The Merry Muses of Caledonia/Anna

For works with similar titles, see Anna.


Tune—"The dearest o' the Quorum."

The heroine of this song was Ann Park, a niece of Mrs. Hyslop, of the Globe Tavern, Dumfries, and mother of Burns's illegitimate daughter Elizabeth, who was brought up by Jean Armour as one of her own children. She was born March 31st, 1791; was married to John Thomson, Pollokshaws, to whom she bore a large family; and died at Crossmyloof, June, 1873, aged 82. The Globe Tavern was where Burns lodged when his Excise duties precluded his return to Ellisland, and it remained to the end of his days his favourite "howff "in Dumfries. What became of "Anna" is not certainly known. Burns had an extravagant notion of the merits of this song. He copied the first two double stanzas into the Glenriddell MS. collection, and the third stanza appears on another page of the same book. The "postscript" was added for the benefit of the "Crochallan Fencibles." He sent a colder-toned version to Thomson, who did not consider it suitable for his "Collection." In the accompanying letter Burns writes—"'The Banks of Banna" is to me a heavenly air—what would you think of a set of Scots verses to it? I made one a good while ago, which I think is the best love song I ever composed in my life; but in its original state it is not quite a lady's song." This song is printed in Scott Douglas's Edinburgh edition exactly as it appears here (Vol. II., p. 292). A MS. of this song, in Burns's hand, was sold at the Hoe sale, New York, in May, 1911.

Yestre'en I had a pint o' wine,
A place where body saw na,
Yestre'en lay on this breast o' mine,
The gowden locks o' Anna.
The hungry Jew in wilderness,
Rejoicing o'er his manna,
Was naething to my hiney bliss.
Upon the lips of Anna.

Ye Monarchs, take the East and West,
Frae Indus to Savannah;
Gi'e me within my straining grasp,
The melting form o' Anna.
Then I'll despise imperial charms,
An Empress or Sultana,
While dying raptures in her arms
I give and take wi' Anna.

Awa', thou flaunting God o' Day,
Awa', thou pale Diana,
Ilk star gae hide thy twinkling ray
When I'm to meet my Anna.
Come in thy raven plumage, Night,
Sun, moon, and stars withdrawn a'.
And bring an angel pen to write
My raptures wi' my Anna.


The Kirk and State may join and tell
To do sic things I maunna,
The Kirk and State may gae to h—l,
And I'll gae to my Anna.
She is the sunshine o' my e'e,
To love but her I canna;
Had I on earth but wishes three,
The first should be my Anna.

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