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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Within a Mile of Edinburgh Town

A song needs more than a Scottish-sounding title to be part of traditional Scottish music.

Robert Chambers says this song 'is a noted example of those composed by English wits in imitation of the Scots Manner, and which were, with little discrimination, accepted as Scots songs in Scotland itself. It is wholly of English origin; the verses by Thomas D’Urfey, and the air by Mr James Hook.'

[The Songs Of Scotland Prior To Burns (Robert Chambers, 1890)]

It begins:

‘Twas within a mile of Edinburgh town
In the rosy time of the year
Sweet flowers bloom’d, and the grass was down
And each shepherd woo’d his dear

Bonnie Jockey, blithe and gay
Kiss’d sweet Jenny, making hay
The lassie blush’d, and frowning cried, ‘No, no, it will not do
I cannot, cannot, wonnot, wonnot, mannot buckle to’