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Loch Lomond

There are few of us that can say we’ve never sang this song and fewer still who can say they have not heard it sung. It is probably the most celebrated traditional ditty originating in Scotland. Located in Scotland’s Highland, the Loch Lomond is the largest fresh water loch and is bounded by the rising of gorgeous highland mountain views. It is an area rich in natural beauty and abundant with powerful history.

The song, Loch Lomond, immortalized the sacrifice of one brother by the gallows to provide safe passage for his older brother’s return to his family in Scotland. Legend has it that the brothers lived by the banks of Loch Lomond and were captured during the Jocobite Uprisings during the 17th and 18th centuries. The boys were sentenced to death but were given a reprieve allowing one of them to live and be released. The younger brother chose for his brother to live for the sake of his family.

The symbolism in the song is represented by the younger brother taking the low road which has been interpreted as “the death road” or “the spiritual road” while the living brother takes the high road home by land. Thus, the younger brother will return to Scotland in spirit faster than his brother by land. The younger lad laments the loss of his true love or sweetheart whereby in death he will never “meet (her) again” on the beautiful banks of his beloved Loc Lomond.

Like many traditional folk tunes, the lyrics provide a colorful imagery of the splendor of Loch Lomond. You can envision the purple, probably heather, flowers stretching across the hills with the moon rising between the valleys casting a spectacular glow. You can almost hear the birds singing and feel the peaceful waters surrounding you as you absorb the strength of the lyrics. Once you understand the power of the story behind the words, you cannot help but hear or sing the song with a depth of emotion.

Scottish Gaelic-Loch Laomainn

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

Chorus
O 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 bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

‘Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o’ Ben Lomond.
Where in deep purple hue, the hieland hills we view,
And the moon comin’ out in the gloamin’.

The wee birdies sing and the wild flowers spring,
And in sunshine the waters are sleeping:
But the broken heart, it kens nae second spring again,
Tho’ the waefu’ may cease from their greeting.

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