Adams (1735-1826): American Attorney; Politician; 2nd President of the United
States of America (1797-1801)
Many of them were Scotchmen in their plaids and their music was
delightful. Even the bagpipe was not disagreeable.
Adams: Television Presenter, journalist and UNICEF UK Ambassador
only change when we see the horrific consequences of our inactivity.
the reluctance of governments to give cash to Third World countries 1992)
celebrate] the Scottish people. I know that sounds cheesy but you could
live in the land of milk and honey where the sun shines all day and if
you didn’t feel comfortable with the people you were with, it would be
worth absolutely nothing.
Adamson (1863-1936): Politician, Secretary of State for Scotland (Labour)
that government policy is to subordinate Scottish administration to
Whitehall to a far greater extent than has ever been the case and to
remove from Scotland practically the last vestige of independent
government and nationhood and to have its centre in London.
William Adamson was attacking his own Labour Government!
Leader of Scottish Labour MSPs (2007-2008)
never been one of those who believe that uniquely Scotland is incapable
of standing on its own two feet.
[Labour] have no divine right to be elected, no automatic call on the
Professional Boxer; World Heavyweight Champion
heard of a man named Burns – supposed to be a poet;
if he was, how come I didn’t know it?
told me his work was very, very neat,
replied: ‘But who did he ever beat?’
visit to Burns Country 1965)
Emily Angus (1865-1946):
sometimes told my poetry is pretty pagan, with no religious message in
it and this I believe to be true. Somehow I cannot tackle big ideas
altho’ I am not a heathen.
Quhen Alessandre oure King wes deid
That Scotland lede in luf and le'
Awa wes sonse of aill and breid,
Off wyne and walx, of gamyn and gle;
Oure gold wes chngeit into leid,
The frute wes falyeit fra everie tree'
Christ, born into virgynyte'
Succour Scotland and remeid,
That stad is in perplexitie !
Andrew Wyntoun – Orygynale Cronykill of Scotland)
shape yer sheen wi yer ain shauchelt feet. (You shape your shoes with
your own shuffling feet.)
As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens.
Anonymous (16th Century)
Brissit brawnis and brokin banis,
Stride, discord and waisite wanis; (broken homes)
Crukit in eild, syne halt withal- (old age)
Thir are the bewties of the fute-ball.
(The Bewties of the Fute-ball)
To Christ, that took our vile nature,
For thee to suffer passioun,
Go, heart unto thy Saviour.
richt humill and meek,
Go, heart, as leal and true servitour,
To him that heill is for all seek,
Go, heart, unto thy Saviour.
(The Gude and Godlie Ballatis 1567)
natural love of your native cunyre suld be inseperblye rutit in your
hartis, considerand that your lyvis, your bodies, your habitatone, your
frendis, your lyvyngis, and sutentain, your hail, your pace, your
refuge, the rest of your eild ande your sepulture is in it.
of Scotland 1549)
Triumphans (at last victorious)
slogan, probably, adorned the Jacobite Standard raised at Glenfinnan in 1745
but certainly did so by the time the Jacobite army entered Perth on 3
September 1745. A replica (pictured here) of the Jacobite Standard was made
for the 1745 Association in 1964 by Association member Pat Newton. An
excellent account of the story of the banner is to be found on the
Association website -
www.1745association.org.uk - along with much other information on
the ill-fated Rising.
we a’ be,
Ill may we never see;
Here’s to the King
And the gude companie.
were deills, our Marquesses were mad,
Our Earls were evil, our Viscounts yet more bad,
Our Lords were villains, and our Barons knaves
Who wish our burrows did sell us for slaves.
the church, they sold the State and Nation,
They sold their honour, name and reputation,
They sold their birthright, peerages and places
And now they leave the House with angrie faces.
(Verses on the
Scots Peers 1706)
o the Wanchancie Covenant.
of Union (1707) Toast)
that Marshal Wade
May by Thy mighty
May he sedition crush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to crush
God save the King.
