As a pure poet, Robert Burns had neither the time nor the desire for other literary forms. For The Scots Musical Museum, edited by James Johnson between 1787 and 1803, he wrote “Notes on Scottish Song,” wherein he tried to collect all the information he could about the poetic tradition of his native land. He suggested possibilities for authorship, identified the poems’ native regions and the occasions of their composition, cited fragments and verses of traditional songs, and set forth critical comments and engaging anecdotes.
Following the publication and success of the 1786 edition of his Poems, Burns set off on a series of trips that carried him over much of Scotland. Narratives of two of those journeys, Journal of a Tour in the Highlands Made in 1787 and Journal of the Border Tour, eventually found their way into print in 1834.