Sunday, March 20, 2011

Original lyrics of the song Loch Lomond

Shortly after I wrote my article about Kelvingrove I was at a concert where someone sung the version of Loch Lomond collected by Matt McGinn which, although it may not be the original words, is probably the closest we are going to get. Note that the protagonist will be in "heaven" before you, not "Scotland". The song seems to be about the lover of a Jacobite soldier who is being taken south for execution (possibly to Carlisle).  Here are the words:

Whither away, my bonnie, bonnie May
So late and so far in the gloamin'
The mist gathers grey o'er muirland and brae
Oh! whither alane art thou roamin'

I trysted my ain love the night in the broom
My Ranald wha loves me sae dearly
For the morrow he marches for Edinburgh toon
To fecht for the King and Prince Chairlie

Yet, why weep you sae, my bonnie, bonnie May
Your true love from battle returning
His darling will claim at the height o' his fame
And change into gladness her mourning

Oh! weel may I weep - yestreen in my sleep
We stood bride and bridegroom thegither
But his lips and his breath were as chilly as death
And his heart's bluid was red on the heather

Oh, dauntless in battle as tender in love
He'd yield ne'er a foot to the foeman
And never again frae the field o' the slain
To Moira he'll come and Loch Lomond

He'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low
And I'll be in Heaven afore him
For my bed is prepared in yon mossy graveyard
'Mang the hazels o' green Inverarnan

The thistle shall bloom, and the King hae his ain
And fond lovers meet in the gloamin'
But I and my true love will yet meet again
By the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond

Here is a video of it being sung by Alistair Ogilvy:

2 comments:

  1. The origin of the tune is a bit obscure. It appears in Scots Minstrelsy with the words "Kind Robin Lo'es Me":

    http://www.electricscotland.com/music/minstrelsie/vol6p400.jpg

    Those word are from the herd collection dated 1776 but the Loch Lomond words could be older. Kind Robin Lo'es Me does not really fit the tune so maybe it was matched up with the tune which already existed for Loch Lomond?

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