(English National Anthem 3rd Verse)
this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American
rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scotch Irish Presbyterian
Officer on American War of Independence 1778)
Wha will ride
wi’ gallant Murray
Wha will ride
for Geordie’s sel’
He’s the pride
o’ Glen Isla
darling o’ Dunkeld’
See the white
rose in his bonnet
See his banner
o’er the Tay
His guid sword
he now has drawn it
And has flung
his sheath away.
song about the byous Lord George Murray, the outstanding
Jacobite commander, which was published in Hogg’s Jacobite Relics. Lord
George Murray (1694-1760), son of John Murray, 1st Duke of
Atholl. Was out in both the 15 and 19 Jacobite Ridings and after a few
years fighting abroad he was pardoned and returned to Scotland in the
late 1720s. In spite of many reservations he joined Prince Charles
Edward Stewart in Perth during the 45 Rising. His relationship with the
Prince was always fragile, In spite of the comment by Fitzroy Maclean
that Lord George was “the military genius of the 45”, the Prince
listened to others!. He proved his military skill at Prestonpans, the
retreat from Derby and Clifton, and the last major Jacobite victory at
Falkirk, Murray didn’t want to fight at Culloden, but the right wing, under
his command, was the only section to leave the field in reasonably good
order and he proceeded to Ruthven. On receiving the order to disband he went
to France and died in exile in 1760.
Anonymous (19th Century)
The Free Kirk,
The Wee Kirk,
The Kirk without the steeple:
The Auld Kirk,
The cauld Kirk,
The Kirk without the people.
(The Sabbath day Eighteen-Forty-Three)
Anonymous 19th Century)
up, guidwife, and shak your feathers,
And dinna think that we are beggars,
For we are bairnies come out to play,
Rise up and gie’s our Hogmanay.
(A rhyme chanted by bairns when guising at Hogmanay)
From the lone
sheiling of the misty island
divide us, and the waste of the seas –
Yet still the
blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in
dreams behold the Hebrides.
Song in Blackwood’s Magazine September 1829)
will France win must with Scotland first begin.
close and down the stair,
In the house with Burke and Hare;
Burke’s the butcher, Hare’s the thief,
Knox, the man who buys the beef.
Headline, The Scotsman 10 November 2007 – celebrating Glasgow being awarded
the 2014 Commonwealth Games by 47 votes to 24)
Thaim wi a
guid Scots tongue in their heid are fit tae gaun ower the warld.
A Scot is a man
who keeps the Sabbath – and every other doggone thing he can lay his
un Ecossais – Proud as a Scot.
der Schotte kommt – Wait until the Scot comes and gets ye!
Proverb used to fleg naughty bairns)
Physician to Queen Anne, Scholar and Satirist
political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies.
English Poet and Critic
I am very
glad to have seen the Caledonian Canal, but don’t want to see it again.
(Letter to his
Professional Boxer: Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist 1998
thing from start to finish – getting kitted out in your kilt and feeling
part of a Scottish national team was a tremendous feeling. To compete for
Scotland at the Commonwealth Games was by far the greatest experience (than
representing Britain at the Olympics) because you could wear the blue and
people knew that you were from Scotland. To win the gold medal just made it
Glasgow’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games 6 November 2007)
Journalist and Author
Scotland is not really within the category of ‘capitalist economies’ as
they are usually classified. Neither is it socialist. It hangs somewhere
between Eastern and Western Europe, a stateist economy without a state.
(1900-1972): English Comedian
I have never had to try to get
my act across to a non-English speaking audience, except at the
Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (1848-1930):
Politician, Prime Minister (1902-1905) and Statesman
Scottish theory…is that every country has need of Scotchmen, but that
Scotland has no need of the citizens of any other country.
matters much and very little matters at all.
Barbour (c1320-1895): Archbishop of Aberdeen, Poet
A! Freedom is ane nobil thing!
Freedom makis man to have liking,
Freedom all solace to man givis:
He livis at ease that freely livis!
A nobil hart may hae naen ease,
Na ellis nocht that may him pleise,
Gif freedom failye; for free liking
Is yairnit owre all other thing.
Barrie (1860-1937): Playwright and Novelist
boys we ran up the brae. As men and women, young and in our prime,
we almost forgot it was there. But the autumn of life comes, and the
brae grows steeper; then the winter, and once again we are as the
child pausing apprehensively on the brig. Yet we are no longer the
child; we look now or no new world at the top, only for a little
garden and a tiny house, and a handloom in the house. It is only a
garden of kail and potatoes, but there may be a line of daisies,
white and red, on each side of the narrow footpath, and honeysuckle
over the door. Life is not always hard, even after backs grow bent,
and we know that all braes lead only to the grave.
in Thrums 1889)
I am not young enough to know everything.
gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December.
remember being asked by two maiden ladies, about the time I left the
university, what I was to be, and when I replied brazenly, ‘An
author,’ they flung up their hands, and one exclaimed reproachfully,
‘And you an M.A.!’
