“The Collier's Bonnie Lassie”


"The collier has a daughter" of great beauty. "A laird he was that sought her, Rich baith in lands and money." (She declares that she is too young and black to love a laird, and that she will have a man "the colour o' my daddie")


There are several early printed texts of this (reportedly Herd, Thomson, Johnson, etc.). Comparing the _Scots Musical Museum_ version with MacColl's version, I have to think they are recensionally different -- the _Museum_ version is a very flowery description of how the laird courts the girl, with no real ending; the MacColl text has her reject him.

I suspect the _Museum_ text is one of its rewrites (not by Burns), and a weak one. But it's possible that the folk process improved a weak song.

The tunes, apart from one measure in the middle, are note-for-note identical. - RBW


  1. MacColl-Shuttle, p. 24, "The collier's bonnie lassie" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #8410
  3. BI, MacCS24


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1803 (Scots Musical Museum, #47)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)