More about this song
In a letter to George Thomson, Burns announced that he had found a song in The Scots Musical Museum, which he had altered for the better.
Burns was convinced that ‘the words, ‘Dainty Davie’, glide so sweetly in the air, that to a Scots ear, any song to it, without ‘Davie’ being the hero, would have a lame effect’.
Thomson may have agreed with the words, but strongly opposed the musical setting of the song. As a compromise he agreed that two stanzas should be sung together, followed by the chorus.
For his part, Burns was surprised that Thomson wished to interfere with the setting, and wrote, somewhat tongue-in-cheek to Thomson that, "I have heard sung, nineteen thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-nine times, and always with the chorus to the low part of the tune; and nothing, since a Highland wench in the Cowgate once bore me three bastards at birth, had surprised me so much as your opinion on this subject".
Regardless of the dispute between the two, the song is a powerful example of Burns’s ability to blend together both Scots and English language in his work.