“The Paisley Officer (India's Burning Sands)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916 (Gardner/Chickering, who also mention a manuscript copy dated 1884); there are sundry 19C broadsides
Keywords: courting marriage cross-dressing soldier death battle India
Found in: US(MA,MW,NE) Canada(Mar) Ireland


Henry, an officer from Paisley, meets and falls in love with Mary. His regiment having been called to India, (they are married and) she dresses as a soldier to accompany him. He is fatally injured; she is killed caring for him


The description of this song at the Bodleian site associates this with the Sepoy Rebellion (1857-1858) -- but note that the National Library of Scotland broadsides probably predate this. - BS, RBW

Cross references




  1. Laws N2, "The Paisley Officer (India's Burning Sands)"
  2. Doerflinger, pp. 308-310, "The Paisley Officer" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  3. SHenry H120, pp. 332-333, "Blythe and Bonny Scotland/India's Burning Sands" (1 text, 1 tune, composite)
  4. McBride, pp. 65,75, "The Paisley Officer" (1 text)
  5. Creighton/Senior, pp. 192-193, "The Paisley Officer" (2 texts)
  6. Creighton-Maritime, pp. 158-159, "The Paisley Officer" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Mackenzie 51, "Bonny Scotland" (2 texts)
  8. Ives-NewBrunswick, pp. 153-157, "The Paisley Officer" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Gardner/Chickering 86, "The Village Pride" (1 text plus mention of 1 more)
  10. DT 438, PAISLYOF
  11. Roud #550
  12. BI, LN02