Scarborough Settler's Lament
Submitted by Ken Willson and Kim McKee
Written in 1840 by Sandy Glendening with music by Fowke, this song relates the loneliness felt by immigrating Scots after the battle of Culloden and then the Highland Clearances. The Highland chieftains were compelled by the victors in the struggle (British government) to increase income from their land, and so began to clear off the crofters by the thousands. Many of these people wound up in Canada and America.
My own family (MacDonald) wound up in Greenfield, Canada and from there to North Dakota, which gives me a deep appreciation for the sentiments within. Scarborough is located by Toronto.
Away with Canada's muddy creeks and Canada's fields of pine
Your land of wheat is a goodly land, but oh, it is not mine
The heathy hill, the grassy dale, the daisy-spangled lea,
The purling burn and craggy linn; auld Scotland's glens give me.
Oh, I would like to hear again the lark on Tinny's Hill
And see the wee bit gowany that blooms beside the rill
Like banished Swiss who views afar his Alps with longing e'e
I gaze upon the morning star that shines on my country.
No more I'll win by Eskdale glen or Pentland's craggy comb
The days can ne'er come back again of thirty years that's gone
But fancy oft at midnight hour will steal across the sea
And yestereve, in a pleasant dream I saw the old country.
Each well-known scene that met my view brought childhood's joys to mind
The blackbird sang on Tushey linn; the song he sang, 'lang syne'
But like a dream time flies away. Again, the morning came
And I awoke in Canada three thousand miles from hame.
Willson & McKee have been touring and playing Celtic and original music since 1990. The Covid pandemic assured us that we were retiring, and we now do occasional concerts and educational programs for libraries. See us at jigheads.com (our rarely edited site) or on Facebook. We live in southern Colorado.