Sangstories
Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional
and newer songs 
sung by Sangschule 
of Linlithgow

Time Wears Awa

by Thomas Elliot 19th Century

Oh but the oors rin fast awa
Like the Kelvin tae the Clyde,
Sin’ on its bonnie gowan banks
I wooed thee for my bride
My ain dear love sae sweet and young
Sae artless and sae fair,
Then love was a’ the grief we kent
And you my only care

Time wears awa, time wears awa,
And winna let us be,
It stole the wild rose frae my cheek
And the blyth blink frae your ee

When woods were green and flooers fair
While you were a’ my ain,
I little reckoned what years would bring
O poortith, toil and pain
Some waefu oors hae flapped their wings
Dark shadows ower oor lot,
Sin like twa cushats o the glen
We strayed in this dear spot

The voices o these happy days
Steal on oor dreams by night,
And cherished mem'ries rise and glow
Wi their depairted light
But still the birds and burnies sing
Their 'wildered melodies,
As in the gowden dawn o life
When we were young and free

Words:
Blink: look
Cushats: woodpigeons
Gowan: daisy
Gowden: golden
Poortith: poverty
Waefu: woeful, sad
‘Wildered: gone astray, bewildered

This 19th century song was made popular in the Folksong Revival of the 60s through the singing of Willie Scott, the “Liddesdale Shepherd and Singer” befriended by Alison McMorland whose book Herd Laddie of the Glen records Scott’s life and repertoire of songs.

Geordie McIntyre’s note in the revised 2006 edition tells us that it was written by ”Fermanagh born Thomas Elliot, of Border descent.”

It appears in The Lyric Gems Of Scotland of 1856, vol 2, p276 – where the music is credited to A.Hume.  Alison feels that it is highly probable that Lyric Gems was one of the books in the Scott household.

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