Volume V, song 468, page 481 - 'Highland Laddie' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'The bonniest lad that e'er I saw, Bonie laddie, highland laddie Wore a plaid and was fu' braw Bonie Highland laddie. On his head a bonnet blue, Bonie laddie, Highland laddie, His royal heart was firm and true Bonie Highland laddie.'
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 song is not to be confused with the tune of the same name or with the song 'As I came o'er the Cairney Mount' (song 467), which occasionally goes by the alternative title of 'The Highland Laddie'. The tune to this piece was first published by James Oswald in his 'Collection of Curious Scots Tunes' (1742) and was dedicated to the Prince of Wales. The name of the tune is the same as the song title but occasionally can be found entitled 'The Black (dark) Highland Laddie'.