Well, it's from the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill, who lived from 1774 to 1810... Robert Tannahill was a weaver, from the town of Paisley, near Glasgow. The band originated in Paisley, and since weaving was at one time a main industry of the area, the guys thought, hmmm... Robert Tannahill... weaving... Tannahill... hmmm......................
A little further information about Robert Tannahill for you here, since in our opinion he didn't really get the attention he deserved for his poetry and songs (having the bad luck to be a contemporary of Robert Burns who got all the attention and all the girls!) According to
J.W. Tannehill, of Pasedena, California (to whom I
apologize for the necessary editing):
Robert Tannahill was born in 1774, and became a lyrical poet of superior order, whose songs rival all but Burns' best in popularity. He was a native of Paisley, born in a weavers cottage on Castle Street, now marked by a plaque. His education was limited but he was a diligent reader and student. He was early sent to the loom, being apprenticed at the age of twelve and a half, and weaving being the staple trade of Paisley. But he longed to be a poet,
modeling his own work on the then contemporary work of Burns. He achieved a certain amount of popular success with his poems and songs, but continued to follow his occupation [weaving] in his native village until his 26th year, when he [went] to Lancashire. There he remained two years till the declining state of his father's health induced him to return home.
Whilst delighting all classes of his country men with his native songs, the poet fell into a state of morbid despondency, aggravated by bodily weakness and a tendency to consumption. He had prepared a new edition of his poems for the press and sent the manuscript to Mr. Constable, the publisher, but it was returned by that gentleman in consequence of his having more new works on hand than he could undertake that season. This disappointment preyed on the spirits of the sensitive poet and his melancholy became deep and habitual.
He burned his manuscripts and sunk into a state of mental [despondency]. Returning from a visit ... on the 17th of May, 1810, the unhappy poet retired to rest; but suspicion having been excited, in about an hour afterward, it was discovered that he had stolen out unperceived. Search was made in every direction and by the dawn of the morning, the coat of the poet was discovered lying at the side of a neighboring stream, pointing out to surely where his body was to be found.
His lamentable death arose from no want of irregularity, but was solely caused by that morbid disease of the mind which at last overthrew his reason.