Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go? Wild Mountain Thyme

Oh, the summertime is comin', And the trees are sweetly blooming, Where the wild mountain thyme Grows around the blooming heather Chorus Will ye go, lassie, will ye go? And we'll all go together to pick wild mountain thyme All around the blooming heather. Will ye go, lassie, will ye go? I will build my love a bower By yon pure crystal fountain And around it I will place All the flowers of the mountain. Chorus... If my true love e'er should leave me I would surely find another Where the wild mountain thyme Grows around the blooming heather. Chorus... Oh, the autumn-time is comin', And the leaves are gently falling, Where the wild mountain thyme Grows around the blooming heather Chorus… 

 Wild Mountain Thyme (also known as "Purple Heather" and "Will You Go Lassie, Go") is not a Scottish song. It was written by the Northern Irish singer Francis McPeake, who first recorded it for the BBC series "As I Roved Out" in 1957. As he had already taught it to others by this point it must have been written some time prior to 1957. There are two versions of how it came to be written. According to "Ireland the Songs, Volume 2, pub. 1993, Walton Music Inc." he learned it from his uncle and wrote it down, but according to Eric Winter, in the liner notes of the 1995 re-release of The Corries: In Concert/Scottish Love Songs, "Francis wrote this version ... and dedicated it to his first wife. Long after she died, he married again and his son, Francis II, wrote an extra verse to celebrate the marriage." Both stories are probably true as the song is based on an earlier Scottish Song 

The Braes of Balquhidder by Robert Tannahill (1774-1810). This earlier song includes the lines "Let us go, lassie, go" and "And the wild mountain thyme". It is entirely possible (probable even) that McPeake learned this earlier song from his uncle and turned it onto the new song. The tune of Wild Mountain Thyme is completely different and unrelated to the older song. (Contrary to popular myth, the words were not written by Robert Burns.)

© Robert Bela Wilhelm 2018