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Scots Language
Poetry and Prose Quotes

Here's a health to them that's awa',
Here's a health to them that's awa',
And wha winna wish gude luck to our cause,
May never gude luck be their fa'!
It's gude to be merry and wise,
It's gude to be honest and true,
It's gude to support Caledonia's cause,
And bide by the buff and the blue.

Frae - Here's a Health to Them That's Awa' - Robert Burns

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen,
A gate I fear I'll dearly rue:
I gat my death frae twa sweet een,
Twa lovely een o' bonie blue!
'Twas not her golden ringlets bright,
Her lips like roses wat wi' dew,
Her heaving bosom lily-white:
It was her een sae bonie blue.

Frae - The Blue-Eyed Lassie - Robert Burns

Thae curst horse-leeches o's th' Excise,
Wha mak the Whisky stells their prize!
Haud up thy han' Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, sieze the blinkers!
An' bake them up in brunstane pies
For poor d--n'd Drinkers.

Frae - Scotch Drink - Robert Burns

Auld Scotland has a raucle tongue;
She's just a devil wi a rung;
An if she promise auld or young
To tak their part,
Tho by the neck she should be strung,
She'll no desert.

Frae The Author's Earnest Cry and Prayer - Robert Burns

Rainy, rainy rattlestanes,
Dinna rain on me;
Rain on Johnny Groat's houss,
Faur ayont the sea!

Bairn's Rhyme

Alang wi mony ither folk athort the warld, the Scots Pairlament haudit a three meinit silence at  at twal nuin on Wednesday the 5 Januar tae shaw britherheid wi an murnin for aw thaim that hiv haed tae dree the awfu effects o the Indian Ocean tsunami.  Flags wis floun at hauf mast for the hail day.  The pairlament's Presidin Officer, George Reid MSP, said that the Maimbers an staff o the Scots Pairlament expressit thair deep sympathy tae aw thaim that wis affectit bi the tsunami an that the humanitarian repone tae this muckle stramash bi the folk o the Scots nation haes been immediate, guidwillie an herty gien.

Frae The Scots Pairlament an the Tsunami - Scots Tung Wittens, Februar 2005

There was a couthy Packman, I kent him weel aneuch,
The simmer he was quartered within the Howe o' Tough;
He sleepit in the barn end amo' the barley strae
But lang afore the milkers he was up at skreek o' day,
An furth upon the cheese stane set his reekin' brose to queel
While in the caller strype he gied his barkit face a sweel;
Syne wi' the ell-wan' in his neive to haud the tykes awa'
He humpit roon' the countryside to clachan, craft an' ha'.

  frae The Packman - Charles Murray

Joy Hendry, editor o the kenspeckle literary magazine, Chapman, haes been gien an Honorary Doctorate bi Edinburgh University.The ceremony taen place on the 28 Januar 2005 in the McEwan Ha, Edinburgh. Colin Donati, John Law an ane or twa ithers frae the Scots Language movement wis praisent at the ceremony. Joy said she wis clearly gien this honour for, amang ither things, aw the wark she haes dune ower the years fir the Scots language campaign an that it’s maist byordinar for folk like herself tae be gien thae sort o things.

Scots Tung Wittins jynes in wi the lave o the Scots language movement tae congratulate Joy an wish her aw the best for the oncome.

                                      Dr Hendry’s Joy – Scots Tung Wittins Mairch 2005

It wes wi mukkil dule that I read o the daith o yon byornair makkar and playwricht - Alexander Scott.
Alang wi makkars sik as the unquhile an sairlie missed Sydney Goodsir Smith an Robert Garioch, Alexander Scott mair nor pleyed his pairt in gien a heize in verse ti the guid Scots tung i the saicont wave o the Scottish Literary Revival.  It wes fell fittin that in 1985 he follaed i the fit-steps o Hugh MacDiarmid an Robert McLellan as Honorary Preses o the Scots Leid Societie.  Throu his daily darg at Glesca Universitie, an his wark fir organisations sik as the Association fir Scottish Leterary Studies, the Saltire Societie an the Scots Leid Societie, he did mair nor maist, fir ti forder the staunin o Scottish Literature an the Mither Tung.

Frae Coronach Fir A Makkar - Peter D Wright, Scots Independent (November 1989)

1. And it cam aboot, whan he gaed intil the hoose o' ane o' the heid anes amang the Pharisees, on a Sabbath, to eat breid, that they war unco gleg watchin him.

2. And look!  thar was a particular man afore him, and he was dropsical.

3. And, answerin, Jesus spak to the Writers and the Pharisees, sayin, "Is it lawfu', on the Sabbath, to heal, or no?"  But they spak-na.

