Volume V, song 484, pages 498 and 499 - 'Gude Wallace' -...
Volume V, song 484, pages 498 and 499 - 'Gude Wallace' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'O for my ain king, quo gude Wallace, The rightfu' king of fair Scotland. Between me and my soverign blude I think I see some ill seed sawn.'
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 medieval ballad was one of Robert Burns's favourite pieces of literature. In a letter to Dr Moore, Burns commented that the first two books he ever read in private were the lives of Hannibal and Wallace. Wallace was further endeared to his heart after he became acquainted with a direct descendant of Wallace's, a Mrs Dunlop. This is the only published occurrence of the melody given here although the words to the piece were published again at later dates. Stenhouse, a later 'Museum' editor, claimed he had Burns's manuscript version of the entry but this no longer appears to be in existence.