As an exclamation of sorrow or lamentation: ‘ah!’ ‘alas!’ Compare welladay , "wellanear", "well-a-wins".
Formerly often in "to sing wellaway", "my (his, her,etc.) song is wellaway".
The utterance of ‘wellaway’; lamentation.
Old English; earliest use found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History. From woe + lo + woe, perhaps as a variant of wale with partial reduplication.