Flora MacDonald's Lament

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FLORA MACDONALD'S LAMENT. AKA and see "Lament of Flora MacDonald." Scottish, Slow Air. The tune was composed by Neil Gow, junior, son of Nathaniel and grandson of the scion of the fiddling clan, Niel Gow (who spelled his first name differently). Young Gow was born around 1795, entered the medical profession and was an accomplished amateur musician, and stayed in Edinburgh with his father. He died untimely at the age of 28. The title of the tune comes from words set by the poet James Hogg, also a fiddler, whose song appears in Jacobite Relics of Scotland, vol. 2, 1821 (No. 92, p. 179). In a note to the song Hogg relates:

I got the original of these verses from my friend Mr. Niel Gow, who told me they were a translation from the Gaelic, but so rude that he could not publish them, which he wished to do on a single sheet, for the sake of the old air. On which I versified them anew, and made them a great deal better without altering one sentiment.'

See also note for "Flora MacDonald's Adieu to the Prince" for more about Flora MacDonald.

Source for notated version:



Recorded sources:

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Printed sources:




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