The Skye Boat Song is a Scottish folk song that recalls the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) from Uist to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The song tells how Bonnie Prince Charlie, disguised as a serving maid, escaped in a small boat after the defeat of his Jacobite uprising of 1745, with the aid of Flora MacDonald. The song is a traditional expression of Jacobitism and its story has also entered Scotland as a national legend. (Source: Wikipedia)
[Chorus:] 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,
Thunderclouds rend the air;
Baffled, our foes stand by the shore,
Follow they will not dare.
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.
Many’s the lad fought on that day,
Well the Claymore could wield,
When the night came, silently lay
Dead on Culloden’s field.
Burned are their homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword cool in the sheath
Charlie will come again.
The AHPD plays this as the second tune in a set with Mist Covered Mountains (another traditional 6/8 slow march). The sheet music also contains the harmonies (called “seconds” by bagpipers).
Download the sheet music for The Skye Boat Song.