Volume VI, song 541, page 560 - 'O Mary turn awa' - Scanned...
Volume VI, song 541, page 560 - 'O Mary turn awa' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Verse 1: 'O Mary turn awa that bonny face o' thine O dinna dinna shaw that breast that never can be mine. Can ought 'o warld's gear e'er cool my bosom's care Na na for ilka look o' thine it only feeds despair.' 'Ought' means to own and 'warld's gear' means worldly goods. Another set of lyrics is provided on the same page. They begin: 'What ails this heart of mine?'
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.
Richard Gall (1776-1801) wrote the first song lyric on this page of the musical score. The second song on the page, 'What ails this heart of mine?', was written by a Miss Susanna Blamire (1747-94) of Thackwood, Carlisle. According to John Glen (1900), both song lyrics were adapted to an old melody called 'My Deary, if thou die', which is song number 82 in this collection. Though never published during her lifetime, Susanna Blamire was a poet from Cumbria who spent six years living in Scotland. Blamire was especially interested in Scottish folk songs, and she wrote a number of folk songs in the Scots' style and vernacular.