Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (Ord)
Keywords: love courting separation marriage disguise reunion
Found in: Britain(Scotland)


"'Twas on a chill November night... I overheard a fair maid... 'My love is far frae Sinnahard And fair Drumallachie." The singer asks her of her trouble, tries to convince her to marry him, then reveals he is her long-lost lover


Of the myriad Broken Token songs, this seems among the most literary, yet it seems fairly widespread in Scottish tradition. Most of the references are clearly Biblical:

"King David had a faithful friend": This is of course Saul's son Jonathan, and their love for each other is repeatedly mentioned in 1 Samuel (e.g. 18:1, 20:41).

"When Jacob saw his long-lost son": Refers to the reunion of Jacob and Joseph (Genesis 46:19f.)

Various versions also refer to a fair Queen of Scotland. In the case of Mary Stewart, this makes some sense, since she was known for her looks. One version, however, refers to Victoria. Whether this dates the song, or is just a funny error, I do not know. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Ord, p. 34-37, "Drummallochie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #2481
  3. BI, Ord034