(Margaret Ogilvy, Ch. 3, 1896)
forgotten the grandest moral attribute of a Scotsman, Maggie, that he’ll
do nothing which might damage his career.
Woman Knows, Act 1, 1908)
come of a race of men the very wind of whose name has swept to the
Address on Courage at St Andrews University 3 May 1922)
Ian O Bayne: Teacher and Political Activist
sacrifices made by the men of 1820 set a Scottish Agenda which – 170
years on – we have yet to complete.
(Scottish labour History review 1990)
Johnny Beattie: Comedian
Call me an
old square, but I like women to look feminine. They tend to dress down,
which I think is unappealing.
Brendan Francis Behan
(Irish: Breandán ó Breacháin)
(1923-1964): Irish Playwright
God help the poor Scotsmen - they'll never be free
But we're entirely surrounded by water.
(The Sea Around Us)
Graham Bell (1847-1922):
Watson, I want you.
telephone message when Bell spoke to his assistant Thomas Watson 9
one door closes another door opens, but we often look so long and so
regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which
open for us.
A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with – a man
is what he makes of himself.
Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953):
French-born English Writer, Poet and Politician
one of those who always think it is fun to be in Scotland.
Benedetti: Classical Musician
on tour so often, in fact, enhances my appreciation and pride in being
from Scotland. In such a competitive world I believe it is my Scottish
roots that have enabled me to keep a sincere and realistic approach to
everything I do.
Bernard de Linton (? – 1331): Abbot of Arbroath Abbey, Bishop of the
Isles and Chancellor of Scotland
long as a hundred remain alive, we will never in any degree be subject
to the domination of the English. Since it is not for glory, riches or
honour that we fight but for liberty alone which no good man loses but
with his life.
(Scottish Declaration of Independence, letter to Pope John XXII sealed by
the barons of Scotland at Arbroath Abbey 6 April 1320)
I’m a big
fan of Robert Burns’ work. It’s difficult not to be. His work was so
incredibly rich. In so many ways Burns is the high point for Scottish
poetry. Hopefully, the continued interest in him, both at home and
abroad, will encourage an ongoing following for our cultural heritage
and also provoke people to look at the extraordinary talent Scotland has
to offer today.
Thurso Berwick (born Maurice Blythman) (1919 - 1981):
Teacher, Folklorist, Political Activist, Singer and Songwriter)
the Twa, nae Lillibet the Wan,
Nae Liz will ever dae,
We’ll mak oor land republican
In a Scottish breakaway.
Coronach aka The Scottish Breakaway)
Besant (1836-1901): English Writer
Wherever the pilgrim turns his feet, he finds Scotsmen in the forefront
of civilization and letters. They are the premiers in every colony,
professors of every university, teachers, editors, lawyers, engineers
and merchants – everything and always at the front.
John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895):
Political Activist, Scholar, Man of Letters and Educationalist
Scotland forgets Burns, then history will forget Scotland.
What I want are
three things – first, a great cause; second, a great battle; third, a
Flagnote: As a
Nationalistic Scot Blackie fought many great causes, many battles and as
with his backing of a Chair in Celtic Language and Literature in the
University of Edinburgh, some magnificent victories. He had a great love of
the Gaelic tongue and this led him to leading a campaign for a Celtic Chair
at his University of Edinburgh. By 1879, thanks largely to his efforts the
necessary £12,000 had been received or pledged – including £200 from Queen
R Blake (1893-1961): Novelist
labour in drudgery, to remain submerged, to be dumb under hard
conditions of industry and living – these are not traditions with the
working class Scot. He is of a free race, he thinks deeply, he feels
passionately, and acts vigorously, even though these actions are forced
into illogically by the passion that prompts them…The Scottish
labouring-class is a force that must and will assert itself in
self-defence, for that is the inevitable.
of the Scots 1919)
The living conditions almost anywhere in the industrial belt
[of Scotland] are quite enough to drive any man to drink.
(The Heart of Scotland
(1943-1998): Poet, Writer and Editor
gods kicking a world about
The players flail at the ball.
Their brains are in their feet,
Their single mind is fixed on goal.
Yet ‘Epilogue’ 1978)
It is so
In Scotland, land of the omnipotent No.
