This song occasionally goes by the alternative title of 'My Lord a Hunting'. The lyrics were written by Robert Burns in 1787 and had to wait sixteen years before publication. The Earl mentioned in the song, the Earl of Cassilis, enjoyed the family name Kennedy. The Kennedys were one of the largest and most important families in Burns's home area of Carrick. The tune to the piece has no particular name but is believed to have been the work of the Ayrshire dancing teacher, James Grieg.