Volume VI, song 563, page 582 - 'In yon garden &c.' -...
Volume VI, song 563, page 582 - 'In yon garden &c.' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'In yon garden fine an' gay, Picking lilies a' the day gath'ring flow'rs of ilka hue, I wist na then what love cou'd do.'
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 the notes left by the later editor of the 'Museum', William Stenhouse, this song was often by sung Charles Johnson. Charles was the father of James Johnson, the first editor and publisher of this work. This anecdote explains Johnson's interest in publishing the 'Museum', and illustrates the integrated place folk singing occupied in eighteenth century society. This song had not appeared in any publication previous to the 'Museum', and its author and origin remain unknown.