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Origins: Loch Lomond

DigiTrad:
LOCH LOMOND
LOCH LOMOND 2
LOCH LOMOND 3
LOCH LOMOND 4


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Loch Lomond - in Irish (12)
Info Req: Loch Lomond/You Take the High Road (45)
Origins: looking for origins of Loch Lomond (10) (closed)
Origin: Loch Lomond (from The Corries) (6) (closed)
(origins) Loch Lomond/Red is the Rose (8)
OTHER Loch Lomond Songs ? (15)
Lyr Req: You take the high road & I'll take the lo (24) (closed)
Lyr Req: Wedding McPhees of Loch Lomond (5)
Lyr Add: The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond (6) (closed)
(origins) Origin: Loch Lomond variants? (5)
Tune Req: Loch Lomond + The Minstrel Boy (3) (closed)


11 Sep 97 - 08:35 PM
Bruce 11 Sep 97 - 08:49 PM
Shula 11 Sep 97 - 09:19 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 11 Sep 97 - 09:34 PM
Jerry Friedman 11 Sep 97 - 10:12 PM
Shula 11 Sep 97 - 10:13 PM
Shula 11 Sep 97 - 10:25 PM
dick greenhaus 11 Sep 97 - 11:10 PM
Bruce 12 Sep 97 - 02:31 AM
Shula 12 Sep 97 - 03:18 AM
Frank in the swamps 12 Sep 97 - 07:17 AM
Shula 12 Sep 97 - 08:08 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 12 Sep 97 - 05:37 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 12 Sep 97 - 05:38 PM
Bruce 14 Sep 97 - 06:14 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 16 Sep 97 - 02:16 PM
Bruce 16 Sep 97 - 05:59 PM
Alan of Australia 16 Sep 97 - 06:34 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 17 Sep 97 - 05:41 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 17 Sep 97 - 05:49 PM
Murray 24 Sep 97 - 01:57 AM
23 Jun 99 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Joe in Ohio 19 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM
GUEST 29 Mar 03 - 04:27 PM
sheila 29 Mar 03 - 05:00 PM
GUEST,BRIANFLYINGSCOTSMAN69@HOTMAIL.COM 15 Jul 03 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,BRIANFLYINGSCOTSMAN69@HOTMAIL.COM 15 Jul 03 - 11:49 AM
GUEST 15 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM
Teribus 16 Jul 03 - 08:08 AM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Jul 03 - 07:49 PM
Reiver 2 05 Oct 03 - 06:36 PM
Malcolm Douglas 05 Oct 03 - 07:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Oct 03 - 08:38 PM
Joybell 05 Oct 03 - 09:03 PM
GUEST,fayasas@dakotacom.net 26 Feb 04 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,MMario 27 Feb 04 - 08:40 AM
goodbar 03 Jan 05 - 11:00 PM
Jim McLean 04 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM
goodbar 04 Jan 05 - 09:42 PM
GUEST,Sheila 01 Mar 08 - 11:19 AM
meself 01 Mar 08 - 12:28 PM
Tootler 01 Mar 08 - 01:02 PM
meself 01 Mar 08 - 01:29 PM
meself 01 Mar 08 - 01:34 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Mar 08 - 07:56 PM
GUEST,Jim I 03 Mar 08 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,Gordon McDonald 13 May 10 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,leeneia 13 May 10 - 01:43 PM
Amos 29 Jan 11 - 01:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM
Taconicus 29 Jan 11 - 06:46 PM
Amos 29 Jan 11 - 10:40 PM
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Subject: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From:
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 08:35 PM

This is the version in the DT:

The wee birdies sing, and the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping,
But the broken heart will ken nae second spring again,'
Though the waefu' may cease fae their greeting

This is the version my half-Scots maternal grandfather taught me:

The wee birdies sing, and the wild roses spring,
And thro’ sunlight the waters are sievin’;
But th’ puir heart wi’ ken nae Hieland flow’r again,
Though the waefu' may cease fra' their grievin’.

Ordinarily, I'd assume that the DT was likely to have a more reliable version than mine, but I can't make sense of "the woeful may cease from their GREETING." Also, though imperfect rhymes are common enough in similar works, "sleeping/greeting," strikes my ear as a peculiarly infelicitous combination.

Bruce, Dick, Jon, Peter -- has anyone else seen a version similar to the one I learned, or should I assume that my grandfather, a concert pianist and professor of music, as well as a proud Scot, was in error?

In fear of disillusionment,

Shula


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Bruce
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 08:49 PM

If its Scots ask Murray, he has few peers.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Shula
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 09:19 PM

Murray, me darlin,' mightn't ye hae a wee glance?

