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Updated 05/08/2013

 


My Love She's But A Lassie Yet
Robert Burns

The title was fixed on the tune because of two songs composed to it, one by Robert Burns and the other by the "Ettrick Shepherd," James Hogg, although the tune seems to have first appeared in print in Bremner's Scots Reels" of 1757 as "Miss Farqharson's Reel." It was rumored to appear in James Aird's collection (of Scottish tunes. The writer of Gems of Scottish Song asserts that the original title of the tune was "Lady Bodinscoth's Reel." Although of Scottish origin it soon became a popular tune south of the Tyne, as attested to the title's appearance in Henry Robson's list of popular Northumbrian song and dance tunes ("The Northern Minstrel's Budget"), which he published c. 1800. "My Love She's But a Lassie Yet" is also the name of a Scottish country dance, though a somewhat unusual one.

The melody also found currency across the ocean; perhaps the most widespread instrumental folk tune in Pennsylvania tradition, and that it in fact seems mostly to have been known as an instrumental air among folk musicians in general. The tune was printed under the title "Richmond Blues" in George P. Knauff's Virginia Reels, volume II (Baltimore, 1839) and was still cited as commonly played for country dances in Orange County, New York, in the 1930's (Lettie Osborn, New York Folklore Quarterly). In the South, old-timey musicians know the tune under the title "Too Young to Marry.

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favorite son, the Ploughman Poet, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard) was a Scottish poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland, and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a "light" Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and after his death became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism. A cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world, celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.

As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) Auld Lang Syne is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and Scots Wha Hae served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country. Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well-known across the world today, include A Red, Red Rose To a Louse, To a Mouse, The Battle of Sherramuir, Tam o' Shanter and Ae Fond Kiss.

 

Lyrics by Robert Burns

 

My love she's but a lassie yet
Oh My love she's but a lassie yet
We'll let her stand a year or twa
She'll no be half sae saucy yet

I rue the day I sought her O
I rue the day I sought her O
Wha gets her needs na say he's woo'd
But he may say he's bought her O!

Come, draw a drap o' the best o't yet;
Come, draw a drap o' the best o't yet;
Gae seek for pleasure where ye will
But here I never miss'd it yet.

We're all dry wi' drinkin o't
We're all dry wi' drinkin o't
The minister kissed the fiddler's wife
He could na preach for thinkin o't