Ye gales that gently wave the seas (Thomas Billington)

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  • (Posted 2021-10-04)  CPDL #66045:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2021-10-04).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 136 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: Ye gales that gently wave the seas
Composer: Thomas Billington
Lyricist: Anon
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: c.1788 (n/d)
Description: Billington issued two sets of "glees selected from the Scotch songs" in the late 1780s, to satisfy two contemporary enthusiasms: that for mixed sex social music, and that for all things North-British. The current arrangement comes from the second set. These glees were selected from a repertoire of well-known Scottish songs that had been anthologised in the previous seventy years. Verses that are not underlaid were not included by Billington, and have been imported from external sources.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Ye gales that gently wave the sea,
And please the canny boatman,
Bear me from hence, or bring to me
My brave, my bonny Scotsman.
In holy bands we join'd our hands,
Yet may not this discover
While parents rate a large estate
Before a faithful lover.

But I would choose, in highland glens,
To herd the kid and goat, man;
E'er I could for such little ends
Refuse my bonny Scotsman;
Woe worth man who first began
The base ungenerous fashion,
From greedy views love's art to use
Whilst stranger to its passion.

From foreign fields my lovely youth
Hast to thy longing lassie,
Who pants to kiss thy balmy mouth,
And in her bosom press thee.
Love gives the word, then haste on board;
Fair winds and heedy boatman
Waft o'er, waft o'er from yonder shore,
My brave, my bonny Scotsman.