Obliged,

Shula


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOCH LOMOND
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 09:34 PM

By coincidence, someone posted the lyrics on the Scots Music mailing list, to which I of course subscribe.

The lyrics follow, with his explanation at the beginning. Someone else posted a historical explanation of the song, if anyone is interested.

Regards,

Tim

The Corries recorded a version of it which has more verses than I've heard anywhere else. I think I heard it on their Silver Collection album. I can confirm for Kate that it is most certainly a lament - it is sung by a woman whose sweetheart has just gone off to battle (I think on Bonny Prince Charlie's behalf); she remembers their parting, and (in the Corries' version) has a dream of their wedding, but she's marrying a dead man.

Here's the words (taken from http://www.epix.net/~lesley/folk.html with the one extra verse I can remember inserted in the middle.

LOCH LOMOND

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Oh we twa ha'e pass'd sae mony blithesome days,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

CHORUS:
Oh ye'll tak' the high road and I'll tak' the low road,
An' I'll be in Scotland before ye',
But wae is my heart until we meet again
On the Bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

I mind where we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomon'
Where in purple hue the highland hills we view
And the morn shines out frae the gloamin'

Chorus

[The extra Corries verse I can remember:]
An' weel may I weep for yestreen in my sleep
We stood bride and bridegroom together,
But his face and his breath were as cold as the death,
And his heart's blood ran red in the heather.

Chorus

[Back to the standard version:]
The wee bird may sing an' the wild flowers spring;
An' in sunshine the waters are sleepin'
But the broken heart it sees nae second spring,
And the world does na ken how we're greetin'.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 10:12 PM

"Greet" is Scots for "cry".

So the story I learned is all wrong? I'd read that you're supposed to think of this as sung by one Scottish POW to another (they were taken captive in a Jacobite rebellion, natch) and the singer is the one condemned to death. He's reminiscing about his sweetheart, etc. He says, "Ye'll tak the high road and I'll tak the low road" because his cellmate will be released and will return home by road, but the singer will only return as a spirit by the fairies' road.

(I saw this in Bimboes of the Death Sun, an award-winning mystery novel by Sharyn McCrumb. McCrumb has written other mysteries of interest to folkies, such as If Ever I Return, Pretty Peggy-O<\it>.)


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Shula
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 10:13 PM

Thanks very much, Tim, especially for the Scots web resource. This, does seem closer to the one in the DT, but I can't quite make the third line scan. Are there a couple of syllables missing? Thanks again.

Shula

P.S. Any luck on the "Londonderry Air" Anglican lyrics?


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Shula
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 10:25 PM

Thanks for the gloss on "greet," Jerry; glad to make better sense of it.

Shula


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Sep 97 - 11:10 PM

Pleas, please, please--- DON'T consider the DT as anything of an authority. Our lyrics are those supplied by people like you, and edited by people like me, to the best of our imperfect abilities. The only thing that keeps us honest is the collective scrutiny of thousands of proofreaders (y'all!).


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Bruce
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 02:31 AM

'Londonderry Air'. I trust you are familiar with the short but interesting history of the tune in Huntington and Herrmann's 'Sam Henry's Songs of the People', p. 286.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Shula
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 03:18 AM

Wish I were. Since "Londonderry Air" has appeared in several threads of late, might you find it in your heart, Bruce, to share its "short, but interesting history"? Bye the bye, d'y' have any other versions of L.L., verse 4, (she asked, wistfully)?

Thank you,

Shula


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 07:17 AM

Shula,

As to the infelicitous combination, the Scots pronunciation would be more "sleep'n/greet'n" with a soft T and a VERY soft P. The combination is, to my ears at least, sweeter than "sleeping/weeping."

Still cursing the darkness,

Frank.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Shula
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 08:08 AM

Dear Frank : (she said, greetin' the morn), Yes, I can hear that now with a kindlier ear. I do love a good Scots brogue when fortunate enough to hear one. Thanks for the elucidation.

Shula


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOCH LOMOND
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 05:37 PM

Yes, your grandfather's version is as good as anyone's. I am often accused of altering folk songs to suit my own taste, but then again so have many before me or else we wouldn't have all of these variables.

I haven't spoken to my brother-in-law yet about the Anglican hymn sung to Londonderry Air, assuming that it is the same as Oh Danny Boy. Maybe I'll pop into a church and look through the hymnal:)

OK, from the Scots Mailing list, here is:
1. Lyrics, which I had never seen before.
2. History.

