Skye Boat Song
Download Version 1
Barry Taylor
Download Version 2
Lesley Nelson-Burns

Information
Lyrics
The words are by Sir Harold Boulton, Bart., 1884. The first half of the tune is said to be an old sea shanty; the other half is traditionally attributed to Miss Annie MacLeod.

Charles Edward Stewart, the Young Pretender, was defeated by the Duke of Cumberland on Culloden Moor in 1746. Aided by Flora MacDonald, Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped to the island of Skye. He was later taken by a French vessel to Morlaix on the coast of Bretagne.

For other Jacobite tunes go to the bottom of The Contemplator's Short History of the Jacobite Uprisings.

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,
Thunder clouds rend the air;
Baffled our foe's stand on the shore
Follow they will not dare
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

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep
Ocean's a royal bed
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head
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

Many's the lad fought on that day
Well the claymore could wield
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden's field
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

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men
Yet, e'er the sword cool in the sheath,
Charlie will come again.
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
Related Links
From
The Fireside Book of Folk Songs
See Bibliography for full information.