4. And takin haud o' him,  he heal't him, and sent him awa: 

5. And said to them, "Wha amang ye, haein a son, or e'en a stirk, faun intil a sheugh, wadna at ance pu' him oot on the Sabbath day?"

6. And they warna able to answer him anent thir things.

                                                       Luke Chaiptir Fowerteen, verses 1-6,
frae The Four Gospels in Braid Scots - Rev William W Smith

O weel may the boatie row,
And better may she speed,
And weel may the boatie row,
That wins the bairn's breid!
The boatie rows, the boatie rows,
The boatie rows indeed;
And happy be the lot of a'
That wishes her to speed!

                                                                    Frae The Boatie Rows by John Ewen

Her reid-strippit dress wis sae bonnie an' braw,
Up frae Newhaven, or far Fisherraw,
Her bricht buckled shuin, and her wares fae the sea,
And followed by bairnies a' jumpin' wi' glee.

Fine buckies
Fine buckies
Noo that wis her cry.
Fresh mussels the day O
Please come an' buy.

Frae The Buckie Wife Bob Bertram

The time o the absence o King Robert the Bruce in Ireland, whaur he haed gaed tae uphaud the pretensions o his brither Edward tae the croun o thon country, a pairty o English, sent tae invade Scotland bi sea, anchored aff Inverkeithing in the coonty o Fife.  The Earl o Fife an the sheriff o the coonty, haein five hunder men unner thair command, attemptit tae conter the landin but, intimidatit bi the nummers o the English, they made a retreat.  William Sinclair, bishop o Dunkeld, happened tae meet the fugitives.  "Whaur are ye fleein tae?" he speirt the commanders; "ye deserve tae hae yer gilt spurs hackit aff."  Then thrawin aff his ecclesiastical vestment, he grabbed a spear an cried, "Wha loves Scotland follae me!"  He led the Scots agane tae the chairge, an impetuously attacked the enemy, that hidnae feinisht thair landin.  The English gied wey an wis driven tae thair ships wi considerable loss.  When the king heard o the intrepidity o this prelate he said "Sinclair sall be bishop."  an the title o King's Bishop stuck tae him frae then.
                                                                      The King's Bishop frae Scots Tung Witten Aprile 2005

Upon sic anvils Edward hammered out
Our nationhood and saul,
Seasoned the stentit bow til it could shoot
Doun meteors as they fall,
And gart our noble dogs come in til heel
Ahent King Bruis's tairge,
Temperan Scottish spines til swippert steel
In his smiddy's brim forge.

Frae Fergus - Tom Scott

The Cafe Royal and Abbotsford
are filled wi orra folk
whas stock-in-trade's the scrievit word,
or twicet-scrievit joke.
Brains, weak or strang, in heavy beer,
or ordinary, soak.
Quo yin: This yill is aafie dear,
I hae nae clinks in poke
             nor fauldan-money,
in Embro to the ploy.

Frae Embro to the Ploy - Robert Garioch

The loch whar first the stream doth rise
Is bonniest to my e'e;
And yon auld warld hame o' youth
Is dearest aye to me.

My heart wi' joy may up be heized,
Or doon wi' sorrow worn,
But, Oh, it never can forget
The toon where I was born.

- Robert Nicoll, 19th century Dundee poet

As simmer rains bring simmer flow’rs
And leaves to cleed the birken bowers,
Sae beauty gets by caller showr’s,
                          Sae rich a bloom
As for estate, or heavy dow’rs
                          Aft stands in room. 

What makes Auld Reikie’s dames sae fair,
It canna be the halesome air,
But caller burn beyond compare,
                          The best of ony,
That gars them a’ sic graces skair,
                          And blink sae bonny. 

Frae Caller Water – Robert Fergusson

1. And he cam again to the kirk;  and a man was thar wi' a wizzen'd haun. 

2. And they keeppit watch ower him, gin he wad heal him on the Sabbath;  sae as they micht wyte him.

3. And quo' he to the man wi' the wizzen'd haun "Staun forth i' the mids ! "

4. And to them, quo' he, "Is't richt on the Sabbath to do gude or to do ill?  To save life or to slay?"  But they said nocht.

5. And lookin roond aboot on them wi' indignation - haein grief for sic hardenin o' their hearts - he says to the man, "Rax oot yere haun!"  And he strauchtit it oot;  and his haun was made richt.

