Volume V, song 470, page 484 - 'Wilt thou be my Dearie' -...
Volume V, song 470, page 484 - 'Wilt thou be my Dearie' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Wilt thou be my Dearie; When sorrow wrings thy gentle heart, O wilt thou let me cheer thee:/ By the treasure of my soul, That's the love I bear thee! I swear and vow, that only thou shall ever be my dearie. Only thou I swear and vow, Shall ever be my Dearie.'
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.
Johnson's attributions of Burns's songs contained in the 'Museum' were made after Burns's death and as a result are not always reliable. This song, however, is now widely accepted to be the work of the Scots bard. The tune to this piece is known as the 'The souter's dochter' or 'The cobbler's daughter' and was first published in 1761 in Neil Stewart's 'Collection of the Newest and Best Reels &c.'. It was also published in 1780 by Angus Cumming under the title of 'The Dutchess of Buccleugh's Reell'. This sudden name change may have been an attempt to seek patronage and favour with the Buccleuch family or their connections.