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The Skye Boat Song

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Melody: The Skye Boat Song (Duration: 2:59) [Artist: Unknown]


Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing,
Onward, the sailors cry.
Carry the lad that's born to be king
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl,
Loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air,
Baffled, our foes
Stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.


Though the waves leap,
Soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean's a royal bed.
Rock'd in the deep
Flora will keep
watch o'er your weary head.


Many's the lad
Fought on that day,
Well the claymor could wield,
When the night came,
Silently lay
Dead in Collodens field.


Burned are our homes,
Exile and death,
Scattered the loyal man.
Yet ere the sword,
Cool in the sheath,
Charlie will come again.


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Commemorating his escape from these shores when Flora Macdonald took Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving. maid, from Uist to Skye in a small boat. Flora is buried at Kilmuir on Skye. Prince Charlie near Rome where he was born.

Words by Sir Harold Boulton, Bart., 1884. Music by Annie MacLeod.

Charles Edward Stewart, the Young Pretender, was routed by the Duke of Cumberland on Culloden Moor in 1745. Aided by a Jacobite heroine, Flora MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped to the island of Skye in the inner Hebrides. He was finally taken by a French vessel to Morlaix on the coast of Bretagne. The first half of the tune is said to be an old sea shanty; the other half is traditionally attributed to Miss MacLeod.

        Revision:  18 March 2006
Last modified:  18 March 2006