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 The Hert O Scotland
by Robert S Silver
An Excerpt - Bruce's Address at Bannockburn
Read by Marilyn Wright

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KING: Noo men, gie me attention noo a meenit. There’s nae muckle time for speakin — an I harangued ye lang eneuch yestreen. I spak o haudin tae yer place an hoo aa depends on that — hoo ye mauna brak the dispositions we hae practised. Thae laist three month ye’ve wrocht fu hard, sweatin an strainin, an aye on the go. I haena gien ye muckle rest — I ken — but it’s aa been for this ae day. We’re tryin a terrible — an glorious — thing. Believe me nane kens better than mysel what I’m askin ye tae dae. The heavy—airmit men an iron—wrappit horse hae lang been the hert o an airmy’s micht. Blawin up wi greed an pride they hae become the very symbol o oppressive pooer — an yonder i the English lines ye can see them at their heichest. God hae mercy on us — for we are gaun forrit agin them —on fute agin their horse — little armour but spear, or aixe or sword. It’s never been dune afore — but as ye hae wrocht, I hae wrocht — an I think I hae made siccar that it will be dune the day — (growling cheers of assent from the MEN which the KING causes to subside by continuing with a shout) if— ye haud at them — haud at them — an never back an inch. An when the airrows o their archers come lichtenin on ye — dinna flinch — thinkin o Falkirk. There your schiltroms stude open tae the hail that struck them doon — stuide steady an bravely waitin the chairge o horse —but stood defenceless ower lang. That will no happen the day. We haena muckle horse — but what we hae, under guid Sir Robert Keith — I’m haudin back — the attack the English airchers as soon as they stain harassin ye. An at Falkirk ye waited for their cavalry. We’re no waitin the day. Our schiltroms maun gae forrit — an maun keep unbroken. Then their horse will come at us — ye maun tak the shock o their weicht — an keep aye that pressin forrit.

See them yonder — oppressors an tyrants ilka ane o them. What dae they hae here? Hames tae defend — Na! Wife an bairns the care for — Na! Hae they ony memories o their forefaithers amang thae hills an glens — ony crofts or fields? — Na! No a thing. Aa that belangs the them is hunders o miles awa. Naething but greed an lust for pooer brings them here. Yet they’re but men. Somewey i the crook o the thochts o ilka ane o them there’s a mindin o their ain country, their hame. Tae that they can retreat — an be safe. They can afford tae be beatin. Cin we but dunt them sair eneuch they’ll brak an flee tae whaur they ken they’ll be safe. But for us — whaur is there safety? Whaur can we retreat tae if we suld fail? Tae the hills, tae begin again aa the hidin an weary warslin o the laist ten or twenty, no, thirty years. This is oor hame, this Scotland, this oor kingdom, oor hearth, oor bairn an wife, oor law an custom. Here on this field is aa that we possess — lockit deep i the hert o ilka ane o’s. They can afford tae lose — we canna. For us there’s nae safety — baur we win. Determine noo that raither than slip back that temptin inch that micht seem tae gie safety i the heat o battle we’ll raither step anither inch forrit tae siccar daith — for that will gie — victory — an freedom, the them that live on — tae the auld, an the wives an bairns, tae oor everlaistin Scotland. The inch step back micht save oursels for the meenit — but if we lose this day —its daith an torture nae only for aa o oorsels — but for ilka ane o oor fowk unless they gie in tae become the slaves, the beasts o burden, the baubles o the English — an Scotland wad be forgotten — an auld tale o the past — jist a bit o England’s dominions — a province — a shire. Wull ye lat that be? Was it for that, that lang, lang ago yer faithers stoppt imperial Rome? Think on it! Through aa lang history this pairt o the world hae never been ocht else but free. This day we hae the chance tae keep that honour savit clear.

This is oor glory

That Scotland is oor Kingdom, that her laws
Alane dae we acknowledge
— that this day
We live i freedom —
an this nicht
Gin we be deid, we keepit liberty
Richt tae the end.

English trumpets sound very near. Two FRIARS enter, bow to the KING, who acknowledges them, then continues.

They soond their trumpets noo
An say the hoor is come. Noo then wi me
Seek God’s great blessin on oor richt an cause
An Jesus mercy on oor sins
— then tak the field.

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