Mark Chaiptir Thrie, verses 1 - 5 frae The Four Gospels in Braid Scots - Rev William W Smith

 For mony a day, frae sun to sun,
We've toil'd an helpit ane anither;
An' mony a thousand mile thou'st run,
To keep my thraward flocks thegither.
            frae "The Mountain Bard" - James Hogg

21.  And they cam intil Capernaum; and withoot delay, on the Sabbath day, he cam intil the kirk and was teachin.

22.  And they war uncolie struck wi' astonishment at his teachin; for he spak as gin he had authoritie, and no like the Scribes.

23.  And no, thar was i' the kirk a man wi' a foul spirit; and he cry't oot.

24.  Sayin, "What hae we wi' thee, thou Jesus o' Nazareth?  Hast thou come to destroy us?  I ken thee, wha thou art - God's Holie Ane!"

25.  And Jesus forbad him, sayin "Haud yere peace!  And come oot o' him!"

26.  And the foul spirit, rivin, and cryin wi' a great voice, cam oot o' him.

27.  And they war a' astoundit; sae that they coonsell't amang theirsels, "What is a' this?  A new teachin!  Like a Ruler he commauns e'en the foul spirits, and they do his wull!"

28.  And the fame o' him spread abreid at ance ower a' the hail kintra-side o' Galilee roond aboot.

Mark Chaipter Ane, verses 21-28, frae The Four Gospels in Braid Scots - Rev William W Smith

The scunnersome truith we aw hae tae get oor heids roond is no that the biggest danger tae the Scots language comes frae the media or frae the USA or frae Europe or frae the UK Government in London.  The biggest danger tae the Scots language comes frae Scots fowk, a certain cleek o thaim.  It comes frae the MSPs o the three unionist pairties in the Scots Pairlament, representin maistly Scots speakin constituents an sleekitly gaun oot thair wey tae mak oor  Scots Pairlament a Scots language free zone.

Devolution haes gien thaim custody o yin o the best literary an linguistic jewels in Europe an aw they can dae is sneer at it.  O whit a parcel o rogues we hiv in oor Pairlament!

Frae Sic a Parcel o Rogues! - Scots Tung Wittens, nummer 142, September 2005

For a guid nummer o years noo, Warriston Post Office in Edinburgh haes hid a nummer o Scots Tung's Scots language posters pitten up inside the shop.  Aw this time thae posters haes been threapin the likes o "Nae Smokin", "Sorry, Nae Dugs", "Scots Language Christmas Cairds Selt Here" as a poster in Scots giein a picter o thae Christmas cairds alang wi the prices o ilka yin.  Noo Hasnain Sheikh, the Sub-Postmaister, haes a new yin pitten up on the wa aw thocht up bi hissel that threaps "Sorry, we dinnae dae Road Tax". 

If a body's o a mind tae see some guid exemplars o the commercial yiss o the written Scots language, then they can dae a lot waur than giein a visit tae the abuin Warriston Post Office.

Mair o the Same frae Scots Tung Wittens, nummer 141, August 2005

Thou sprieds ane brod and gies me meat
            Whaur aa my faes may view,
Thou sains my heid wi ulyie owre
            And pours my cogie fou.

Nou seil and kindliness sall gae
            Throu aa my days wi me,
And I sall wone in God’s ain hous
            At hame eternallie. 

Frae The Twenty-Third Psalm O King Dauvit – Douglas Young

Dysart for coal an saut
Kirkcaldy for lassies braw
Pathhead for meal and maut
Kinghorn for brakin the law

Fife rhyme

1. And, seeing the thrang o’ folk, he gaed up intil a mountain; and whan he was sutten-doon, his disciples gather’t aboot. 

2. And he open’t his mooth, and instuctit them; and quo’ he: 

3. “Happy the spirits that are lown and cannie: for the kingdom o’ Heeven is waitin’ for them! 

4. “Happy they wha are makin their maen; for they sal fin’ comfort and peace. 

5. “Happy the lowly and meek o’ the yirth: for the yirth sal be their ain haddin. 

6. “Happy they whase hunger and drouth are a’ for holiness: for they sal be satisy’t! 

7. “Happy the pitifu’: for they sal win pitie theirsels! 

8. “Happy the pure-heartit: for their een sal dwal upon God! 

9.”Happy the makkers-up o’ strife: for they sal be coontit for bairns o’ God! 

10. “Happy the ill-treatit anes for the sake o’ gude: for they’se hae the kingdom o’ God!

11. “Happy sal ye be whan folk sal misca’ ye, and ill-treat ye, and say a’ things again ye wrangouslie for my sake! 

12. “Joy ye, and be blithe! For yere meed is great in Heeven! For e’en sae did they to the prophets afore ye! 

13. “The saut o’ the yirth are ye: but gin the saut hae tint its tang, hoo’s it to be sautit? Is it no clean useless? To be cuisten oot, and trauche’t under folk’s feet. 

