Volume VI, song 511, page 527 - 'As walking forth' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'As walking forth to view the spring, Which Flora had adorned In raiment fair; now ev'ry thing the rage of winter scorned. I cast mine eye, and did espy A youth who made great clamor; And drawing nigh I heard him cry, Ah! omnia vincit amor.' 'Omnia vincit amor' is Latin for love conquers all.
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 author of this song has included a number of references to Roman gods, including Cupid, Mars, Jove and Vulcan: 'For warlike Mars, and thund'ring Jove, / And Vulcan with his Hammer'. Whilst many of the songs included in the 'Museum' contain figures from classical mythology, in most cases they hail from Greek rather than Roman mythology. As to the tune, John Glen (1900) was unable to find this particular melody in any collection prior to the 'Museum'. The song, however, is known to have appeared in Allan Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscellany' (1724-7), with no accompanying melody.