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In 1775, John Tait, a writer to the Signet, and judge of one of the minor courts in Edinburgh in the 1770s, wrote these lines to the tune of Langolee, an Irish ballad.
The song was initially published in the Pennsylvania Ledger published in Philadelphia; later, in 1779, it was published in Edinburgh.
'Twas summer, and softly the breezes were blowing, And sweetly the nightingale sang from the tree.
At the foot of a hill, where the river was flowing, I sat myself down on the banks of the Dee.
Flow on, lovely Dee, flow on thou sweet river Thy banks, purest stream shall be dear to me ever;
For there I first gain'd the affection and favor Of Jamie, the glory and pride of the Dee.
But now he has gone from me and left me thus mourning To quell the proud rebels, for valiant is he;
But ah! There's no hope of his speedy returning To wander again on the banks of the Dee.
He's gone, hapless youth, o'er the rude roaring billows, The kindest, the sweetest, of all his brave fellows
And left me to stray 'mongst these once loved willows The loneliest lass on the banks of the Dee.
But time and my prayers may perhaps yet restore him Blest peace may restore my dear lover to me.
And when he returns, with such care I'll watch o'er him He never shall leave the sweet banks of the Dee.
The Dee will then flow, all its beauty displaying The lambs on its banks will again be seen playing
Whilst I, with my Jamie, am carelessly straying And tasting again all the sweets of the Dee.
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