Scotland's Burning

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A drinking fountain next to the Monument to the Great Fire of London, showing the song's words

"Scotland's Burning" (Also known as in England "London's Burning"), are variants of a song and nursery rhyme popular with children.


The song can be sung as a round when each part starts two bars after the previous one. It may be an example of a nursery rhyme with tragic or violent themes. The London lyrics are said to be about Great Fire of London, a five-day fire in the city of London in 1666.[1] The first notation of a round in this theme dates from 1580.[2] The Scotland lyrics are said to be about the Burning of Edinburgh in 1544, ordered by Henry VIII of England.[3]

The lyrics are mentioned in William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, scene 1, when Grumio asks Curtis to prepare a warm fire for guests.[4]

In the Netherlands the song is known as "Brand in Mokum" ("Fire in Amsterdam")[5][better source needed], which is said to refer to the Amsterdam revolt against Napoleon in 1813.[3]

Musical scores[edit]


  1. ^ a b Margaret Read MacDonald & Winifred Jaeger (2006). The Round Book: Rounds Kids Love to Sing, p.73. August House. ISBN 9780874837865.
  2. ^ a b Lindahl, Greg. "Scotland, It Burneth", Ravenscroft Songbook. Cites Vlasto, Jill. "An Elizabethan Anthology of Rounds", Musical Quarterly XL (1954) 222–234. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b Bert van Zantwijk, Brand in Mokum (2016)
  4. ^ (1902). "Music of Shakspere's Time", Lippincott's Monthly Magazine: A Popular Journal of General Literature, Volume 69, p.243-4. J.B. Lippincott. pre-ISBN.
  5. ^ Dutch Wikipedia, Brand in Mokum
  6. ^ Mason, Lowell (1837). Parley's Magazine, Volume 5, p.191.
  7. ^ Kaye Pottie, Vernon Ellis, Kathy Kaulbach (1992). Folksongs of the Maritimes: From the Collections of Helen Creighton and Other Distinguished Maritime Folklorists, p.12. Formac. ISBN 9780887802003.
  8. ^ Newman Ivey White, Jan Philip Schinhan; eds. (1977). The Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore: Vol. V: The Music of the Folk Songs, p.115. Duke University. ISBN 9780822382850.

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