Verse 1: 'Fareweel, fareweel, my native hame, / Thy lonely glens an' heath clad mountain / Fareweel thy fields o' storied fame, / Thy leafy shaws an' sparklin fountains / Nae mair I'll climb the Pentland's steep, / Nor wander by the Esk's clear river, / I seek a hame far o'er the deep, / My native land, fareweel for ever.'
Many Scots emigrated to North America and to Australia in the eighteenth, nineteenth and even twentieth centuries. Although the geographical references in this poem suggest that it is narrated by a Lowlander, the greatest concentration of migrants came from the Highlands. Some of these were forced migrations, after landowners had cleared the people off their ancestral lands to make way for sheep. In the nineteenth century, the failure of the potato crop during the 1840s again increased numbers leaving the Highlands. The exodus inevitably inspired many laments, of which this is one example.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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Probable period of publication:
1860-1890 shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(080)
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