This ballad begins: 'Down by yon River side, / where early falls the Dew, / Betwixt my Love and I, / there were kind Kisses anew.'
This song belongs to Scotland's oral folk-tradition and as such very little is known about its origins. Collecting folk songs during the 1780s, Burns recorded in personal notes, that the first two lines of the song were fragmentary and the rest was written by James Tytler. He is known to have been a printer and involved in piece-work for the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica'. There is a tune with the same title, first recorded in the Leyden Manuscript of 1692.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Probable date of publication:
1701 shelfmark: Ry.III.a.10(049)
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