Friday, December 16, 2011



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No lark in transport rides the sky
Nor leaves with early plaintive cry
But I must bid my last goodbye
My last fairwell to Stirling O

Though far away my heart's with you
Those happy hours from us they flew
And I must bid a sad adieu
A last fairwell to Stirling O

My comrades all now grieve for me
And one request I'll ask of ye
My faithful dog ye'll keep for me
When I am far from Stirling O

No more I'll wander through the glen
Or rob the roost of the pheasant hen
Nor chase the rabbit to its den
When I am far from Stirling O

Now fare you well my Jeannie dear
I hope you'll find another dear
And shed ye no a bitter tear
When I am far from Stirling O

So fare you well for I am bound
For twenty years to Van Diemen's Land
Think of me and what I've done
When I am far from Stirling O

The following notes are from the liner note for this song by Edgar Waters from Gary Shearston's CD re-release of earlier recordings Here and There: Now and Then:

One great Scots poet, Robert Burns, collected Scots folk songs, published them (often after considerable rewriting) and wrote songs of his own that were more or less in folk song style. Dozens of lesser poets also wrote songs more or less in the style of Scots folk song, and some of them actually passed into oral tradition. This seems to be such a song. In the 1950s the poet John Manifold gathered around him in Brisbane a group of people who were interested in performing folk music and songs. One of them was a Scots migrant. Nan Shanko. This is a song she carried with her from her native land.

The tune used here is from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs site, where it is published with the following note:

Stirling O, Collected by Stan Arthur from Bob Gallagher, Brisbane 1958. Edgar Waters in his notes to the song in Tradition (April 1967) writes: "The number of convicts transported from Scotland to Australia was relatively small, but there are a good many Scottish songs about transportation. The present song seems to be still fairly common in oral tradition in Scotland. In recent years it has been recorded several times from oral tradition in Australia, but so far as I know always from Scottish migrants".

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