(A Memory of
(Bob) John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head (1900-1986):
statesman is judged by results. If his policy fails he goes. It may
be unfair, but there is a kind of rough justice about it.
Compassion? It marches hand in hand with moderation. And here,
with an appalling lapse, the Scottish record is not too bad. The
lapse, I need hardly remind you, was the Reformation, as it took
place in this land and in this town [St Andrews]. It brought the
Renaissance to an end; and plunged Scotland into a long dark
night, from which she was ultimately rescued by Robert Burns.
Address on Tolerance at St Andrews University 17 April 1959)
James Boswell, 9th Laird of Auchinleck (1740-1795): Lawyer,
Diarist and Author
man born to a fortune cannot make himself easier and freer than those
who are not, he gains nothing.
struck with the noble sentiments of liberty of the old Scots and they
expressed their regret at the shameful Union. I felt true patriot
sorrow. Oh, infamous rascals who sold the honour of your country to a
nation against which our ancestors supported themselves with so much
glory. But I say no more, only, alas, poor Scotland.
across a copy of the Declaration of Scottish Independence sealed at Arbroath
Abbey on 6 April 1320 in the university library in Leipzig whilst on the
the musick of the bagpipes every day, at Armadale, Dunvegan and Col. Dr
[Samuel] Johnson appeared fond of it, and used often to stand for some
time with his ear close to the great drone.
a Tour to the Hebrides 1785)
Drinking is in reality an occupation which employs a
considerable portion of the time of many people; and to conduct it in
the most rational and agreeable manner is one of the great arts of
take the tea-towel or shortbread tin thing and not be damaged by it
because his work is so good.
19 December 2008)
Bridie (born Osborne Henry Mavor) (1888-1951): Playwright and Doctor
gi’e as a guid conceit o’ oursel’s’ is the Scotsman’s most earnest
(One Way of
is a sign of satisfied ignorance, blunted apprehension, crass
sympathies, dull understanding, feeble powers of attention, and
irreclaimable weakness of character.
Bronte (1816-1855): English Writer
always liked Scotland as an idea, but now, as a reality. I like it
far better… and who indeed that has once seen Edinburgh, with its
couchant crag-lion, but must see it again in dreams waking or
sleeping? My dear Sir, do not think I blaspheme when I tell you that
your Great London as compared to Dun-Edin ‘mine own romantic town’
is as prose compared to poetry, or as a great rumbling, rambling,
heavy Epic – compared to a lyric, bright, brief, clear and vital as
a flash of lightning. You have nothing like Scott’s Monument, or, if
you had that and all the glories of architecture assembled together,
you have nothing like Arthur’s Seat, and above all you have not the
Scotch National Character – and it is that grand character after all
which gives the land its true charm, its true greatness.
Mary Brooksbank (1897-1978):
Jute Mill Worker, Political Activist, Poet, Singer and Songwriter
me, the warld’s ill divided,
Them that work the hardest are aye wi least provided,
But I maun bide contented, dark days or fine,
There’s no much pleasure living affen ten and nine.
(Oh Dear Me aka Jute Mill
Poet, Author and Dramatist
Scotland I sing
the Knox ruined nation
that poet and saint
must rebuild with passion.
a growing coldness – the coldness of people who have received the fatal
blessing of prosperity.
Oliver Brown (1903-1976): Teacher, Political Activist and Propagandist
The Lord in his wisdom gave us the Cheviots as a defensive
barrier. We really needed the
While Scotland became North
Britain, England never became South Britain.
of the country now called England – that part of the country now called
Scotland.” These phrases from Clause 9 of the Treaty [of union 1707]
show that its drafters actually intended to destroy even the memory of
such names as “England” and Scotland.” To describe yourself as a
“Unionist” and a “Scotsman” is therefore impossible, since the first
term implies the abolition of the second.
 was essentially a suicide pact. According to English law the sole
survivor of such a pact is guilty of murder.
not sacrilege to build the churches of Liverpool and Bristol with the
profits of the slave trade. Nor was it sacrilege to accept for the
revenues of the London diocese the ground-rents for brothels in
Paddington. But when some Scots recovered for their country a national
symbol which belonged to it and which had been reset in an Abbey, that
It is only
when nationality is openly recognised that we meet other people on equal
terms. Otherwise we feel subconsciously inferior to them and compensate
for that inferiority by our stupid arrogance (“Here’s tae us!”).
