Community Song

Oneida Community in the early 1860s

Tony Wonderley, the excellent curator of the Oneida Community Mansion House, put a CD in my mail box here at the Mansion House.  On it was a recording of The Braes o’ Balquihidder, a Scottish song  written by Robert Tannahill (17441810). The reason for the early Christmas gift is that this is the tune that the Oneida Community’ song is based on and Tony wanted me to hear it.  It is quite lovely. It is wonderful to imagine the Community singing the Community Song to this tune in the Big Hall.

It is very probable that this song was the original melody for Wild Mountain Thyme.  “The Braes o’ Balquihidder” appeared twice in R.A. Smith’s Scottish Minstrel (18211824) – Vol I, p. 49 and Vol. IV, p. 89.  The latter air is a modification of the first and is called “The Three Carles o’ Buchanan.”

Irish traditional singer Elizabeth Cronin sang this song, too, but the tune was quite different. In The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin (Daubhi O Croinin, pub. 1999), the notes say “the song was composed  by the Scottish poet Robert Tannahill and set to music by R.A. Smith.” This might be the first version of Smith’s tune.

Balquihidder is pronounced bal’-wither.  The village of Balquidder lies in central Scotland and is mainly known for being the burial place of Rob Roy.  To this day the entire village consists of a cemetery and church ruins, a community center, a B&B, a shop or two and some absolutely breathtaking scenery.

Here is the recording of The Braes o’ Balquihidder …. Braes o’ Balquhidder

Here is the recording of the song Wild Mountain Thyme sung by The Byrds in the 1960s.  The melody is clearly based on the The Braes o’ Balquihidder ….  Wild Mountain Thyme

Here are the lyrics that the Oneida Community wrote to the melody of The Braes o’ Balquihidder ….

Community Song

Let us go, brothers, go

To the Eden of heart-love,

Where the fruits of life grow,

And no death e’er can part love;

Where the pure currents flow

From all gushing hearts together,

And the wedding of the Lamb

Is the feast of joy forever.

Let us go, brothers, go!


We will build us a dome

On our beautiful plantation,

And we’ all have one home,

And one family relation;

We’ll battle with the wiles

Of the dark world of Mammon,

And return with it’s spoils

To the home of our dear ones.

Let us go, brothers, go!


When the rude winds of wrath

Idly rave round our dwelling,

And the slanderer’s breath

Like a simoon is swelling,

Then so merrily we’ll sing

As the storm blusters o’er us,

Til the very heavens ring

With our hearts joyful chorus.

Let us go, brothers, go!


Now love’s sunshine begun,

And the spirit-flowers are blooming;

And the feeling that we’re one

All our hearts is perfuming;

Towards one home let us all

Set our faces together

Where true love shall dwell

In peace and joy forever.

Let us go, brothers, go!




  1. Patricia Hoffman said,

    December 8, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Excellent. Now all we need to do is find someone to record it with the Community words.

  2. tontine 255 said,

    December 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Why not try recording it with the young singers that sang at the Mansion House open house?

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