou found that beauty's lilies Were not made for aye to last. Know thy form was once a treasure; Then it was thy hour of scorn Since thou then denyst the pleasure Now tis fit that thou shouldst mourn.' Another song, sung to the same tune is included and begins: 'Powers celestial, whose protection Ever guards the virtuous Fair'.
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.
It is thought that both of these sets of lyrics were written by Robert Burns for the 'Museum'. They are not attributed to Burns in this publication but Johnson's posthumous attributions, or lack of them, are not always to be relied upon. There is an older and more famous version of 'Blue Bonnets' describing the border lords fighting across the Anglo-Scottish border. This tune is still the official march of some Scottish regiments today. The tune was recorded in Mrs Crockat's Manuscript book of 1709 and was subsequently published by James Oswald in 1742.