Volume VI, song 543, page 562 - 'Robin shure in hairst' -...
Volume VI, song 543, page 562 - 'Robin shure in hairst' - Scanned from the 1853 edition of the 'Scots Musical Museum', James Johnson and Robert Burns (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons, 1853)
Chorus: 'Robin shure in hairst, I shure wi' him/ Fint a heuk had I, Yet I stack by him.' Verse 1: 'I gaed up to Dunse, To warp a wab o' plaiden at his daddie's yet, Wha met me but Robin.'
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.
William Stenhouse (1853) writes that, though the title and melody of this song are very old, the lyrics were written, or rather re-written, by Burns. John Glen (1900) writes that the air appears in James Oswald's 'Caledonian Pocket Companion' (1753) under the title, 'Shear'd in Her'st', but laments that 'the old words of the song are probably lost'. The tune given by the publisher of the 'Museum', James Johnson, is 'Bob and Joan' or 'Bobbin John'. Glen says that the melody appears in John Walsh's 'Caledonian Country Dances' (1744), under the title 'The Key of the Cellar'.