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The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs attributes the lyrics to Sandy Glendenning circa 1840 and states the tune was by Fowke. According to the notes on the The Tannahill Weavers album "Land Of Light," the lyrics were by Alexander Glendinning and the tune is William Marshall's Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey (1781). It also states that Robert Burns used the tune for I Love My Jean. There is some suggestion that Miss Gordon was, in turn, a reconstruction of the song tune The Lowlands of Holland (Scots Musical Museum 1788). Although Lowlands was published later, it was supposed to have been in a manuscript collection of an earlier date. However, the manuscript was lost and the earlier date cannot be verified.*
The tune is also known as Scarborough Settler's Lament. Scarborough is now a borough of Toronto.
The Highland Clearances were as great a tragedy for the Highlands as Culloden. Thousands of crofters were forcibly removed from their land by the Highland chieftans. Many settled in Canada.
Away with Canada's muddy creeks
And Canada's fields of pine
Your land of wheat is a goodly land
But oh, it is not mine
The heathy hill, the grassy dale
The daisy spangled lea
The purling burn and craggy linn
Auld Scotland's glens give me.
Oh, I would like to hear again
The lark on Tinny's Hill
And see the wee bit gowany
That blooms beside the rill
Like banished Swill who views afar
His Alps with longing e'e
I gaze upon the morning star
That shines on my country.
No more I'll win by Eskdale glen
Or Pentland's craggy comb
The days can ne'er come back again
Of thirty years that's gone
But fancy oft at midnight hour
Will steal across the sea
And yestereve, in a pleasant dream
I saw the old country.
Each well-known scene that met my view
Brought childhood's joys to mind
The blackbird sang on Tushey linn
The song he sang, 'lang syne'
But like a dream time flies away
Again, the morning came
And I awoke in Canada
Three thousand miles from hame.
Information from The Mudcat Cafe.