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Scottish Regiments
The Black Watch - The Garb of Old Gaul


Around 1748, the words of "the Garb of Old Gaul" were composed. Major Reid (one of the most accomplished flute players of his age) set them to music of his own composition. It was originally written in English by Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Erskine, Bart. An excellent translation into Gaelic was done by Captain M'Intyre. This was seen as a recruiting song of the times.


In the garb of old Gaul, with the fire of old Rome.
From the heath-covered mountains of Scotia we come;
Where the Romans endeavored our country to gain,
But our ancestors fought, and they fought not in vain.

Such our love of liberty, our country, and our laws,
That, like our ancestors of old, we stand by freedom's cause;
We'll bravely fight, like heroes bright, for honor and applause,
And defy the French, with all their arts, to alter our laws.

No effeminate customs our sinews embrace,
No luxurious tables enervate our race;
Our loud-sounding pipe bears the true martial strain,
So do we the old Scottish valor retain.

As a storm in the ocean when Boreas blows,
So are we enraged when we rush on our foes;
We sons of the mountains, tremendous as rocks,
Dash the force of our foes with our thundering strokes.

We're tall as the oak on the mount of the vale,
Are swift as the roe which the hound doth assail,
As the full moon in autumn our shields do appear,
Minerva would dread to encounter our spear.

Quebec and Cape Breton, the pride of old France,
In their troops fondly boasted till we did advance;
But when our claymores they saw us produce,
Their courage did fail, and they sued for a truce.

In our realm may the fury of faction long cease,
May our councils be wise and our commerce increase,
And in Scotia's cold climate may each of us find,
That our friends still prove true and our beauties prove kind.

Then we'll defend our liberty, our country, and our laws,
And teach our late posterity to fight in freedom's cause,
That they like our ancestors bold, for honor and applause,
May defy the French, with all their arts, to alter our laws.


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