More about this song
It is thought that the subject of this poem is Jean Lorimer (1775-1831), the daughter of a merchant who lived about two miles from Ellisland. She was a frequent visitor to Burns’s house, and was often called ‘Chloris’ by the Bard, who referred to the platonic love that existed between them.
The song is set to the tune of ‘Cauld Kail’ which Burns noted in a letter to George Thomson, 28 August 1793, ‘is such a favourite of yours, that I once more roved out yesterevening for a gloaming-shot at the Muses; when the Muse that presides o’er the shores of Nith, or rather my old Inspiring dearest Nymph, Coila, whispered me the following’.
Thomson did concede that the song ‘sweetly suited’ the air, but he still attempted to improve on the song by setting the song instead to ‘Alley Croker’.