(The Wisdom of Oliver Brown – Nationality and Nationalism – Edited by David
R Rollo 1992)
romance of the ’45 was not the charm of the Prince but the morality of
the people who were not tempted by the £30,000 which any of them could
have claimed for betraying him, The statue at Glenfinnan is not to
honour Prince Charlie – but the men who fought and died for him – how
glad I was to discover that fact!
(The Wisdom of Oliver Brown – Jacobites – Edited by David R Rollo 1992)
Bruce (1909-2002): Poet, Writer, Critic and Broadcaster
I go North to
cold, to home, to Kinnaird,
for our time.
This is the
outermost edge of Buchan
Inland the sea
leaf has salt upon it,
The tree turns
to the low stone wall.
Journalist and Novelist
In Scotland, no occasion of joy or sorrow, of national
celebration or traumatic change, is complete without the wandering
(The Captive Summer 1979)
John Buchan, 1st
Baron Tweedsmuir of Enfield (1875-1940): Author and Diplomat
If we are
to have clear and sound thinking, the people must take politics very
seriously and be very well informed about them.
‘Literature and Life’ 1910)
think a wall as solid as the earth separates civilisation from
barbarism. I tell you the division is a sheet of glass.
(The Power House 1913)
great life if you don’t weaken.
the first and biggest fact in our history, and from that poverty the
Scottish race learned certain qualities which only come from a hard
school. It learned that nothing comes without effort, and that we value
most what costs us most…. Then again, poverty teaches self-reliance and
effort. It hardens the fibre of a man and toughens his character. And
most of all, it makes a man take risks in life. The more comfortable we
are the more likely we are to be sluggish and unenterprising and timid.
that every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist. If it could be
proved that a separate Scottish Parliament were desirable, that is to
say that the merits were greater than the disadvantages, Scotsmen should
support it. I would go further. Even if it were not proved desirable, if
it could be proved desirable by any substantial majority of the Scottish
people, then Scotland should be allowed to make the decision.
House of Commons, Westminster, England 1932)
atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
rural population is shrinking and our industries are decaying. Our
ancient system of law and justice is not what it was. Our churches,
perhaps no longer have the same hold on the heart of our people, In
language, literature and art we are losing our idiom, and, it seems to
many, we are in danger of very soon reaching the point where Scotland
will have nothing distinctive to show the world.
the House of Commons, London, England 22 November 1932)
is a revolt against the despotism of facts.
experience, especially in youth, is quickly overlaid by others, and is
not at the moment fully comprehended. But it is overlaid, not lost. Time
hurries it from us, but also keeps it in store, and it can be recaptured
later and amplified by memory, so that at leisure we can interpret its
meaning and enjoy its savour.
Hold the Door 1940)
hundred yards may be a breathless business if only for a few seconds are
granted to complete it.
Buchan (1922-1990): Politician, Folklorist and Teacher
normal sign of a bad song is that it calls Scotland ‘Caledonia’.
Robert Williams Buchanan (1841-1901): English Poet, Essayist, Novelist,
Playwright, Theatre Producer, Publisher, Editor and Actor
wedding of Shon Maclean,
Twenty Pipers together
Came in the wind and the rain
Playing across the heather;
Backward their ribbons flew,
Blast upon blast they blew,
Each clad in tartan new,
Bonnet, and blackcock feather:
And every Piper was fou,
Twenty Pipers together!
(The Wedding of Shon Maclean)
Born in Caverswell, Stafford, England, his father was a native of Ayr,
the family moved to Glasgow in 1850 where Buchanan was educated at the
High School and University.
Thomas Buckle (1821-1862): English Historian
essential antagonism which still exists between the Scotch and English
minds; an antagonism extremely remarkable, when found among nations,
both of whom, besides being contiguous, and constantly mixing together,
speak the same language, read the same books, belongs to the same empire
and possess the same interests, and yet are, in many important respects,
as different as if there had never been any means of their influencing
each other, and as if they had never had anything in common.
(History of Civilization in England)
Scotch always had one direction in which they could speak and act with
unrestrained liberty. In politics they found their vent. Their mind was
free. And this was their salvation.
Civilisation in England 1857-1862)
of Destiny’ is an entertaining caper that makes you a little prouder to
Review – Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser 15 October 2008)
takes three hundred years to build an army that’s admired and respected
around the world. But it only takes three years pissing about in the
desert in the biggest foreign policy disaster ever to fuck it up
(Black Watch 2006)
Burley: Footballer, Scottish Internationalist (11 caps) and Scotland’s
Scotsman I have a vision to do well for my country and I can’t ask for
more than the opportunity to take it to the World Cup finals. There is a
tingle of excitement running through me just thinking about it.
