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The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume IV, song 350, page 362 - 'The weary Pund O' Tow'

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Volume IV, song 350, page 362 - 'The weary Pund O' Tow'

Introduction:
Verse 1:
'The weary pund, the weary pund,
The weary pund o' tow;
I think my wife will end her life,
Before she spin her tow.
I bought my wife a stane o' lint
As gude as e'er did grow;
And a' that she has made o' that
Is ae poor pund o' tow.'

Chorus:
'The weary pund, the weary pund,
The weary pund o' tow;
I think my wife will end her life,
Before she spin her tow.'
Image Rights Holder:
National Library of Scotland
Ref:
2523
Project:
754:Scots Musical Museum
Material:
Book
Dimensions:
132 x 211 mm
What:
The 'Scots Musical Museum' - Volume IV, song 350, page 362 - 'The weary Pund O' Tow'
Subject:
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.
Who:
Robert Burns (1759-96) (song collector / composer / editor)
James Oswald (song collector)
William Clarke (c. 1755-1820) (musical editor for Volume VI of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Stephen Clarke (c. 1735-97) (musical editor)
James Johnson (c. 1750-1811) (printer / publisher / engraver / editor)
When:
Between 1787 and 1803 (first publication of the 'Scots Musical Museum')
Where:
The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Background:
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.
Description:
Glen (19O0) states that this melody originally came from James Oswald's book, 'The Caledonian Pocket Companion' (1759). In a letter to James Johnson, Burns said 'I was so lucky lately to pick up an entire copy of Oswald's Scots music and I think I shall make glorious work out of it'. Though Glen goes on to say that there is some doubt as to whether any lyrics existed for this song until Burns wrote some verses, he states that Sir Walter Scott narrated a similar-sounding song. This suggests there might well have been pre-existing lyrics which Burns merely embellished.