Verse 1: 'O Mary ye's be clad in silk, And diamonds in your hair, Gin ye'll consent to be my bride Nor think on Arthur mair. Oh wha wad wear a silken gown, Wi' tears blinding their ee, Before I'll break my true love's heart, I'll lay me down and die.' An 'ee' is an eye. 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 rather beautiful love song tells of one man's unrequited love. In the first verse he pleads with the object of his affection, Mary, to think of Arthur no more. In the remaining two verses, Mary expresses her undying love for Arthur and, therefore, her rejection of the other. As to the tune, Glen (1900) noted that 'This is a new melody written to a slightly altered version of the 'Siller Crown' (song 240)'. It was composed by Grace Corbett, apparently when she was only 11 years old, and included in book two of Peter Urbani's 'Selection of Scots Songs' (1794).
|Year||1787-01-01 - 1803-12-31|
|Subject Terms||poetry, Robert Burns|