Volume VI, song 567, page 586 - 'How sweet is the scene' -...
Volume VI, song 567, page 586 - 'How sweet is the scene' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'How sweet is the scene at the dawning o' morning, How fair ilka object that lives in the view dame nature the valley an hillock adorning, the primrose an' blue bells yet wet wi' the dew. How sweet in the morning o' life is my Anna her smile like the sunbeam that glents o'er the lee To wander and leave her, dear lassie, I canna, frae love an' frae beauty I never can flee.'
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.
The melody to this folk song is entitled 'The Humors of the Glen' and is of Irish origin. Gall's lyrics were often associated with Irish tunes, which may indicate a personal preference. The words were penned by Richard Gall (1776-1801), who after numerous stalls, eventually managed to combine paid work with his writing endeavours. He was a huge fan of Burns and was determined to emulate his style. As a result it can be difficult to tell his work from the more indifferent of Burns's unattributed efforts. Gall was also known to have submitted poems to Johnson for inclusion in the 'Museum' with Burns name attached!