Bonnie Banks of Loch Lommond

This song was written by a Scottish warrior who was awaiting death in enemy captivity, during the 1745 Rebellion. The “low road” is a reference to the Scottish belief that if a Scotsman died away from his homeland, then the fairies would guide his soul along the “Low road” back to Scotland, whilst those still living, would have to traverse the “High road”, that of the mortals, back along to Scotland. The young warrior awaiting death may have been writing to either his brother, who was allowed to go home along the “High road”; the human road back to Scotland, as a means of further punishing the captive sibling; or to a lover back in Scotland.

When you realize that this might actually be a brother conceding his fate to a sibling or young lover; accepting it, that of death, and with such dignity, poise, and poetic finality; should rouse the goose pimples of a dead man. After all, it is said, that you cannot be a true Scot if this song doesn’t at least send a shiver across your flesh.

Side note: A tactic used by the English during the Jacobite uprising, was to separate Brothers, or fathers and sons, and then let one go free with the knowledge that his sibling, or son, was going to be executed. War is war, and then there is cruelty. My ancestors fought for right. The English fought for domination.

One of my ancestors died at the battle of Killiecrankie, whilst the other, a great, etc., etc. uncle, died at Culloden. He was, as were the majority of his countrymen, armed only with a broadsword and Targe (Buckler-like shield) The English fielded cannon and rifle. It was a loss for Scotland as a nation, certainly, but a victory for the Scots as, and to a man, they charged the barking steel like men possessed. It took cannon balls and bullets to put my blood down (Understand that I actually lost family members to this conflict). And dear god, I sorely hope that one day English guns are again fielded on Scottish soil.

Tha mi ‘Am eagal gu bàs, airidh air bàs

 

Loch Lommond

By yon bonnie banks, and by yon bonnie braes,

Where the sun shines on Loch Lomond.

Where me and my true love spent many days

On the banks of Loch Lomond.

 

T’was there that we parted, in yon shady glen,

On the steep sides, of Ben Lomond.

But the broken heart, knows no second spring,

Resigned we must be, while we’re parting.

 

So, you’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

Ho, ho mo leannan,

Ho, mo leannan bhoidheach

(Repeat x 8)

(Oh, oh my sweetheart,

Oh, my sweetheart beautiful/beautiful sweetheart)

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore ye.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

You’ll take the high road, and I’ll take the low road,

And I’ll be in Scotland, afore you.

Where me and my true love, will never meet again,

On the bonnie, bonnie banks, of Loch Lomond.

 

On the bonnie, bonnie banks

(Repeat x 9)

 

 

 

 

 

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