Volume VI, song 578, page 597 - 'Farewell ye fields &c.' -...
Volume VI, song 578, page 597 - 'Farewell ye fields &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: 'Farewell ye fields, an' meadows green, the blest retreats of peace an' love Aft have I silent stol'n from hence With my young swain a while to rove. Sweet was our walk, mair sweet, our talk, amang the beauties of the spring, an' aft we'd lean us on a bank to hear the feather'd warblers sing.'
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 piece is entitled 'Miss Forbes's Farewell to Banff' and was composed by Isaac Cooper of Banff. Cooper was a music and dancing teacher who also published two collections of tunes and a few individual pieces. The lyrics were written by the Edinburgh music-seller, John Hamilton (1761-1814). Not only was Hamilton a businessman and town burgess, but he was also a songwriter and poet. He published 'The Chronicle of Scottish Poetry' and was famed at the time for his poem 'Up in the morning early'.