Share this

Features for Teachers: Jacobite Songs

Posted on 17/07/2019 in Features for Teachers Fun Stuff


Many songs have been written about the Jacobites and Bonnie Prince Charlie, both at the time of the Risings and afterwards, in Gaelic, Scots and English. Here are two examples from The Dangerous Lives of the Jacobites. Why not put on a performance in class as part of a Jacobites project?




Will Ye No Come Back Again?

This song was written by Caroline Oliphant, Lady Nairne (1766-1845). Her songs were very popular during her lifetime, but she published them anonymously to hide the fact that she was a woman.

Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Charlie’s noo awa,
Safely owre the friendly main;
Mony a heart will break in twa
Should he ne’er come back again.

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

Ye trusted in your Hielan men,
They trusted you, dear Chairlie.
They kent your hidin in the glen,
Death or exile bravin.


We watched thee in the gloamin hour,
We watched thee in the mornin grey,
Tho thirty thousand pound they gie,
O’ there is nane that wad betray!


Sweet the laverock’s note and lang,
liltin wildly up the glen.
But aye tae me he sings ae song,
Will ye no come back again?

The Skye Boat Song

This famous song was written by an Englishman named
Sir Harold Boulton (1859-1935) long after the Jacobite Risings.

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be King
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunderclaps rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.


Many’d the lad, fought in that day
Well the claymore did wield;
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden’s field.


Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,
Ocean’s a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep
Watch by your weary head.


Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

If you like this song, you might be interested in Speed Bonnie Boat – a beautifully illustrated picture book based on the Skye Boat Song. Check out our singalong video below:

Explore the blog by category

Click to select a category.