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Jim I Info Req: Loch Lomond/You Take the High Road (46) Lyr Add: LOCH LOMOND 21 Sep 06

Could I perhaps make a quick resume of the Loch Lomond thing. I'm trying to do sources for the songs in my songbook and this song is proving particularly difficult; especially due to the multiple threads and the long periods of time over these threads. I know Malcolm was not happy with the previous revival but I thought putting a lot of this together might be useful

First off, at least for the time being, I'm going to ignore Richard Thompson's version (Loch Lomond 2) in the DT.
Am I right in saying that the following is Lady John Scott's song "picked up in the streets of Edinburgh"? At least most of what I find on the net seems to suggest this.

Loch Lomond (1)

By yon bonny banks and by yon bonny braes
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever wont tae gae
On the bonny, bonny banks o' Loch Lomond

And 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 bonny, bonny banks o' Loch Lomond

'Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep sides o' Ben Lomond
Where in purple hue, the Hieland hills we view
An' the moon comin' oot 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
Tho' the woefu' may cease frae their greetin'

Then from the Scots mailing list at as well as from Henry and Susanne's excellent song site we have this version (or at least a very similar one) as sung by Matt McGinn. Although I haven't established yet where Matt got this version, according to GUEST in July 2003, "Matt McGinn had found this version in an old songbook". Could this be Matt's euphemism for "I wrote it but I'm not owning up"(?)

Loch Lomond (2)

Oh 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.

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.

Tim Jaques back in 1997 added a verse from version 2 to version 1 as he remembered the Corries singing it.

Also back in 1997 Bruce said all he could find was a 3-verse version in "Heart Songs" 1909. Which version was that Bruce?

The Contemplator website suggests that Lady Scott adapted a broadside by Sanderson of Edinburgh (1838) Jack Campin back in 99 said he could probably dig up the Sanderson song

Then there's pavane's suggestion from 2001 of the song below dating to between 1832 and 1842 This song is also referred to several times by Malcolm Douglas in the thread about "Red is the Rose" back in 2003. Is Sanderson's broadside the same or similar to this one?

Flora's Lament for her Charlie

It's yon bonny banks and yon bonny braes
Where the sun shines bright and bonny
Where I and my true love went out for to gaze
On the bonny bonny banks of Benlomond

It's you'll take the high road and I'll take the low road.
And I'll be in Scotland before you.
And I and my true love shall never meet again
On the bonny banks of Benlomond.

It's not for the hardships that I must endure
Nor the leaving of Benlomond
But it's for the leaving of my comrades all
And the bonny lad that I love so dearly

With his bonny lac'd shoes and his buckles so clear
And his plaid o'er his shoulder hung so rarely
One glance of his eye it would banish dull care
So handsome the looks of my Charlie

But as long as I live and as long as I do breathe
I will sing to his memory fairly
My true love was taken by the arrows of death
And now Flora does lament for her Charlie

I don't particularly like this as it doesn't scan too comfortably. Also what is meant by the 'banks of Benlomond'?

And then how about the Andrew Lang poem of about 1876. (Well it was published then according to Wikipedia.) There are lots of references to "Scots Poets and Poetry" of 1876 when looking for Loch Lomond. I don't have access to that but the date fits for Lang

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

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.

Personally I think this is may be his take on the older song; turning it to where he thinks it belongs i.e. to the aftermath of Culloden. Also as far as I can see it is the only version to mention Carlisle jail. Is the story of the Scots prisoner down to Andrew?


Any more suggestions? And I'm not going to comment further on Scots prisoners! Anyway we all know how they got back to Scotland – they chatted up the provost's daughter and got her to steal dad's car (err horse!)

And all this so I can source the songs in my song book! I dunno whay I bother


PS I haven't included Bruce Baillie's version as you can read that for yourselves

Also can I say a big thank you to Malcolm Douglas. I would never have known about the Murray Collection without you Malcolm - it's brilliant.

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