Will Ye No Come Back Again?


Bonnie Prince Charlie AKA. Charles Edward Stuart

“Will Ye No Come Back Again?” is a Scottish lamentation for the exile of the Jacobite pretender Charles Edward Stuart. ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, as he was affectionately dubbed, was responsible for the Jacobite Uprising of 1745, having amassed an army of highlanders with whom he sought to reclaim his throne. After his defeat at the Battle of Culloden, Stuart evaded the English bounty of 30,000 pounds on his head and, with the help of the highlanders, made it to friendly France. One of these evasions is the basis of another Scottish folk song, ‘Skye Boat Song’, but that’s one for another time. Written by Carolina Oliphant in the first half of the 19th century, this song expresses the hope of many Jacobin supporters, that one day their chosen king would return.

Bonnie Chairlie’s noo awa’,
Safely o’er the friendly main;
Mony a heart will break in twa’,
Should he no come back again.

Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better lo’ed ye cannae be,
Will ye no come back again?

Mony a traitor man the isles;
Break the band o’ natures la ,
Mony a traitor wi’ his wiles,
Sought to wear his life awa’.

Whene’er I hear the blackbird sing,
Unto the evening sinking down,
Or merl that makes the wood to ring,
To me they hae nae other sound.

Mony a gallant soldier fought,
Mony a gallant chief did fa,
Death itself were dearly bought,
A’ for Scotland’s king and law.

Sweet the lav’rock’s note and lang,
Lilting wildly up the glen;
And aye the o’erworld o’ he sang,
Will he no’ come back again?


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