This ballad, to its own proper tune, begins: 'Down by a Meadow green, / I chanc'd to meet my Dear, / She appeared like a Queen / Fill'd me with Joy and Fear'.
The tune 'The bonie brooket lassie, blew beneath the eyes' was first recorded in the Leyden manuscript of 1692, and the same tune, without a name, was entered in the Sinkler manuscript of 1710. Robert Burns included this song in his selection for the 'Scots Musical Museum'. In a private set of accompanying notes he revealed his lyrics had been written by James Tytler of Edinburgh but the first two lines were taken from an older fragmentary song.
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.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable date published:
1701- shelfmark: S.302.b.2(054)
View larger image