I cannot tell who posted what as I got it from the monthly digest, and one person appears to be replying to another.

(BTW, if this is too big a post for the Discussion Forum will someone in authority advise me and I will be a better boy in the future? I think though it's all relevant to the thread)

There's a lovely story associated with the song, and I believe it to be the true origin of the "Loch Lomond" and "High Road" songs, of which there are several variants. I admit that I don't have detailed documentation for the story, however, and I'm writing it from memory, too. Caveat emptor, and all.
:-)

The Jacobite Rebellion came to an end with the Jacobites disastrous loss at the Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746. After the battle, many of the captured Scottish soldiers were taken by the English to Carlisle, where they were imprisoned at Carlisle Castle. The English treated the Scotsmen rather capriciously, selecting some -- apparently at random -- to be hanged. Others, also seemingly chosen at random, were simply released, and told to walk home, over the roads, to Scotland.

One of the captured Scottish soldiers was Donald MacDonald. He felt sure that he would be one of those hanged by the English, and he wrote this song. One can suppose it was meant as a memorial, a message of hope for his fellow Scotsmen, and a last love letter to his beloved Moira, who lived back in the Scottish highlands, near Loch Lomond.

The song is written to be sung not by Donald, but by Moira. It tells of the journey of Donald's spirit after his death. He returns to Scotland not by the high road -- the ordinary road over which his countrymen are walking home -- but by the low road of death, a much faster and surer route. Donald's spirit visits Moira and makes love to her one last time. But she can tell that he is gone, and that she will not see him again, in this life.

This is not the version most people sing, it starts off
"By Yon Bonnie Banks and By Yon Bonnie Braes"...

LOCH LOMOND

O whither away my bonnie May
Sae late and sae dark in the gloamin?
The mist gathers gray oer moorland and brae.
O whither sae far are ye roamin?

O, yell tak the high road and Ill tak the low.
Ill be in Scotland afore ye.
For me and my true love will never meet again
By the bonnie, bonnie banks o Loch Lomond.

I trusted my ain love last night in the broom,
My Donald wha loves me sae dearly.
For the morrow he will march for Edinburgh toon,
Tae fecht for his king and Prince Charlie.

O, weel may I weep for yestreen in my sleep.
We lay bride and bridegroom together.
But his touch and his breath were cold as the death,
And his hairtsblood ran red in the heather.

(Chorus)

As dauntless in battle as tender in love,
Hed yield neer a foot tae the foeman.
But never again frae the fields o the slain
Tae his Moira will he come by Loch Lomond.

The thistle may bloom, the king hae his ain,
And fond lovers will meet in the gloamin.
And me and my true love will yet meet again
Far above the bonnie banks o Loch Lomond.

(Chorus)

I'm still interested in finding out more about this Donald MacDonald (that was the subject of my original posting in this thread). If anyone can point me to likely sources, I would appreciate it.

It appears that this version of Loch Lomond was written by Donald McDonnell of Clan Keppoch.

The popular Loch Lomond tune is also shared by the Irish song "Yellow is the rose"


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 12 Sep 97 - 05:38 PM

Variants, I meant.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Bruce
Date: 14 Sep 97 - 06:14 PM

I have a 3 verse version of "Loch Lomond" in 'Heart Songs', 1909. Can someone point out any earlier copy of the song? It is not in James Hogg's 'Jacobite Relics', either of the two works by Robert Chambers, or in Graham's 3 volumes of 'The Songs of Scotland", nor can I find a copy in the 6 volumes (7th just published) of 'The Greig-Duncan Folksong Collection'. [I have seen many other Scots songbooks of 1750-1825 without finding the song.]


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 16 Sep 97 - 02:16 PM

I posted Bruce's question on the Scots Music mailing list, and the only reply I got was from Kate Dunlay, who is associated with the group Puirt A Baroque.

Quote follows:

Well, I'm not totally convinced about all of the following, but David Johnson wrote that some anonmymous composer simplified the two-strain melody "Of A' the Airts the Wind Can Blaw" (which is Robert Burns' song to William Marshall's "Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey") in the mid-19th century and came up with the song, "The Bonny Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond." He also gives an earlier song, "The Lowlands of Holland" which has only the first strain of the tune. But George Emmerson says it is a set of the old air "Kind Robin." As to when it first appears as "Loch Lomond" I am no help. It is not in Nathaniel Cooke (1854) or Pittman, Brown, MacKay (1877) either.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Bruce
Date: 16 Sep 97 - 05:59 PM

Thanks Tim, and please pass on my thanks to Kate Dunlay.

"Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathespey" is given and Burns' song is mentioned, but there is no mention of "Lowlands of Holland" or "Loch Lomond" in David Johnson's 'Scottish Fiddle Music of the 18th Century' 2nd. ed. 1997. I don't know what might have been in the 1984 edition, and there is an earlier book by him that I don't have. "Low lands of Holland" here is that for the Child ballad in 'The Scots Musical Museum', #115. [An earlier tune of this title is DT LOWHOLL3, evidently descended from "My love she wins not her away" in the Skene MS.] Opinion is divided as to whether "Low Lands" was derived from Marshall's tune, or vice versa. Emmerson adds the "Loch Lomond" is the best known Scots song after "Auld Lang Syne", but says nothing about where it came from. Following, we have yet another older version claimed for the tune, a reference for the song, and a critique on the singing of it.

A short quote from John Purser's 'Scotland's Music', p. 156, 1992:

'The return of the Jacobite army from Derby via Carlisle is commemorated in the internationally famous song "Loch Lomond". The tune is a variant of "The Bonnie Hoose o' Ailie", the words relatively modern *(ref. below) It certainly has no place in the mid-eighteenth century and in any case scarcely anybody knows how to sing it. It has had heaped upon its head more appalling and ignorant performances than any song has a right to bear. Its subject-matter is one of bitter and ironic tragedy. The Jacobite soldier awaiting execution claims he will reach Scotland before his companion as his spirit will get there first by the low road. This is usually rendered by singers and arrangers with an inane chirpiness more suited to selling washing-up liquid.....'
'There is no popular ballad commemorating Culloden. It was too horrific.'

*'The Poets and Poetry of Scotland', Vol. I, James Grant Wilson(ed.), Blackie, London, 1876, pp. 100-101.

PS: How does one get on the Scots Music list?


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 16 Sep 97 - 06:34 PM

Tim,
Re your mention of "Yellow is the Rose" do you mean "Red is the Rose"? This is a well known Irish song to the Loch Lomond tune.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 17 Sep 97 - 05:41 PM

1. I don't mean anything. As I said, the quote was from a discussion on the Scots Music list and I make no warranties as to the accuracy of anything. I got it off the Digest so I don't know who posted what. I have never heard of this Irish song under either title. I suppose that one could alter it depending upon one's taste in roses:)

2. I no longer have the FAQ for either the Scots music list or the Cape Breton music list. Unfortunately unlike most lists the subscribe/unsubscribe information is not at the bottom of the posts. Try a Liszt search -- if you can't find the subscribe information e-mail me personally and I will seek the information from the listmaster.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 17 Sep 97 - 05:49 PM

I should also have said that I know a Newfoundland version of the Lowlands of Holland, and it doesn't sound remotely like Loch Lomond. At least to my ear.

A' the Airts the Wind Can Blaw I know as the air to which that Burns song is sung (although I can't remember the words). It is also the tune to the sad Ontario folk song "Scarborough Settler's Lament", written by a Scottish settler outside of Toronto about 1840. While it is a lovely air and song, (a less "Scots" version is done by Stan Rogers on "For the Family"; I am aware of no recording in proper Scots) I can't see any resemblance to Loch Lomond.

Can Loch Lomond be a music hall song?


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Murray
Date: 24 Sep 97 - 01:57 AM

Hi--sorry to seem boorish, but I haven't been ignoring you all. My PC went wonky and has just been resuscitated--and besides, this is my *fourth* try to get the message through. Points in the above exchange: Shula, a chara! yes, your grandfather's version is just as good as any other--filtered through his memory, mind. "Sievin" [pronounced to rhyme] is a good Scots word, meaning here something like "seeping through", [Any other differs in your text? You've got a real folk-song there!] The Corries' version Tim passes on is pretty much the same as that in The Songs of Scotland, edited by Myles B. Foster (circa 1878), which is actually volume 2 of the book mentioned by Kate Dunlay as Pittman, Brown & MacKay. The "extra verse" belongs to the other version from the Scots mailing list, from Lady John Scott, picked up [she said] in the streets of Edinburgh, but pretty obviously written [or rewritten] by herself. This gives names to the characters and so sets the scene for the legend. Robert Ford (Vagabond Songs I, 1899) has it, along with the usual one, "sung on the streets about sixty years ago"--which is also in John Greig's Scots Minstrelsie, MacLeod & Boltonj's Songs of the North, etc. Ford has another 2-verse fragment, "We'll meet where we parted in bonnie Luss glen" etc, likewise in his book Song Histories (1900), which latter has yet another version "recently issued", with a differ in the chorus and 4 stanzas interpolated--a sad production, making the story even more Jacobite. As to the tune: the "Lowlands" tune has little to do with it, nor is The Bonnie House o' Airlie too relevant, I think. Gavin Greig's Folk-Songs of the North-East, article xci, notes some resemblance to "Kind Robin Loes Me" (whence Emmerson's statement), and "The Bonniest Lass in a' the Warld", but finds more likeness to that associated with the Northumbrian ballad "Parcy Reed", found in 18th c. collections as "Hey, sae green as the rashes grow" and "Laird Trowend". [Emmerson, BTW, is not a perfect guide! His Rantin' Pipe book is full of misprints!!] Also, compare the chorus with the opening of the ballad "Gight's Lady", a.k.a. Geordie, in one of Christie's versions (Trad. Ballads II.44), Child 209H:

Will ye go to the Hielans, my bonny lad? Will ye go to the Hielans, Geordie? Though ye tak the high road and I tak the low, I will be in the Hielans afore ye.

That ballad, note, is all about an execution, so there MAY be some connection to be made.

Cheers Murray


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From:
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 06:13 PM


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: GUEST,Joe in Ohio
Date: 19 Apr 02 - 06:01 PM

Shula (et al.)--

The line in your grandfather's version is such a brilliant piece of poetry, that the sunlight were a physical seive and the water passing through it, and that while the singer knows the highlands will bloom again he will not again know a highland flower.

I started researching the lyrics after listening to a few renditions of the song becuase I remember in grade school singing the last line as "will one day meet again", completely stripped of its other contexts. Of course, I found many different versions (some clearly inferior, I might add). This page has been particularly helpful and interesting by bringing so many people and sources together.

The recording that prompted me was by Chanticleer (a virtuouso acapella vocal ensemble). Very slow, very sad -- moreso for their attentive pronunciation (since they aren't all Scots). album reference: http://www.freedb.org/freedb_search_fmt.php?cat=classical&id=5a113e17

Your grandfather's is now my "official" version. Thanks. --joe ohiocore <> @columbus.rr.com


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 03 - 04:27 PM

can any-one tell us how to pronounce lomond correctly, is it with a d or without.....


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: sheila
Date: 29 Mar 03 - 05:00 PM

I've always pronounced it with the 'd'. (Yes, I AM a Scot.)


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Subject: To Shula - Meaning of old Scots "greeting"
From: GUEST,BRIANFLYINGSCOTSMAN69@HOTMAIL.COM
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 11:26 AM

15/07/03
Dear Shula,
          I thought i would help with your question regarding the old Scots "greeting". It's actually "greetin" and it means to woefully lament, to cry.
Hoping this helps with your disillusionment.

                                          Yours faithfully,
                                          Brian.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, alternate version
From: GUEST,BRIANFLYINGSCOTSMAN69@HOTMAIL.COM
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 11:49 AM

15/07/03

To whom it may concern:-
                      The version that i have been singing to myself varies slightly...

             ...You tak the high road and ill tak the low road
                And ill be in Scotland afore ye.
                For me and my true love will ne'er meet again,
                On the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

It is a girl lamenting the loss of her lover in war. He's taking the stairway to Heaven and as a result they'll ne'er meet in this life again.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOCH LOMOND
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jul 03 - 01:16 PM

I had the pleasure of hearing the Duncan McCrone band performing this version of Loch Lomond at the Matt McGinn Tribute Concert / Awards Ceremony recently. I got out the LP that Duncan McCrone must have taken the words from and it is hard to make out all the words, so I have used Tim Jacques' version above as the basis and changed some of the words.

Apparently, Matt McGinn had found this version in an old songbook, but I don't know anymore than that. It is on the Tinny Can on My Tail LP.

At the concert, Shane McGowan also sang it with the Duncan McCrone band.

LOCH LOMOND

Whither away my bonnie, bonnie May,
Sae late and sae far in the gloamin.
The mist gathers grey o'er mureland and brae,
O whither ???? A-LING AT THE ??? roamin

I tristed my ain love the night in the broom,
My Ronald wha loves me sae dearly.
For the morrow he marches for Edinburgh toon,
Tae fecht for the King and Prince Cherlie.

Yet why weep ye say, my bonnie bonnie May,
Yer truelove from returning,
His darling will claim,
At the height o his fame,
And change into gladness or mourning.

O, weel may I weep, yestreen in my sleep,
We stood bride and bridegroom the-gether.
But his lips and his breath were as chilly as death,
And his heart's blood 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 graveyeard
Mind the hazels o' green INVERARNEN??

