Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Origins: Skye Boat Song

DigiTrad:
OVER THE SEA TO SKYE (VARIANT)
SKYE BOAT SONG
SKYE BOAT SONG (Parody)


Related threads:
Outlander: Mary of souls? (4)
Skye Boat Song in Gaelic? (8)
(origins) Origin: Skye Boat Song confusion (18)
(origins) Origins: The Skye Boat Song (55)
Tune Req: Sing Me a Song of a Lad That is Gone (2)


Thomas the Rhymer 05 Mar 01 - 11:11 PM
katlaughing 06 Mar 01 - 12:26 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 06 Mar 01 - 04:26 PM
Sarah2 06 Mar 01 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,rob the ranter 07 Mar 01 - 02:47 AM
sian, west wales 07 Mar 01 - 05:51 AM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Mar 01 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 07 Mar 01 - 12:58 PM
Thomas the Rhymer 08 Mar 01 - 11:16 AM
GUEST,catlin 09 Mar 01 - 07:30 AM
Tattie Bogle 01 Nov 07 - 11:37 AM
The Borchester Echo 01 Nov 07 - 11:55 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 01 Nov 07 - 12:18 PM
Tattie Bogle 02 Nov 07 - 06:36 AM
Les in Chorlton 03 Nov 07 - 04:28 AM
Jim Lad 03 Nov 07 - 05:26 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Nov 07 - 06:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Nov 07 - 01:35 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Nov 07 - 12:18 PM
Art Thieme 04 Nov 07 - 10:15 PM
Jim Lad 05 Nov 07 - 02:21 AM
GUEST,HughM 05 Nov 07 - 08:31 AM
RenaRuadh 05 Nov 07 - 09:18 AM
balladeer 05 Nov 07 - 09:35 AM
Effsee 05 Nov 07 - 10:27 AM
Tattie Bogle 05 Nov 07 - 07:08 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:



Subject: Skye Boat Song
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 05 Mar 01 - 11:11 PM

Hi all!

I've learned a nice version of this fine Scottish song
But alas and alack, it is exactly as long
As the one in the 'trad'... Now am I just wrong?
Or should I just sprinkle those words here amoung?

Its a bit of a stretch but it could(should?) be done
But are other words out there to which I should run?
Oh, please, do you know; for this version is fun
All lilting and slow, and it must weigh a ton!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 12:26 AM

Ach, yer back and making up for the lack
Of rhyming, by plying with this, thy verse?
Time has passed and a new song you would cast
"Why not?" says I. And, welcome back, of c'urse!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 04:26 PM

I've read it several times, but Thomas' meaning STILL doesn't make any sense.

Is he asking for a different set of lyrics or something else?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Sarah2
Date: 06 Mar 01 - 04:30 PM

He comes sidling in, here among the great host.
If ye've got some new lyrics, fer gawd's sake, post!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,rob the ranter
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 02:47 AM

Skye Boat Song


Och the winds fowl, charlie's a boar,
English claps fill the air,
Baffled, he rows far frae the shore,
in a frock he's sae fair.
Chorus:
Speed bonnie stoat like a bird on the wing,
toward the braw the sailors cry.
sair is the lad born to be king
why did he even try?

2. Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
in a brave sailors bed.
Rock'd in the deep Flora will keep
Watch while he gives you head.
Chorus:

3. Burned are our homes, exile and death,
Scattered the loyal man.
Yet ere the sword, cool in the sheath,
you could of won did ye ken?
Chorus:


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: sian, west wales
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 05:51 AM

Twas many a many a year ago
In Killarny, near the sea,
That a Scot sang so sweet
So neat and complete
A Skye boat song new to me.
And I asked from whence came this song so sad
And how came this song to be?

And he replied that this was the song
From which grew the song I ken:
That, in Skye, he sang
In a voice that rang
This tune much older again.
And I wish that I could remember well
That song, and had noted it then.

sian


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 06:57 AM

The DT text omits Boulton's final verse:

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter our loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

Easy to see why it often isn't sung.

Robert Louis Stevenson didn't much care for Sir Harold Boulton's words, and, in 1887, wrote a set of his own:

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.


Mull was astern, Rum on the port,
Eigg on the starboard bow;
Glory of youth glowed in his soul:
Where is that glory now?

Give me again all that was there,
Give me the sun that shone!
Give me the eyes, give me the soul,
Give me the lad that's gone!

