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The Heather in Lore, Lyric and Lay
Songs of the Heather

A song of the true old Scottish cut—a genuine bud of the Heather.—Noctes.

Songs of my native land,
To me how dear! Songs of my infancy,
Sweet to mine ear! .
Entwined with my youthful days,
Wi' the bonnie banks and braes,
Where the winding bumie strays,
Murmuring near.
—Baroness Nairne.

The Hills of the Heather

Give the swains of Italia
'Mong myrtles to rove,

Give the proud, sullen Spaniard
His bright orange grove;
Give gold-sanded streams
To the sons of Chili,

But, oh! give the hills of the heather to me.

The hills where the hunter
Oft soundeth his horn,
Where sweetest the skylark

Awakens the morn;
The grey cliff, the blue lake,
The stream's dashing glee,
Endear the red hills

Of the heather to me.

There Health, rosy virgin,
Forever doth dwell;
There Love fondly whispers
To beauty his tale;
There Freedom's own darling!
The Gael, lives free, Then, ohl give the hills
Of the heather to me.
—Evan M'Coll.

Hielan' Heather

Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Dear to me, an' aye shall be,
The bonnie braes o' Hielan' heather!

The moss-muir black an' mountain blue,
Whare mists at morn an' glonmin' gather;
The craigs an' cairns o' hoary hue,

Whare blooms the bonnie Hielan' heather!

Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Whare mony a wild bird wags its wing,
Baith sweet o' sang an' fair o' feather;
While cavern's cliffs wi' echo ring.
Amang the hills o' Hielan' heather!

Hey for the Hielan' heather!
Whare, light o' heart an' light o' heel,
Young lads an' lasses trip thegether
The native Norlan' rant and reel

Amang the halesome Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!

The broom an' whin, by loch an' liii,
Are tipp'd wi' gowd in simmer weather;
How sweet an' fair; but meikle mair

The purple hells o' Hielan' heather!
Hey for the Hielan' heather!

Whare'er I rest, whare'er I range,
My fancy fondly travels thither;
Nae country charms, nae customs change
My feelings frae the Hielan' heather!

Hey for the Hielan' heather!
—John Imlah: 1799-1846.

The Hieland Heather

Some like the red rose, some the white
And some the shil-pit lily;

The dahlia an' forget-me-not
May please young maidens silly;
But Scotland's hills can boast a flow'r
Worth a' their fiow'rs thegither;

Nae sickly hot-house plant, I trow,
But hardy Hieland heather.


The heather, queen o' mountain flow'rs,
Wha e'er saw sic anither?

Search round the wand, it dings them a',
There's nocht like Hieland heather.

I've wandered south, I've wandered north,
I've wandered late an' early;

An' mony an unco sight I've seen,
An' mony a foreign ferlie.

I've been in lands where a' the year
There's nocht but simmer weather;
But still my heart's fond wish was this:
Gi'e me the Hieland heather.


When Rome, great mistress of the wand,
Sent o'er her conq'ring champions,
Auld Scotland ga'e her lug a claw,

Then aff an' o'er the Grampians.
Syne yelloch's out in Norlan' wrath,

Come gather, lads, come gather;
Imperial Rome shall rue the day

She first smelt Hieland heather.


Since then, in mony a wed fought field,
An' mony a reivin' foray,

The heather wild has proudly wav'd
Frae Lennox to the Moray.
But now we're a' "John Tamson's bairns,"*
Let's a' shake hands thegither;
An' drink "Auld Scotland," "Auld Lang Syne,"
"The Thistle" and "The Heather."


—A. Hume.

My Heather Hills

O gladsome is the sea, wi' its heaving tide,
And bonnie are the plains in their simmer pride;
But the sea wi' its tide, and the plains wi' their rills
Are nae half sae dear as my heather hills.

I can heedless look on the siller sea,
I may tentless muse on the fiow'ry lea,
But my heart wi' a nameless rapture thrills

When I gaze on the cliffs o' my heather hills.

