Volume V, song 500, page 516 - 'Evan Banks' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Slow spreads the gloom my soul desires, the sun from India's shore retires; To Evan banks, with temp'rate ray, Home of my youth, he leads the day, Oh! banks to me for ever dear! Oh! stream whose murmurs still I hear! All, all my hopes of bliss reside Where Evan mingles with the Clyde.'
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.
Whilst Johnson has attributed this song to Robert Burns, a number of modern commentators, including John Glen (1900), have disputed his claim. Glen explains that the misunderstanding might lie in the fact that the song was written out in Burns's handwriting. As Burns was not only responsible for writing many of the songs, but also for collecting and revising existing songs for inclusion, it is very possible he had written this composition down upon hearing it. According to Glen, the song was actually written by Helen Maria Williams (1762-1827). Glen further noted that the accompanying tune, whilst known by the title 'Green grow the Rashes', 'is not the tune now known as the 'Green grows the Rashes' of Burns'.