More about this song
This version by Burns of an earlier song appears in the 1796 edition of Scots Musical Museum. Burns mildly alters the initial opening lyrics; the source from David Herd's collection Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs reads:
I wish that you were dead, goodman,
And a green sod on your head, goodman,
That I might ware my widowhead
Upon a ranting highlandman.
However, it is Burns' own addition of the cuckold's horns motif in the third stanza which brings out the subtle but pointed humour by the lyrical persona, who baldly sings of her preference for another. But just in case her gudeman doesn't get the point, she lists the various ways she'll short-change his meals!