'As I walk'd by mysel': A Burns Autograph Manuscript and the Problem of Attribution

Document Type


Subject Area(s)

Scottish literature


Describes and illustrates Robert Burns's autograph manuscript of the song "As I walk'd by mysel'" (Kinsley 686), reviews the issues and problems in attributing manuscript songs to Burns, traces the provenance of the unique manuscript, and compares the Burns version to that published by David Herd's Antient and Modern Scotish Songs (1776 etc.), concluding that the manuscript was sent by Burns to James Johnson for possible inclusion in the Scots Musical Museum, and that, while the song is not original with Burns, he may have tinkered with specific phrases to improve it.