Page:Merry Muses of Caledonia.djvu/58

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Regarding the ribald version of this song current in his day, Burns writes to Thomson, in April, 1793—"At any rate, my other song, 'Green grow the rashes,' will never suit. The song is current in Scotland under the old title, and to the merry old tune of that name, which of course would mar the progress of your song to celebrity. Your book will be the standard of Scots song for the future; let this idea ever keep your judgment on the alarm." From the older version in Herd's publication (1776), Burns quotes the first stanza, in a letter to John Richmond (Sept. 30, 1786), the occasion being the birth of the first twins by Jean Armour.

Green grow the rashes, O,
Green grow the rashes, O,
The lassies they hae wimble-bores,
The widows they hae gashes, O.

O wat ye ought o' fisher Meg,
And how she trow'd the wabster, O,
She loot me see her carrot c—t,
And sell'd it for a labster, O.

Green grow, &c.

Mistress Mary cow'd her thing,
Because she wad be gentle, O,
And span the fleece upon a rock.
To waft a Highland mantle, O.

Green grow, &c.

An' heard ye o' the coat o' arms
The Lyon brought our lady, O,
The crest was couchant, sable c— t,
The motto, " Ready, Ready," O.

Green grow, &c.

An' ken ye Leezie Lundie, O,
The godly Leezie Lundie, O;
She m—s like reek thro' a' the week,
But finger fr—gs on Sunday, O.

Green grow, &c.