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

Stevenson puts the song into the mouth of Charles Stewart himself, old, drunk and dying, though the elegy for lost youth was from his own heart, too.

Malcolm


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 07 Mar 01 - 12:58 PM

Boulton said he used a Gaelic song format, a rowing song called an iorram, and the tune is said to come from the Gaelic song Cuachan nan Craobh or The Cuckoo in the Grove.

Here are some new words, written three weeks ago with a class of 10 year olds in Borestone Primary School, 200 yards from the Bannockburn Robert The Bruce statue, and 800 yards from the tower of St Ninian's Church, all that was left of the building in 1746 after the Highland Host's gunpowder was blown up.

The Drummer Boy's Song
Tune Skye Boat Song, but as fast 6/8 march

Here I stand at Drummossie Moor
My drumsticks in my hands.
All around me in their plaids
The fearsome Highland clans
Ratata, ratata,
I'm ready to beat the charge
But ratata, the order won't come
To use the claymore and targe

CHORUS
Bonnie Prince Charlie, born to be king
Came over the sea from France

Ah'll tell ye what happened at Stirling Brig,
The townspeople chopped it down.
We had to leave our cannon and ball
Behind at Stirling Town.
A boom and a bash, a bang and a crash,
People went up in ther air.
Our powder blew up in St Ninian's Church,
Clanspeople landed sair.

Kenneth the Seer looked forward in time,
And he saw a battle here.
Heads were lopped off, quarter was none,
Falilies were left in tears.
Ratata, ratata,
The order has come to charge.
But now we must run away from the guns,
And leave the claymore and targe.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Thomas the Rhymer
Date: 08 Mar 01 - 11:16 AM

That's it!!!! VERRRRY COOOL!!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,catlin
Date: 09 Mar 01 - 07:30 AM

There is another set of words to SKYE BOAT SONG. They are written in the RISE UP SINGING songbook under lullabyes. There are 4 verses and a constant chorus. I think you'll like it.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 11:37 AM

Some debate over whether it's "thunder CLOUDS rend the air" or "thunder CLAPS". Lots of people seem to have learned the latter version, which would perhaps seem more logical, but I have a copy of "Songs of the North", edited by Harold Boulton himself, in which it appears as "thunder CLOUDS". Any views? Malcolm ? Ewan?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 11:55 AM

Very much prefer Brian McNeill's No Gods & Precious Few Heoes meself:

And tell me will we never hear the end
Of puir bluidy Charlie at Culloden yet again?
Though he ran like a rabbit down the glen
Leavin better folk than him to be butchered
Or are you sittin in your Council house, dreamin o your clan?
Waiting for the Jacobites to come and free the land?
Try going down the broo with your claymore in your hand
And count all the Princes in the queue
.

And his Strong Women Rule Us All (about Flora MacDonald):

There's a moment of your story that has always haunted me
When you set out in yon open boat to help the poor man flee
Was Chairlie Stewart's future already plain to see?
Did you know he'd be a waster all his days?

But if you did, I'd give the world to find
A single tear you cried
From the Cuillins tae the Carolinas
You showed us one and all
The courage you could call
From the tears that would not fall
From your eyes


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 01 Nov 07 - 12:18 PM

I think the Thunderclouds rend the air is the correct one.

The claps however would fit with the line above, as that line talks about assaults on the hearing.

Toss-up which to use though!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 02 Nov 07 - 06:36 AM

Thanks to both.
Strong Women is a great song, know it well. And thereby hangs another debate! Which is correct - Cuillin or Cuillins? Seems a lot of climbers refer to them as the Cuillin (?already plural in Gaelic) while others put the s on the the end. Looked thro' several books we have on the Monros and Skye and seems about evenly divided!
TB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 04:28 AM

Save us from men who believe they are born to be!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Jim Lad
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 05:26 AM

Tired o' the dance,
Over in France
Charlie will bide his time.
Hidin' fae foes
Countin' his woes
And drinkin' the cheap red wine.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Nov 07 - 06:45 PM

'the tune is said to come from the Gaelic song Cuachan nan Craobh or The Cuckoo in the Grove.'

So once again a powerless, nameless musician has had his music ripped off so that someone else can wave the bloody shirt.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 01:35 AM

I don't know about 'ripping off' and 'bloody shirts', but here is a little more information.

