More about this poem
Burns sent this song to George Thomson around May 1794, which he set to a tune composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron (1745-1811), the daughter of the Earl of Dundonald. Burns wrote to Thomson that, "I got an air, pretty enough, composed by Lady Elizabeth Heron of Heron... Cree is a beautiful romantic stream; and as her Ladyship is a particular friend of mine, I have written the following song to it".
Although this music has not been traced, Thomson was not enamoured by the air, and instead suggested that the song be set to another tune. However, Burns rejected this idea.