The thistle shall bloom, and the king hae his ain,
And fond lovers meet in the gloamin.
But I and my true love shall never meet again
By the bonnie, bonnie banks o Loch Lomond.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Teribus
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 08:08 AM

Tim Jaques,

From your post above:

"The Jacobite Rebellion came to an end with the Jacobites disastrous loss at the Battle of Culloden, April 16, 1746. After the battle, many of the captured Scottish soldiers were taken by the English to Carlisle, where they were imprisoned at Carlisle Castle. The English treated the Scotsmen rather capriciously, selecting some -- apparently at random -- to be hanged."

Some points you should note purely for historical accuracy:

1. It was a Jacobite Rebellion, as you stated, there were English as well as Scottish supporters of the Jacobite cause.

2. The rebellion was just that. Jacobite Rebels v Government of the United Kingdoms of England and Scotland, it most definitely was not a Scots v English confrontation. Cumberland's Army at Culloden included a number of Scottish Regiments.

3. The Government of the day may have treated Jacobite prisoners capriciously - The English did not.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Jul 03 - 07:49 PM

Although Tim's point was made nearly six years ago, there is no harm in correcting his misapprehension; it is a common one. Provided, that is, anyone who posts further messages to this thread notes the time-lapse. It is true, however, that someone who doesn't understand the background might read as capricious the use of what amounted to a lottery system to determine the allocation of punishments to people convicted of treason. The intention was to ensure that, while examples were made, not too many people were actually executed.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Reiver 2
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 06:36 PM

Some time ago I heard or read the "story behind" the song Loch Lomond, but I'd forgotten most of it. I've been hunting for it, and finally got around to searching this thread.

The story I heard was similar to that posted by Tim Jaques early in this thread and it brought back some of my memory. The part about Scots highlanders in prison after Culloden and the part about one about to die fits with the story I'd read. The difference is that in the story I'd come across, it's about two brothers. One is to be released and the other learns that he will hang. He writes the verse, for his brother on the eve of his brother's release, telling him,"Ye'll tak the high road and I'll tak the low road, but I'll be in Scotland before ye." The meaning of that is as given in Tim's version. The brother to be released will take the overland road (high road) but the one about to die will take the spirit road (low road). The spirit of the latter will actually reach Scotland first. (This would suggest that they were in a prison in England. As I remember from reading John Prebble's "Culloden" many of the prisoners were taken to England, before being hanged, transported or reprieved.) What I'd like to know is how much of any these "stories" about the origin of Loch Lomond is true, or were they all made up after the fact? Has anyone else come across the story as I've described it?

Reiver 2


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 07:40 PM

Every single one was made up after the fact; long after. A great deal of nonsense is talked about this song, as anyone who reads the whole of this thread (and the numerous others on the same subject) will perhaps see.

Generally, those who were involved in what we might now describe as a failed military coup were imprisoned in England because that is where they were caught. It's true that in some cases there was some uncertainty about legal jurisdiction (Scotland and England having then, as always, separate systems). Those who were tried (for treason, as would be the case today in most countries) were, so far as I know, tried in the country where they were apprehended, and according to that country's normal legal procedures.

As has been said already, this was not a conflict between Scotland and England. It was a conflict between political and religious factions present in both countries. It failed because the majority of the populations of both countries did not support it.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 08:38 PM

The actual history of an event is soon forgotten or ignored, and various fictions take the place of truth. Or is it just that the tale improves with the telling?

I would guess that at this website, the ratio of fiction to fact in posts about "traditional" songs is about even.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Oct 03 - 09:03 PM

This is a bit of a diversion but since Danny Boy and POW's appear together way up in this thread and fact and fiction are part of the discussion here it is. I once had a resident singing job where I went from table to table and did requests. People always had bits and pieces of information for me about the songs I sang and amazing things I was told too! A lady assured me that Danny Boy was actually about an incident in WW2! "Not at all an old song from the turn of the century then?" says I straight-faced. "No" says she "It's about a German soldier talking to an English soldier in the trenches. One of them is called Danny" So there you go.