The usual story (there is no reason, so far as I know, to disbelieve it) is that Annie Campbell MacLeod heard 'a rowing song' while going by boat from Torran to Loch Coruisk (Skye) in c.1879, and adapted it into the tune to which Boulton set his 'Skye Boat Song' a few years later. Andy M Stewart apparently states that the tune was actually noted from a singer in Moidart, but I don't know if he has evidence for that.

The song in question is usually taken to have been 'Cuachag nan Craobh', but whether this is fact or supposition is unclear. The words of 'Cuachag' are usually attributed to the Gairloch schoolmaster William Ross (1762-1790), though there have been suggestions that it is older. Where the melody came from is hard to say. As printed in Alfred Moffat, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Highlands, 1907, 116-7, it goes as follows:

X:1
T:Cuachag nan Craobh
T:Cuckoo of the Grove
B:Alfred Moffat, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Highlands, 116-7
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:6/8
K:Bb
D | (G3/2^G/) G/ A/ B2 B B/ | {d}c B A d3 d|d G G B2 B|
A3 d z D | (G3/2^G/) G/ A/ B2 B|c B c d2 (g/d/) | d c B A2 (A/G/) |
((G2 G/)B/4A/4) G2 B |g f e d2 d|e d c d2 d |
g d c B2 B|A3 d z D | (G3/2^G/) G/ A/ B3 |
c B c d2 g | d3/ 2c/ B ((A2 A/)G/)| ((G2 G/)B/4A/4 G2) |]

No source is specified, but the melody appears in much the same form in Keith Norman MacDonald, The Gesto Collection of Highland Music, 1895, 51-2, where the Gaelic words are attributed to Ross. Whether this is something close to what Miss MacLeod heard, we can't tell. At all events, we can be reasonably sure that whoever wrote it was long dead by the time Miss MacLeod wrote her adaptation and Boulton set his song to it. The Jacobite cause, too, was long dead by then, though the fashion for writing nostalgic songs about it was not.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 12:18 PM

Thanks, Malcolm. That is most interesting and enlightening information.

I once expressed confidence that a Romantic composer would find it nearly impossible to leave a "folk melody" alone when it could be "improved" by a nudge here and there.

Regardless of whether Campbell so treated "The Cuckoo in the Grove," its formal kinship to "Skye Boat Song" is hard to miss.

Worth noting: Campbell was in a boat when she heard the tune. That fact is sometimes transmuted into the claim that the melody was originally a "Scottish sea chantey."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Nov 07 - 10:15 PM

The version I always hear in my head will be the one Alex Campbell sang when I was taking him in my car on a booze run at a festival in Middletown, Connecticut---possibly around 1978 or so. Alex was put off by Americans driving on the wrong side of the road--so I was picked to transport him when I wasn't on stage myself. No way could anyone there allow him behind the wheel anyway. Some fine memories of a true artist!

Art Thieme


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Jim Lad
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 02:21 AM

I'm sure Dominic Behan wrote it!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 08:31 AM

I understand that the name "Cuillin" is thought to be derived either from the Old Norse "kjoelen" meaning the keel of a boat or a mountain range resembling one, or the Gaelic "cuillion" meaning holly. If either of these is correct, it would seem reasonable to use the word "Cuillin" and not "Cuillins". I have a map published by the Scottish Mountaineering Club entitled "The Black Cuillin".
   Arthur Cormack sings a song written by Big Mary of the Songs about the Battle of the Braes, in which the term "cuillion" is used to refer to this area.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: RenaRuadh
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 09:18 AM

I've had a look in a dictionary and Cuillin is already plural. So the Cuillin, not the Cuillins, I guess.

Cuachag nan craobh is a gorgeous sad song probably written by William Ross, pining for his beloved, Marion Ross, who'd married another. The story goes that William died of a broken heart one night and at that same moment, Marion Ross was woken up by a knocking on the door. Taking her candle, she went to open it and the draft caused the candle flame to ignite her nightgown and she died the same night as William. Trust the Gaels to have some nice dramatic stuff!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: balladeer
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 09:35 AM

Art, so in addition to Rick Fielding, we have Alex Campbell in common!
Alex and I travelled together quite a bit, back and forth between London and parts north, when we were both gigging in England in the mid 1960's. Oh those wonderful trains. Oh that caustic wit....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Effsee
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 10:27 AM

"Hell, yeah!"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Skye Boat Song
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 05 Nov 07 - 07:08 PM

Thanks Rena and Malcolm,
I'm all set up for my singing class tomorrow now!
TB


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 November 6:50 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.