Volume VI, song 580, page 600 - 'My Nannie O' - Scanned...
Volume VI, song 580, page 600 - 'My Nannie O' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'Behind yon hills where riv'lets row, Are moors an' mosses many O; The wint'ry sun the day has clos'd, An' I'll away to Nannie O: The westlin wind blaws loud an' shrill, The night's baith mirk an' rainy O; I'll get my plaid an' out I'll steal, An' o'er the hill to Nannie O, To Nannie O to Nannie O; I'll get my plaid an' out I'll steal, An' o'er the hill to Nannie O.'
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 printed here is a hornpipe or quickstep and was composed by Thomas Ebdon of Durham. Ebdon was the organist at Durham Cathedral between 1763 and 1811. Burns, however, had originally directed the lyrics to be sung to 'My Nanny O'. This melody, had already been used quite frequently by Johnson throughout the 'Museum'. This song was written by Burns and published separately by him in 'Poems', in 1787.