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: GUEST,fayasas@dakotacom.net
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 07:22 PM

Such a fascinating subject! I've collected folk songs all my life, but this is the first time I have run into this much information about Loch Lomond. Quite a few of my ancestros were Scots and I think one of my favorite songs is called "The Wee Cooper o' Fife", Anybody out there know it? Anyway, thanks for allowing me to hear all the pro and con about a very lovely song. Virginia Benderly


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Subject: RE: LYR. ?, Loch Lomond, verse 4
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 08:40 AM

virginia - Wee Cooper of Fife can be found in the Digital tradition. Click on this link for the entry


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Subject: Chord Req: loch lomond
From: goodbar
Date: 03 Jan 05 - 11:00 PM

i know some of you know this one. :)


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: loch lomond
From: Jim McLean
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 01:51 PM

In G major:
By (G)yon bonnie banks and by (C) yon bonnie (d7) braes,
where the (G) sun shines (Em) bright on Loch (C) Lo (G) mond;
Where (C) me and my (Em) true love were (Am) ever wont tae (D7) gae,
on the (G) bonnie bonnie (C) banks of Loch (D7) Lo (G)mond.

Chorus exactly the same, or maybe use Em at the first 'high road'


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: loch lomond
From: goodbar
Date: 04 Jan 05 - 09:42 PM

thanks a lot.


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Subject: About Loch Lomond
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 11:19 AM

http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=2785 is an interesting thread but leaves me wondering, still, whether "death" is the "high" or "low" road.


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Subject: RE: About Loch Lomond
From: meself
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 12:28 PM

Without reading the thread in question, which would no doubt leave me bewildered and depressed, I would say that death is the 'low road': 'And I'll take the low road,/And I'll be in Scotland afore ye' implies that the speaker will be dead, and his soul will have rushed off to Scotland ...


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Subject: RE: About Loch Lomond
From: Tootler
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 01:02 PM

The thread is worth reading. In fact it confirms what "meself" said that death is the low road and life the high road.

Here is a blue clicky for the thread


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: meself
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 01:29 PM

John Prebbles in his book Mutiny says that Loch Lomond was composed - well, the lyrics were written - by and about a member of a Scottish regiment who took part in one of the several mutinies that occurred in - the early 1800s? - and was condemned to death as a result.

Prebble is more specific, but I have no idea what kind of sources or backing he has for his assertion ...


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Subject: RE: About Loch Lomond
From: meself
Date: 01 Mar 08 - 01:34 PM

Thanks Tootler - I checked it out and tossed in my two cents ... and feel none the worse for it so far ...


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND.
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Mar 08 - 07:56 PM

Lyrics and notes copied from Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland, by Robert Ford, 1899:

THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND.

BY yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomon',
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'.

CHORUS: O, ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'.

'Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomon',
Where in purple hue the Hieland hills we view,
And the moon coming out in the gloamin'.

The wee birdies sing, and the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleepin';
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Tho' the waefu' may cease frae their greetin'.

The refrain of this puzzling song, which has recently enjoyed a vogue in the highest circles, is supposed in substance to have been the adieu to his sweetheart by one of Prince Charlie's followers in the '45, before the poor fellow's execution at Carlisle. The tradition is that his sweetheart was at the side of the scaffold, and his parting words to her were—"Ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road, and I'll be in Scotland afore ye." The low road, we are told, meant for the prisoner the grave, and his words indicated that death would bring his spirit to Scotland before his sweetheart could travel back to the banks of Loch Lomond, where they had learned to love each other, and had hoped to spend a long and prosperous married career.

I do not doubt that the song we have heard so much of recently is but the rescued fragment of an old country ballad of the same name. So evident is this, indeed, that a large portion is actually extant, which Lady John Scott, the writer of the modern version of "Annie Laurie," picked up in the streets of Edinburgh, I do not know how many years ago. Miss F. Mary Colquhoun, of Luss, has also gathered some wandering verses, notably these—

We'll meet where we parted in bonnie Luss Glen,
'Mang the heathery braes o' Ben Lomon';
Starts the roe frae the pass an' the fox frae his den,
While abune gleams the mune thro' the rowan.

Wi' yer bonnie laced shoon an' yer buckles sae clear,
An' yer plaid ower yer shouther sae rarely;
Ae glance o' yer e'e wad chase awa' my fear,
Sae winsome are yer looks, O, my dearie!

What has been sung of late, however, is perhaps enough for the singer's purpose. William Black, the novelist, and others have given it as their opinion that the song is wholly of recent origin; but Mr. Kippen, of Crieff, assures me that he heard it frequently on the streets, in one form or another, more than sixty yean ago.


THE BONNIE BANKS O' LOCH LOMOND.

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

"I trysted my ain luve the nicht in the broom,
My Ranald, wha lo'es me sae dearly;
For the morrow he marches to Edinburgh toun,
To fecht for the King an' Prince Charlie!"

