Logan Water
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

The air to Logan Water is said to be of "considerable antiquity."** One of the earliest printed sources is a manuscript book dated 1709.* Over the years it was set to several different lyrics. It was also set in several different keys. This arrangement, from 1856, is noted to be "as it appears in older sets, and as it agrees with the true old Scottish tonalities."**

In 1725 the poet James Thomson adapted a set of lyrics to the tune. Thomson's verses were printed in Orpheus Caledonius that year.* These words were written by John Mayne (1759-1836) in 1781 and appeared in the Star newspaper on May 23, 1789. Mayne was from Dumfries and was apprenticed to a Glasgow printer before going to London where he was associated with the Star.**

In 1793, Robert Burns wrote lyrics for the tune, borrowing two lines from this version.

This version was also known as Logan Braes. It was printed on an undated broadside which can be found at the Broadside Ballads Online.

Logan Water is a river that begins in the hills of South-west Scotland, between the parishes of Lesmahagow and Muirkirk. It flows into the Nethan River, which flows into the Clyde.

By Logan's streams, that rin sae deep,
Fu' aft wi' glee I've herded sheep;
Herded sheep, or gather'd siaes,
Wi' my dear lad on Logan braes.
But waes my heart! Thae days are gane,
And, fu' o' grief, I herd my lane,
While my dear lad maun face his faes,
Far, far frae me and Logan braes.

Nae mair, at Logan kirk, will he
Atween the preachings, meet wi' me-
Meet wi' me, or, when it's mirk,
Convey me hame frae Logan kirk.
I weel may sing, thae days are gane;
Frae kirk and fair I come alane,
While my dear lad maun face his faes,
Far, far frae me and Logan braes.

At e'en, when hope amaist is gane,
I daunder dowie an' forlane,
Or sit beneath the trystin'-tree,
Where first he spak' o' love to me.
O! could I see thae days again,
My lover skaithless, an' my ain;
Rever'd by friends, an' far frae faes,
We'd live in bliss on Logan braes!

Related Links
From *The Scots Musical Museum and
**The Songs of Scotland (George Farquhar Graham)
See Bibliography for full information.