Scotsman 25 January 2008)
Grown-ups should be allowed to go to hell with their own vices –
cigarettes, cholesterol, chocolate or chips – intact.
(Protesting against National No Smoking Day 1992)
things in excess are bad for us, including current surfeit of food
fascist, born-again non-smokers, and po-faced teetotallers. I would
rather tread the primrose path with Rab C Nesbitt, glass in hand and
Burns (1759 - 1796): National Bard, Poet and Songwriter
had the least thought or inclination of turning Poet till I got once
heartily in love, and the rhyme and song were, in a manner, the
spontaneous language of my heart. The following composition [Handsome
Nell, 1774] was the first of my performances. It is, indeed, very
puerile and silly; but I am always pleased with it, as it recalls to my
mind those happy days when my heart was yet honest, and my tongue was
Commonplace Book, August 1783)
Ramsay an’ famous Ferguson
Gied Forth an’ Tay a lift aboon;
Yarrow an’ Tweed, to monie a tune,
Owre Scotland rings,
While Irwin, Lugar, Aire an’ Doon,
Illissus, Tiber, Thames an’ Seine,
Glide sweet in monie a tunefu’ line;
But Willie set your fit to mine,
An’ cock your crest,
We’ll gar our streams an’ burnies shine
Up wi’ the best.
Simpson May 1785)
We'll sing COILA'S plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,
Her banks an' braes her dens an' dells,
Where glorious WALLACE
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,
Frae Suthron billies.
At WALLACE' name, what Scottish blood,
But boils up in a spring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearless fathers strode
By WALLACE' side,
Still pressing onward, red-wat-shod,
Or glorious dy'd!
Leeze me on drink!
It gies us mair
Than either school or college;
It kindles wit, it waukens lear,
It pangs us fou o knowledge:
Be’t whisky-gill or penny wheep,
Or onie stronger potion,
It never fails, on drinkin deep,
To kittle up our notion,
By night or day.
(The Holy Fair 1785)
thou art no thy-lane,
In praising foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!
Mouse, November 1785)
weary life this lesson learn
That Man was made to mourn!
Made To Mourn, 1785)
when mankind were but callans;
At grammar, logic, an’ sic talents,
They took nae pains their speech to balance,
Or rules to gie;
But spak their thoughts in plain, braid Lallans,
Like you or me.
Simpson of Ochiltree, May 1785)
A fig for
those by law protected!
Liberty’s a glorious feast,
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest!
Beggars ‘Love and Liberty’ 1785)
me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire,
That’s a’ the learning I desire;
Then tho’ I drudge thro’ dud an’ mire
At pleugh or cart,
My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
(Epistle to J. Lapraik 1 April 1785)
some `Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!
(To A Louse 1786)
the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:
(The Cotter’s Saturday Night 1786)
halesome Parritch, chief o’ SCOTIA’S food.
(The Cotter’s Saturday Night 1786)
never, never SCOTIA’S realm desert,
But still the Patriot, and the Patriot-Bard,
In bright succession raise, her Ornament and Guard!
Cotter’s Saturday Night 1786)
my auld, respected Mither!
Tho’ whyles ye moistify leather,
Till whare ye sit, on craps o’ heather,
Ye tine your dam;
FREEDOM and WHISKY gang thegither
Tak aff your dram!
Ernest Cry and Prayer to the Right Honourable and Honourable, Scotch
representatives in the House of Commons 1786)
gath’rin votes ye were na slack;
Now stand as tightly by your tack;
Ne’er claw your lug, an’ fidge your back,
An’ hum an’ haw;
But raise your arm. An’ tell your crack
Before them a’.
Earnest Cry and Prayer to the Right Honourable and Honourable, Scotch
Representatives in the House of Commons 1786)
Scotia’s darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow’rs,
Where once beneath a Monarch’s feet
Sat Legislation’s sov’reign pow’rs!
While the story of Wallace
poured a Scottish prejudice into my veins which will boil along
there until the flood-gates of life shut in eternal rest.
