Volume VI, song 568, page 587 - 'Sure my Jean' - Scanned...
Volume VI, song 568, page 587 - 'Sure my Jean' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Sure my Jean is beauty's blossom blawin', sweet in ilka airt lovely tenant o' my bosom, frae that bow'r she'll ne'er depart. Sweets the charms her looks discover in her breast what beauties lie, frae a fond an' constant lover breathing mony a heart felt sigh.'
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 lyrics of this song were written by Richard Gall (1776-1801). Gall was born near Dunbar and enjoyed a brief period of education in Haddington, both in Lothian. He was apprenticed to his uncle, as a builder and carpenter, but found that there was no outlet for his literary talent here. He eventually found an apprenticeship with David Ramsay, the printer of the Edinburgh Courant, and when completed, went into printing himself. During this period he had enough spare time to indulge in writing, most of which emulated Burns's style. As a result it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two for unattributed work.