Volume VI, song 534, page 552 - 'Come follow, follow me' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Come follow, follow me, Ye fairy elves that be, Come follow me your Queen And trip it o'er the green; Hand in hand we'll dance around because this place is fairy ground hand in hand we'll dance around, /Because this place is fairy ground.'
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.
John Glen (1900) writes that this folk song, plus the melody that has been adapted to it, both originate from England. The content of this song deals with traditional English folklore, such as fairies and elves coming out to cause mischief when the mortals are asleep in their beds. Indeed, the tone and style of this folk song is very similar to the otherworldly spirits that appear in Shakespeare's play, 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'. In fact, this song is quite an unusual entry in the 'Museum'.