There'll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame


By yon Castle wa', at the close of the day, I heard a man sing tho' his head it was grey; And as he was singing, the tears doon came, There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. The Church is in ruins, the State is in jars, Delusions, oppressions, and murderous wars: We dare na weel say't, but we ken wha's to blame, There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword, But now I greet round their green beds in the yerd; It brak the sweet heart o' my faithful auld Dame, There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. Now life is a burden that bows me down, Sin I tint my bairns, and he tint his crown; But till my last moments my words are the same, There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.

Listen

John Cairney

About this work

This is a poem by Robert Burns. It was written in 1791 and is read here by John Cairney.

More about this poem

A Jacobite song, Burns first sent 'There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame' to his close friend Alexander Cunningham on 11 March 1791. It was first published in James Johnson's Scots Musical Museum in 1792.

'Jamie' refers to Prince James Edward Stuart (1688-1766), son of the deposed King James VII of Scotland and II of England, and the leader of the unsuccessful Jacobite uprising of 1715. The Jacobites sought to restore the deposed Stuart dynasty to the Scottish and English throne.

While James, often referred to as 'the old pretender', was unsuccessful, his son Prince Charles Edward Stuart embarked upon a second Jacobite rebellion in 1745.

Despite initial success, the Jacobites were defeated at the battle of Culloden in 1746, forcing Bonnie Prince Charlie to flee to the highlands.

Both father and son died in exile in Europe. And so, in this song a Jacobite laments the absence of who he perceives to be the rightful monarchs of Scotland.

Pauline Mackay

Themes for this poem

jacobitism regret death revolution

Selected for 03 February

'Tomorrow', in 1716, James Francis Edward Stuart, The Old Pretender, will leave Scotland forever, his half-hearted attempt to reclaim the British throne, as James III of England and James VIII of Scotland, having gained only insipid support. Thirty years later, his son, Charles Edward, would come closer to succeeding in every sense. Burns, for whom Jacobitism was a romantic ideal and literary conceit rather than a practical constitutional proposition, looked back forlornly nontheless, upon the failure of the 1715 uprising. His atmospheric lament blames all of Scotland's ills on the absence of 'Jamie'. Many a wistful toast would be drunk to, 'the King across the water' but as of this day, the only kingdom over which the Stuarts would ever hold sway was the realm of fantasy.

Donny O'Rourke

Skip to top

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.