O'er the Water to Charlie


Come boat me o'er, come row me o'er, Come boat me o'er to Charlie; I'll gie John Ross anither bawbee To boat me o'er to Charlie. We'll o'er the water, we'll o'er the sea, We'll o'er the water to Charlie; Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go, And live or die wi' Charlie. I lo'e weel my Charlie's name, Tho' some there be abhor him: But O, to see auld Nick gaun hame, And Charlie's faes before him! We'll o'er the water, we'll o'er the sea, We'll o'er the water to Charlie; Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go, And live or die wi' Charlie. I swear and vow by moon and stars, And sun that shines so early! If I had twenty thousand lives, I'd die as aft for Charlie. We'll o'er the water, we'll o'er the sea, We'll o'er the water to Charlie; Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go, And live or die wi' Charlie.

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Dawn Steele

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1788 and is read here by Dawn Steele.

Themes for this poem

jacobitism nationalism brotherhood

Selected for 31 January

On the last day of January in 1788, Charles Edward Stuart died in Rome. Bloated by drink, debauchery and idleness and by then far from bonny, Prince Charlie had long been incapable of inspiring anybody. And yet his followers had once, all too willingly pledged, as Burns has his veteran of the '45 uprising do here, 'If I had twenty thousand lives/I'd die as aft for Charlie'. Thousands of young men did die for the Jacobite cause. In his grace and favour palazzo, The Young Pretender lived to be 67. This nostalgic and romanticised evocation of those more stirring times, dates from the year of 'Carluccio's' death. Any, final, fading dreams of a Stuart restoration died with the self pitying wastrel who had raised and dashed, so many Highland hopes.

Donny O'Rourke

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