Volume VI, song 571, page 590 - 'What's that to you' -...
Volume VI, song 571, page 590 - 'What's that to you' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'My Jeany and I have toil'd the live-lang summer day Till we were almost spoil'd At making of the hay. Her kurchy was of holland clear Ty'd on her bonny brow; I whisper'd something in her ear But what is that to you.' A 'kurchie' is a small head scarf or square.
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.
This song is thought to have been written by Thomas D'Urfey (1653-1723). D'Urfey was a favourite author of Charles II and James VII, mainly due to his satirical and witty productions. It was then thought to have been altered by Allan Ramsay who also set it to the tune 'The Glancing of her apron'. The melody given here, however, makes its first appearance in print and was most probably composed by Robert Mackintosh.