> Folk Music > Songs > Lord Ullin’s Daughter

Lord Ullin’s Daughter

[ Roud 3138 ; Ballad Index ADDLoUlD ; Bodleian Roud 3138 ; GlosTrad Roud 3138 ; Wiltshire 162 ; Mudcat 15619 , 47130 ; Thomas Campbell (1777-1844)]

Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer sang Thomas Campbell’s poem Lord Ullin’s Daughter in 2009 on their CD Gleowien. Their sleeve notes laconically summarised the plot:

Boy and girl run away. Grumpy dad comes chasing after. Weather poor. Gale warnings. No-one lives happily ever after.

Carolyn Robson sang Lord Ullin’s Daughter on her 2003 album Dawn Chorus. She noted:

I have heard this song sung to some beautiful melodies but none of them seemed to fit the mood of the tempest. I have married it to the tune of a border ballad which for me depicts the Sturm und Drang.

Jenny Sturgeon found Lord Ullin’s Daughter in Louey Chisholm’s book The Golden Staircase: Poems and Verses for Children (1907), p. 174. She sang it on Salt House’s 2020 album Huam.


Lord Ullin’s Daughter

A Chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
Cries, “Boatman, do not tarry!
And I’ll give thee a silver pound
To row us o’er the ferry.”

“Now who be ye would cross Loch Gyle
This dark and stormy water?”
“O, I’m the chief of Ulva’s Isle,
And this, Lord Ullin’s daughter.

“And fast before her father’s men
Three days we’ve fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.

“His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?”

Out spoke the hardy Highland wight,
“I’ll go, my chief I’m ready;
It is not for your silver bright,
But for your winsome lady:

“And, by my word! the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry;
So, though the waves are raging white,
I’ll row you o’er the ferry.”

By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water-wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven, each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still, as wilder grew the wind,
And as the night drew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armèd men,
Their trampling sounded nearer.

“O haste thee, haste!” the lady cries,
“Though tempests round us gather;
I’ll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.”

The boat has left the stormy land,
A stormy sea before her,—
When, oh! too strong for human hand,
The tempest gathered o’er her.

And still they rowed amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing:
Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore,—
His wrath was changed to wailing.

For, sore dismayed, through storm and shade
His child he did discover;
One lovely hand she stretched for aid,
And one was round her lover.

“Come back! come back!” he cried in grief,
“Across this stormy water;
And I’ll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter!— O my daughter!”

’Twas vain: the loud waves lashed the shore,
Return or aid preventing;
The waters wild went o’er his child—
And he was left lamenting.