Cock Up Your Beaver

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Various types of beaver hats

"Cock Up Your Beaver" is a song and poem by Robert Burns, written in 1792.[1]

It was based on an older song, published as "Johnny, cock up thy Beaver". It is widely claimed that this is found in "The Dancing-Master", a collection of folk tunes published by John Playford of London in 1657.[2] However, this is disputed by Scottish music scholar John Glen who states it first appears in the 1686 edition of "The Dancing Master"[3]

It was published in an 1821 compilation by James Hogg, with four verses and musical notation of a tune.[4]

It is written in Scottish dialect; the beaver refers to a kind of hat.

The original version was English, and ridiculed Scotsmen who settled in London after the accession of James VI. to the throne of England,[5] possibly satirizing the costumes of highland chiefs entering the lowlands. [6]

The song, hand-written by Burns, is in the Johnson's Museum.[2]


  1. ^ Iain Macdonald. "BBC - Robert Burns Works - Cock Up Your Beaver". Retrieved 2009-08-24. 
  2. ^ a b James Johnson, Robert Burns, Stephen Clarke, William Stenhouse, David Laing, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe (1853), The Scots Musical Museum: Consisting of upwards of six hundred songs, with proper basses for the pianoforte (Vol. 4) (New ed.), The Scots Musical Museum, p. 301, 
  3. ^ Early Scottish melodies: including examples from mss. and early printed Works by John Glen p. 160
  4. ^ James Hogg (1821), The Jacobite relics of Scotland: being the songs, airs, and legends, of the adherents to the house of Stuart, 2, W. Blackwood, pp. 127, 128, 
  5. ^ Robert Burns, Robert Chambers, William Wallace (1896), Robert Chambers, William Wallace, ed., The life and works of Robert Burns, 4, Longmans, Green, p. 342 
  6. ^ Allan Cunningham (1825), The songs of Scotland, ancient and modern; with an intr. and notes, 

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