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Land o' the Leal

[ Roud 8999 ; Ballad Index DTlandle ; Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne (1766-1845)]

Silly Wizard sang Land o' the Leal in 1976 on their eponymous first album on the Transatlantic/XTRA label, Silly Wizard. Their singer Andy M. Stewart returned to it in 1994 on his Green Linnet CD Man in the Moon. He noted on the CD:

For many years this song was mistakenly thought to be the work of Robert Burns until it finally emerged that it was written by Lady Nairne. Lady Nairne was descended from an old Jacobite family from Perthshire and had written many fine songs in favour of the exiled Stuarts. She was extremely modest and preferred to publish her songs anonymously. The “Land o’ the Leal” in the context of this song, means Heaven.

Five Hand Reel sang Land o' the Leal in 1979 on their Topic album A Bunch of Fives, and their band member Bobby Eaglesham sang it in a 1981 recording made by Paul Adams on the 2018 Fellside anthology Destination: Fellside Recordings 1976-2018. The liner notes of the original album commented:

In its earlier forms this song appears as I’m Wearin’ Awa’, John. One explanation put forward for the change is that it was intended to make it appear to be the parting address of Robert Burns to Jean Armour.

Jean Redpath sang Land o' the Leal in 1986 on her Philo album of songs of Lady Nairne, Lady Nairne. The album was reissued in 2009 on Greentrax as Will Ye No Come Back Again?. This track was also included in 2014 on the Greentrax anthology The Scottish Diaspora.

Janet Russell sang Land o' the Leal in 1988 on her Harbourtown album Gathering the Fragments.

Annie Grace sang Land o' the Leal in 2004 on her Greentrax album Take Me Out Drinking Tonight.

Chris Miles sang I Am Wearin Awa, John at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife, in May 2005. This recording was released in the following year on the festival anthology For Friendship and for Harmony (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 2). The album notes commented:

A version of this old song may have given Lady Nairne the inspiration to write her verses The Land o the Leal in 1798.

Alistair Ogilvy sang Land o' the Leal on the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2011.

Hannah Rarity learned Land o' the Leal from the singing of Rod Paterson. She sang it, accompanied by Ryan MacKenzie, Conal McDonagh and Bernadette Kellermann, in a recording made at Castlesound Studios in November 2016, on the download EP Land of the Leal and on this video:

And in 2018 Hannah recorded Land o' the Leal for her CD Neath the Gloaming Star.

Lyrics

The Land o' the Leal in The Oxford Book of English Verse (1919)

I'm wearin' awa', John,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, John,
I'm wearin' awa'
    To the land o' the leal.
There 's nae sorrow there, John,
There 's neither cauld nor care, John,
The day is aye fair
    In the land o' the leal.

Our bonnie bairn 's there, John,
She was baith gude and fair, John;
And O! we grudged her sair
    To the land o' the leal.
But sorrow's sel' wears past, John,
And joy 's a-coming fast, John,
The joy that 's aye to last
    In the land o' the leal.

Sae dear 's the joy was bought, John,
Sae free the battle fought, John,
That sinfu' man e'er brought
    To the land o' the leal.
O, dry your glistening e'e, John!
My saul langs to be free, John,
And angels beckon me
    To the land o' the leal.

O, haud ye leal and true, John!
Your day it 's wearin' through, John,
And I'll welcome you
    To the land o' the leal.
Now fare-ye-weel, my ain John,
This warld's cares are vain, John,
We'll meet, and we'll be fain,
    In the land o' the leal.

Five Hand Reel sing Land o' the Leal

I’m wearin’ awa’, Jean,
Like snaw reaths in thaw, Jean,
I’m wearin’ awa’ to the land o’ the leal.
There’s nae sorrow there, Jean,
There’s neither cauld nor care, Jean,
The days are aye fair in the land o’ the leal.

Our bonny bairn’s there, Jean,
She was baith guid and fair, Jean,
And we grudged her sair to the land o’ the leal.
Then dry that tearful e’e, Jean,
This world’s care is vain, Jean,
We’ll meet and aye be fain in the land o’ the leal.

Hannah Rarity sings Land o' the Leal

I'm wearin' awa, Jean,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, Jean
I'm wearin' awa' tae the land o' the leal
There's nae sorrow there, Jean,
There's neither cauld nor care, Jean
The day is aye fair in the land o' the leal

Tae me ye hae been true, Jean
Your task has ended noo, Jean
For near kythes my view o' the land o' the leal
Our bonnie bairn is there, Jean
She was baith guid an' fair, Jean
An', o, we grudged her sair tae the land o' the leal

But dry that tearfu' ee', Jean,
Grieve na for her 'n me, Jean;
Frae sin an sorrow free is the land o' the leal
Noo fair ye weel, ma ain Jean,
This world's cares are vain, Jean
We'll meet and aye be fain in the land o' the leal

(repeat first verse)