Volume VI, song 521, page 537 - 'Now bank an' brae' -...
Volume VI, song 521, page 537 - 'Now bank an' brae' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Now bank an' brae are claith'd in green an scatter'd cowslips sweetly spring by Girvan's fairy haunted stream the birdies flit on wanton wing To Cassillis banks when e'ening fa's there wi' Mary let me flee there catch her ilka glance of love the bonnie blink o' Mary's ee.' 'Claith'd' means clothed and 'ilka' means every.
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.
According to John Glen (1900), this song was written by Richard Gall (1776-1801), a gifted poet who worked as a printer and died at the age of 25. Glen writes that the song has been mistakenly attributed to Burns by a number of people. Glen believes that the melody is a modern song, and that it had not appeared in any song collection before the publication of the 'Museum'. Cassillis is an area beside the Doon, about three miles from Maybole, in Dumfrieshire.