A song made in Scotland 200 years ago that travelled to Canada and with
the addition of one word became one of their national songs.
Hear it performed by Ewan McVicar.
The weary sun's gaen down the west,
The birds sit nodding on the tree;
All nature now prepares for rest,
But rest prepared there's none for me.
The trumpet sounds to war's alarms,
The drums they beat, the fifes they play:
Come, Mary, cheer me wi' thy charms,
For the morn I will be far away.
Good night, and joy - good night, and joy,
Good night, and joy be wi' you a';
For since it’s so that I must go,
Good night, and joy be wi' you a'!
I grieve to leave my comrades dear,
I mourn to leave my native shore-
To leave my aged parents here,
And the bonnie lass whom I adore.
But tender thoughts maun now be hush'd,
When danger calls I must obey;
The transport waits us on the coast,
And the morn I will be far away.
Adieu, dear Scotia's sea-beat coast!
Though bleak and drear thy mountains be,
When on the heaving ocean cast,
I'll cast a wishful look to thee!
And now, dear Mary, fare thee well,
May Providence thy guardian be!
Or in the camp, or on the field,
I'll heave a sigh, and think on thee!
The Fiddler’s Companion [www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers] tells us that this tune was earlier known as ‘Goodnight and God Be With You’. It was "played at the conclusion of every Convivial Dancing Meeting Throughout Scotland in Niel Gow’s time. It appears in Henry Playford's 1700 collection of Scottish dance tunes but its earliest appearance is in the Skene Manuscript from 1615‑20. The tune was often used for a variety of songs over the centuries, but the present title comes from Robert Burns' lyrics.”
After Burns, other Scots poets chose to put lyrics to the tune. James Hogg and Lady Nairne both did so, but the lyric sung here was made by Robert Tannahill. His lyric was taken to Canada, where someone unknown made changes to the words throughout, changed the order of verses and added a new one, and also inserted the word Nova into the first line of the last verse.
Plus, they made the first four lines of that last verse into the chorus of a song that is now known to every Nova Scotian as their national song.
For more about Farewell To Nova Scotia [make a page and link?]
This site is created and maintained by Ewan McVicar.
This site is to replace the Education Scotland Scotland's Songs site that was 'taken down' in January 2017.