"Yet why weep ye sae, my bonnie, bonnie May,
Yer true luve from battle returnin',
His darlin' will claim in the micht o' his fame,
An' change into gladness her mournin'!"

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

"Oh! dauntless in battle as tender in love,
He'll yield ne'er a foot to the foeman;
But never again frae the field o' the slain
To Moira he'll come an' Loch Lomon'.

"Oh! he'll gang the hie road an' I'll gang the low,
But I'll be in Heaven afore him;
For my bed is prepar'd in the mossy graveyard,
'Mang the hazels o' green Inveraman.

"The thistle shall bloom, an' the King hae his ain,
An' fond lovers meet in the gloamin',
An' I an' my true luve will yet meet again
Far abune the bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'."

These are the verses, alluded to in the note to the foregoing song, which Lady John Scott picked up in the streets of Edinburgh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: GUEST,Jim I
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 01:11 PM

Personally I still think, as I've said elsewhere, that the whole Carlisle jail thing is a product of the imagination of poet and author Andrew Lang. Although I don't know the origins of his poem I am tempted to think he took Lady Scott's version and spun his own story around it. I have looked at a lot of versions of this song/poem and this is the only one I have found which mentions Carlisle!

The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond
Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

There's an ending o' the dance, and fair Morag's safe in France,
And the Clans they hae paid the lawing,
And the wuddy has her ain, and we twa are left alane,
Free o' Carlisle gaol in the dawing.

So ye'll tak the high road, and I'll tak the laigh road,
An' I'll be in Scotland before ye:
But me and my true love will never meet again,
By the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.

For my love's heart brake in twa, when she kenned the Cause's fa',
And she sleeps where there's never nane shall waken,
Where the glen lies a' in wrack, wi' the houses toom and black,
And her father's ha's forsaken.

While there's heather on the hill shall my vengeance ne'er be still,
While a bush hides the glint o' a gun, lad;
Wi' the men o' Sergeant Môr shall I work to pay the score,
Till I wither on the wuddy in the sun, lad!

So ye'll tak the high road, and I'll tak the laigh road,
an' I'll be in Scotland before ye:
But me and my true love will never meet again,
By the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: GUEST,Gordon McDonald
Date: 13 May 10 - 12:27 PM

Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca in a post from 12 Sep 97 - 05:37 PM said;

'I'm still interested in finding out more about this Donald MacDonald (that was the subject of my original posting in this thread). If anyone can point me to likely sources, I would appreciate it.

It appears that this version of Loch Lomond was written by Donald McDonnell of Clan Keppoch.'

Tim,
If you are still interested, the Donald MacDonald you are referring to is Donald McDonnell,2nd of Tirnadrish, son of Ranald Mor, 1st of Tirnadrish, nephew of Coll 16th of Keppoch, (a.k.a. Coll nam Bo or Coll of the Cows. A nickname given to him by Viscount (Bonnie) Dundee in the rising of 1688). Donalds final words before being Hung Drawn And quartered for supporting his rightful Royal master are in the National Library of Scotland as part of 'The Lyon in Mourning' volume 1, a 1747 collection of speeches letters & journals of the failed Jacobite restoration of 1745.   

It is titled
'The SPEECH of DONALD MACDONELL of Tiendrish,
of the Family of Keppoch.' pp34 - 43. In addition there are many other letters and journals from the '45.
The text is available on-line at

The Lyon in Mourning at the National Library


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:43 PM

Here's something I have learned the hard way from many years folk music.

There are too many people out there who have a political ax to grind or who enjoy making somebody else feel bad. They take songs and ascribe all sorts of horrifying background to them: hangings, imprisonment, rapes, venereal disease, you name it.

For example, somebody on the Mudcat claimed that 'Think on Me,' has to do with Lady Jane Grey waiting to be executed. Actually, it was written in the 19th Century by Lady John Scott.

They used to make my heart ache until I caught on. For example, I might learn that the dates are all wrong or the people never existed.   Whether you call the people who spread this stuff the Loki type or Coyote or just plain prurient, the Internet has made it clear how abundant they are.

So enjoy the music, but don't let your heart be too vulnerable.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 01:45 PM

Here is a heart-touching rendition by the Corries of the rarer and fuller version of the Banks of Loch Lomond.

Most beautifully done.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 06:03 PM

Rarer and fuller?
Nice rendition, but difficult to pick an original.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: Taconicus
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 06:46 PM

Thanks Amos, I think that Corries version is my favorite too. Can you point us to the lyrics as they sang it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Loch Lomond
From: Amos
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 10:40 PM

They are close to the version posted upthread.


A


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