The Rowan Tree

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Melody - Scottish Minstrel, 1822; Seq. by Randy Ralph
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Carolina Oliphant, (Lady Nairne), 1766-1845

Oh! rowan tree, oh! rowan tree,
Thou'lt aye be dear to me,
En twin'd thou art wi' mony ties
O' hame and infancy.
Thy leaves were aye the first o' spring,
Thy flow'rs the simmer's pride;
There was na sic a bonnie tree
In a' the countrie side.
Oh! rowan tree.

2. How fair wert thou in simmer time,
Wi' a' thy clusters white,
How rich and gay thy autumn dress,
Wi' berries red and bright.
On thy fair stem were mony names,
Which now nae mair I see;
But thy're engraven on my heart,
Forgot they ne'er can be.
Oh! rowan tree.

3. We sat aneath thy spreading shade,
The bairnies round thee ran,
They pu'd thy bonnie berries red,
And necklaces they strang;
My mither, oh! I see her still,
She smiled our sports to see,
Wi' little Jeanie on her lap,
And Jamie on her knee.
Oh!, rowan tree.

4. Oh! there arose my father's prayer
In holy evening's calm;
How sweet was then my mother's voice
In the Martyr's psalm!
Now a'are gane! We meet nae mair
Aneath the rowan tree,
But hallowed thoughts around thee
Turn o'hame and infancy.
Oh! rowan tree.


The Rowan tree is also known as the European Mountain Ash or the Mountain Ash. The Celtic word is An Caorthann. An even older name of the tree is "luis", which corresponded to the second letter of the alphabet.

Rowan Tree takes its name from Celt and Scottish legends that tell of the magical Rowan tree symbolizing beauty, privacy, peace and sanctuary.

This tree was one of high magic, and was supposed to have magical powers, Its round wattles, spread with newly-flayed bulls' hides, were used by the Druids as a last extremity for compelling demons to answer difficult questions".

According to tradition, the tree would normally be planted at the door of the house for protection from evil spirits and give the occupants privacy, peace, and refuge. Also twigs might be placed over the byre door. Necklaces of rowan berries with red thread worn for protection by Highland women.

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