(Letter to Dr John Moore 2
This morning I knelt at the
tomb of Sir John the Graham, the gallant friend of the immortal
Wallace; and two hours ago I said a fervent prayer for old Caledonia
over the hole in the whinstone, where Robert de Bruce fixed his
royal standard on the banks of Bannockburn.
(Letter to Robert Muir of
Kilmarnock 26 August 1787)
break my heart, thou warbling bird,
That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:
Thou minds me o’ departed joys,
Departed never to return.
(Ye Banks and
for poor auld Scotland’s sake
Some usefu’ plan or book could make,
Or sing a sang at least.
Gudewife of Wauchope-House, March 1787)
tales to tell,
And we hae sangs to sing;
We hae pennies to spend
And we hae pints to bring.
(Hey, Ca’ Thro’ 1787)
I like to have quotations ready for every occasions -
they give one's ideas so pat and save one the trouble of finding
expression adequate to one's feeling.
there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
o’ Cakes and brither Scots,
Frae Maidenkirk to Johnny Groats! –
If there’s a hole in a’ your coats,
I rede you tent it:
A chield’s amang you taking notes,
And, faith he’ll prent it.
(On The Late
Captain Groses’s Peregrinations Thro’ Scotland 1789)
Gie a' the faes o
to the Toothache 1789)
“Alas,” have I often said to myself, “what are all the
boasted advantages which my country reaps from the
Union that can
counter-balance the annihilation of her independence, and even her very
(Letter to Mrs Dunlop
10 April 1790)
Is there no daring
Bard will rise and tell
How glorious Wallace stood, how hapless fell?
Where are the Muses fled that could produce
A drama worthy o the name o Bruce?
(Scots Prologue for Mrs
Sutherland, March 1790)
Flagnote: Robert Burns
wrote the prologue for Mrs Sutherland’s benefit night – she was the wife of
George Sutherland, manager of a company of Comedians, who were at that time
in Dumfries, and were raising subscriptions for the new Theatre Royal in the
town. Bards did respond to the plea from Burns as the plays by Sydney
Goodsir Smith - ‘The Wallace’ - and Professor Robert Silver - ‘The Hert o
Scotland’ - brought the story of Wallace and Robert I, King of Scots, to the
stage last century. Both deserve a revival by the new National Theatre of
Scotland – what a double-bill for the Edinburgh International Festival.
my farm business, I ride on my excise matters at least 200 miles every
week: I have not by any means given up the Muse. You will see in the
third volume of Johnson’s Scots Songs, that I have contributed my mite
Dunbar 4 January 1790)
for my friends’ and brethren’s sake,
And for my dear-lov’d Land o Cakes,
I pray with holy fire:
Lord, send a rough-shod troop o Hell
O’er a’ wad Scotland buy or sell,
To grind them in the mire!
Election Ballad – Dumfries Burghs 1790)
Gentle dames, it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen’d sage advices
The husband frae the wife despises!
give them music was his charge:
He screw’d the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.
o Shanter 1790)
piper loud and louder blew;
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reel’d, they set. They cross’d, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark!
Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory!
Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae famed in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands –
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.
(A Parcel of Rogues in a Nation)
I was born
a poor dog; and however I may occasionally pick up a better bone than I
used to do, I know I must live and die poor; but I will indulge the
flattering faith that my poetry will considerably outlive my poverty.
(Letter to Mrs
Graham of Fintry 1791)
be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw?
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’?
Let him on wi’ me!
(Scottish National Anthem – Bruce’s Address At Bannockburn (Scots Wha Hae)
hae wi’ WALLACE bled,
Scots, wham BRUCE has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed, -
Or to victorie. –
day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud EDWARD’S power,
Chain’s and Slaverie. –
SCOTLAND’S king and law.
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
FREE-MAN stand, or FREE-MAN fa’,
Let him follow me.
(Scottish National Anthem – Bruce’s Addresss At Bannochburn (Scots Wha Hae)
Yestreen, when to the trembling string,
The dance gaed thro’ the lighted ha’,
To thee my fancy took its wing,
I sat, but neither heard or saw:
Tho’ this was fair, and that was braw,
And yon the toast of a’ the town,
I sigh’d and said amang them a’,
‘Ye are na Mary Morrison.’
New-year I wish thee, Maggie!
Hae, there’s a ripp to thy auld baggie;
Tho’ thou’s howe-backet now, an’ knaggie,
I’ve seen the day,
Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie
Out owre the lay.
