Neil Gow (1727–1807) was a famous fiddle player and composer from Scotland. He wrote this lament (a song which expresses sorrow) upon the death of his second wife. He and his first wife had 5 sons and 3 daughters and some of them were also musicians. After being widowed he married Margaret Urquhart and they shared a happy life until her death in 1805. It is said that Neil was so grief stricken that he stopped playing his fiddle. His friends convinced him to pick it up again and the first thing he played was this lament.