Willie Williamson                [Coming Home]           SA1971.213.11

The words for this sentimental and ultimately sad song were composed by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887), and can be found in Sea and Shore – A Collection of Poems edited by Charles Kingsley, (Boston 1874). Willie Williamson learned the song while in Singapore from a seaman working on a ship of the Blue Funnel Line. He learned it because he liked the tune so much and found the words ‘in some book’.

Strathairly House, a listed building, lies just south-east of the village of Upper Largo with a good view out over the Largo Bay referred to in the song. It’s possible that Dinah Mulock Craig visited Strathairly House for her husband was a Scot who became a became a partner in the MacMillan publishing firm.  Roud no. 25901.

The lift is high and blue.
And the new moon glints through
The bonnie corn-stooks o’ Strathairly;
My ship’s in Largo Bay,
And I ken it weel, the way
Up the steep, steep braes of Strathairly.

When I sailed ower the sea,
A laddie bold and free,
As the dawn rose grey on Strathairly
But when I come back again,
‘Tis an old man walks his way,
Up the steep, steep braes of Strathairly.

Of the shearers that I see,
No a’ body kens me,
Though I ken them a’ in Strathairly ;
And the fisher-wife I pass,
Can she be the braw lass
I kissed at the back of Strathairly?

0h, the land ‘s fine, fine!
I could buy it a’ for mine,
My gold as the corn in Strathairly;
But I fain that lad would be,
That sailed o’er the blue sea,
As the dawn rose grey on Strathairly.