14. “Ye are the warld’s licht. A toon biggit on a hill-tap is aye seen. 

15, “Nor wad men licht a crusie, and pit it neath a cog, but set it up; and it gies licht to a’ the hoose. 

16. “Sae lat yere licht gang abreid amang men: that seein yere gude warks they may gie God glorie.

Matthew Chaiptir Fyve, verses 1-16, frae The Four Gospels in Braid Scots – Rev William W Smith

I hinna muckle Latin,
An’ I’m unco short o’ Greek,
An’ for tae haud the pen, awat,
My fingers seldom seek;
I may be geylies clorty
At the milkin’ o’ a coo,
But deil a ane’ll cowe me
At the haudin’ o’ the ploo. 

Frae The Haudin o’ the Ploo – G P D, “Stoneywood”

O leeze me on my spinning-wheel,
And leeze me on my rock and reel;
Frae tap to tae that cleeds me bien,
And haps me fiel and warm at e'en!
I'll set me down and sing and spin,
While laigh descends the simmer sun,
Blest wi' content, and milk and meal.
O leeze me on my spinning-wheel.

Frae Bess and Her Spinning Wheel - Robert Burns

Halloween ae nicht at e'en,
Three witches tae be seen,
Ane black an' twa green,
An' a' cryin' Halloween.

Traditional Aberdeen Halloween children's rhyme

God ligs weel abuin the Touer o Babel an is weel able tae yaise an unnerstaund aw an ony o the warld’s languages. God kens that tae rax doon tae the herts o fowk, he maun yaise the words that fowks’ herts kens best an sae he speaks tae the French in French, tae the Germans in German, tae the Spanish in Spanish, tae the English in English an tae aw the nations o the yird in the language o thon nation. The ae exception wad appear tae be Scotland or tae be mair tae the pynt, the Scots speakers that hears the word o God maistly juist spoken in English bi the Kirk o Scotland. Daes the Kirk think that God is ower donnert tae unnerstaund Scots or daes it think that Scots is ower hard a language for God tae get His tung roond? Mibbe they think it’s no polite eneuch for the Almichty tae yaise an micht gar him creenge or aiblins it micht bring oot the creenge in some o the Kirk maimbers.

Frae The Language o God – Scots Tung Wittins Nummer 144, November 2005

The vacance is a heavy doom
On Indian Peter’s coffee-room,
For a’ his china pigs are toom;
Nor do we see
In wine the sucker biskets soom
As light’s a flee. 

Frae The Rising of the Session – Robert Fergusson

And yonder, doun by the Pends whaur time hes duin
Havoc on the the auld toun waas, is Scotland's Shame,
Hame nou for the daws, the doos and the craws,
The jauggy ruins o white wes in its time
Europe's grandest cathedral, no even York
Milan. nor Rheims, nor Koln surpassan it -
There oor culture, oor Renaissance fell
And we, Sant-Aundraes, aa oor fowk fell wi't!
Ither lands their peerless buildins vaunt
And Scotland her incomparable ruins.
O whit a wound is there for aa to see
Whaur stood aa Scotland's culture shrined in stane:
For wi it's gane oor leids, oor croon, oor state
Oor parliament, oor sauls, aa betrayed
For a puckle English gowd in a few pooches,
Oor sons enslaved ti' Babylon-on-Thames.

Anent St Andrews Cathedral frae Brand the Builder - Tom Scott

I'm no' the kind o' poet
That opens sales o' work.

frae To Circumjack Cencratus (1930) - Hugh MacDiarmid

It is statute and ordanit throw all the realme that barronis and frehaldaris that ar of substance put thair eldest sonis and aires to the sculis fra thai be aucht or nyne yeiris of age and till remane at the gramer sculis quill thai be competentlie foundit and have perfite latyne.

Act for compulsory education – Scottish Parliament 1496 

There wis wee Scotty o the Coogate Kirk;  an a famous preacher he wis.  Ye couldna get a seat in his kirk, when he wis at the heicht o his popularity.  But he wis sadly bathered wi his flock, for they kept him aye in het water. 

Ae day he wis preachin on Job.  "My bretheren," says he, "Job, in the first place, wis a sairly tried man;  Job, in the second place, wis an uncommonly patient man;  Job, in the third place, never preached in the Coogate;  fourthly, and lastly, had Job preached there, Lord help his patience!"

Frae Auld Reekie Ministers frae the Bygane - Scots Tung Wittens, nummer 145, December 2005 

It was intimat that people keip not Yule bot work their ordinarie work under all highest censour o the session.

Frae Elgin Kirk Session records, 24 December 1648

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