Cam Ye By Athol?
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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The tune was written by Neil Gow, Junior (d. 1823)and the words are by James Hogg.

Nathaniel Gow (1727-1807) was the son of a weaver who taught himself to play the fiddle. He composed over seventy tunes and became a famous musician. His four songs, Andrew, John William and Nathaniel all followed in his footsteps. His youngest son Nathaniel (1751-1791) was the most successful of the four, and in addition to becoming a composer, founded a music publishing company in Edinburgh in 1796.

Neil Gow, Jr. was Nathaniel's eldest son. He became a physician, but then went to work for his father in the publishing company. He died in 1823 at the age of twenty-eight.

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Cam' ye by Athol, lad wi' the philabeg,
Down by the Tummel, or banks of the Garry?
Saw ye the lads, wi' their bonnets an' white cockades,
Leaving their mountains to follow Prince Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, wha wadna follow thee?
Long has thou lov'd an' trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Charlie.

I hae but ae son, my gallant young Donald;
But if I had ten, they should follow Glengarry;
Health to MacDonald and gallant Clan Ronald,
For these are the men that will die for their Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, wha wadna follow thee?
Long has thou lov'd an' trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Charlie.

I'll go to Lochiel, and Appin, and kneel to them;
Down by Lord Murray and Roy of Kildarlie;
Brave Mackintosh, he shall fly to the field wi' them;
These are the lads I can trust wi' my Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, wha wadna follow thee?
Long has thou lov'd an' trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Charlie.

Down by thro' the Lowlands, down wi' the whigamore,
Loyal true Highlanders, down wi' them rarely;
Ronald and Donald drive on wi' the braid claymore,
Over the necks o' the foes o' Prince Charlie.
Follow thee, follow thee, wha wadna follow thee?
Long has thou lov'd an' trusted us fairly!
Charlie, Charlie, wha wadna follow thee?
King o' the Highland hearts, bonnie Charlie.

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From Scottish Songs
See Bibliography for full information.