(The Auld Farmer’s New-Year Morning Salutation To His Auld Mare, Maggie – On
giving her the accustomed Ripp of Corn to Hansel in the New Year 1786)
bottle and an honest friend
What wad ye wish for mair man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?
(A Bottle and
lass o’ Inverness,
Nae joy nor
pleasure can she see;
For e’en and
morn she cries, alas!
And ay the
saut tear blin’s her e’e.
– Drumossie day-
day it was to me!
For there I
lost my father dear,
dear, and brethren three.
Lass of Inverness)
sitten down here, after seven and forty miles ridin, e’en as forjesket
and forniaw’d as a forfoughten cock, to gie you some notion o’ my
landlowper-like stravaguin sin the sorrowfu’ hour I sheuk hands and
parted wi’ auld Reekie.
William Nicol 1 June 1787)
Sir! Lay bare, with undaunted heart & steady hand, that horrid mass of
corruption called Politics & State-Craft! Dare to draw in their native
thinking VILLAINS whom no faith can fix –
whatever be the shibboleth of their pretended Party.
Captain William Johnston 13 November 1792)
art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
(A Red, Red
Independent of my enthusiasm as a Scotchman I have rarely met with any
thing in History which interests my feelings as a Man, equally with the
story of Bannockburn.
Sunday 26 August 1787, at the beginning of his Highland Tour, Robert Burns
visited the field of the Battle of Bannockburn (1314) with his friend
design’d yon lordlings slave
By Natures law design’d,
Why was an independent wish
E’er planted in my mind?
Mauchline there dwells six proper young belles,
The pride of the place and its neighbourhood a’;
Their carriage and dress, a stranger would guess,
In Lon’on or Paris they gotten it a’.
Miss Miller is fine, Miss Markland’s devine,
Miss Smith she has wit, and Miss Betty is braw;
There’s beauty and fortune to get wi’ Miss Morton:
But Armour’s the jewel o’ them a’.
of Mauchline 1784)
Europe’s eye is fixed on mighty things,
The fate of empires and the fall of kings;
While quacks of state must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.
of Woman – an Address written for actress Miss Louisa Fontenelle for her
Benefit Night in the Theatre Royal, Dumfries 26 November 1792)
Farewell to the
Highlands, farewell to the North –
The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth:
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
(My Heart’s in the
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!
(John Barleycorn: A Ballad)
We may be wise, or
rich, or great,
But never can be blest!
Nae treasures nor pleasures
Could make us happy lang;
The heart ay’s the part ay
That makes us right or wrang.
(Epistle To Davie, A
(?–1755): English Author and Tax Collector
common habit of the ordinary Highlander is far from being acceptable to
the eye….. this dress is called the quelt: and for the most part,
they wear the petticoat so very short, that in a windy day, going up a
hill, or stooping, the indecency of it is plainly discovered.
from A Gentleman in the North of Scotland To His Friend in London – Letter
XXII – published 1754)
of the Highlands is pure, and consequently healthy, insomuch that I have
known such cures done by it as might be thought next to miracles – I
mean in distemper of the lungs, as coughs, consumption & c.
from A Gentleman in the North of Scotland To His Friend in London –
Walker Bush: American Politician: US President
Scotland and the United States have long shared ties of family and
friendship, and many of our country’s most cherished customs and ideals
first grew to maturity on Scotland’s soil. The Declaration of Arbroath,
the Scottish declaration of Independence signed in 1320, embodied the
Scots’ strong dedication to liberty, and the Scots brought that
tradition to the New World. Sons and daughters of many Scottish clans
were among the first immigrants to settle in America, and their
determination and optimism helped build our nation’s character.
Gordon Byron, 6th Lord Byron (1788-1824): Poet
But I am half a Scot by birth, and bred
A whole one, and my heart flies to my head
As Auld Lang Syne brings
Scotland, one and all
Scotch plaids, Scotch snoods, the blue hills, and clear streams,
The Dee, the Don, Balgounie’s Brig’s black wall,
All my boy feelings, all my gentler dreams
Of what I then dreamt, clothed in their own pall,
Like Banqo’s offspring. Floating past me seems
My childhood in this childishness of mine;
I care not – ‘tis a glimpse of Auld Lang Syne.
Juan (1819-24, X, 17-18))
….They never fail who die
In a great cause. The block may soak their gore;
Their heads may sodden in the sun: their limbs
Be strung to city gates and castle walls,
But still their spirits walk abroad!