Then hurrah, hurrah, for the heather hills,
Where the bonnie thistle waves to the sweet blue bells,
And the wild mountain floods heave their crests to the clouds,

Syne foam down the steeps o' my heather hills.

O! aft in my roving youthfu' days,
I've nestled and row'd on their sunny braes;
And pouket the bloom and the sweet hare bells

Aff the bonnie broomy knowes o' my heather hills.
I ha'e herried the nest o' the wild muircock,

I ha'e clamber'd the steeps o' the raven's rock;
I ha'e courted my love in their rocky fells,

And won a sweet bride on my heather hills.

I cling to their braes like the bud to the thorn,
For many their heather knowlets sae free, was I born;
And the hame o' my youth is my lov'd hame still,
'Neath the kindly shade o' a heather hill.

And when nature fails, row'd in my plaid,
I'll lay me down on a heather bed;

And leesonie I'll wait till kind Heaven wills
To waft me awa' frae my heather hills.


—John Ballantine.

The Land of the Bright Blooming Heather

Here's a health to the land of the mountain and glen,
To the land of the lake and the river,

Where the wild thistle grows in her rude, rocky den,
Proud Freedom's stern emblem forever.

The land of the claymore, the kilt, and the plaid,
The bagpipes, the bonnet, and feather;
Let's join heart and hand, all upstanding in pride,
Here's the land of the bright blooming heather.

Here's a health to the land of the hero and bard,
The birthplace of Ossian and Wallace;
The land of bright mem'ries, of brave hearts who dared
Gory death in each cause Freedom hallows.
The land of the eagle, the oak, and the pine,
Where the free storms of heaven do gather;

Let's join heart and hand, all upstanding in pride,
Here's the land of the bright blooming heather.

Here's a health to the land of the bannock and brose,
The land of the sheep-head and haggis;

Of warm hearts to friends, and cauld steel to foes,
When to battle they venture to drag us;
The land of braw lassies and leal-hearted men,
Where beauty and worth twine together;
Let's join heart and hand, all upstanding in pride,

Here's the land of the bright blooming heather.

Here's a health to the land where we first saw the light,
The home of our kindred and lovers,

Whose sod yet shall screen us in death's gloomy night,
As now many loved ones it covers;

May virtue and freedom stand firm by her side,
Each dark weed that stains her soon wither;
Then join heart and hand, all upstanding in pride,
Here's the land of the bright blooming heather.
—Hugh MacDonald; 1857-1860.

Sweet Heather Bell

The emblems of nations are sung of with rapture,
And many are the flowers which in beauty excel,
But I'll sing of a wild flower that decks our rough mountains,

And blooms round the cot where my Flora doth dwell.

Sweet heather bell, where fairies do dwell,
In legends of daring what deeds there befel.
The sweet heather bell is sae like hersel'.

My ain native blossom, my sweet heather bell.

When the sun frae the east sheds his rays on this blossom,
Its fragrance perfumes a' the moorland and deli,
But a glance from my Flora is life's dearest treasure.
And moves my fond heart with love's glowing spell.

—J. H. Devon.

O'er the Muir

The more popular words to the same tune and chorus of this ballad beginning "Comin' through he Craigs o' Kyle," are believed, on the authority of Burns, to have been the composition of Jean Glover, a girl of respectable parentage, born at Kilmarnock in 1758, who became attached to a company of strolling players. Lewis is said to have claimed priority for his verses, and the point is not likely ever to be decided. This much may be said in favor of Lewis' claim, that he had long been the writer of respectable lyrics; while Jean Glover, though well skilled as a musician, is not otherwise known to have composed verses. One of the songs is evidently an echo of the others.—Mackay.

Ae morn of May, when fields were gay,
Serene and charming was the weather,
I chanced to roam some miles frae home,
Far o'er yon muir, amang the heather.
O'er the muir amang the heather,
O'er the muir amang the heather,

How healthsome 'tis to range the muirs,
And brush the dew from vernal heather.

I walk'd along, and humm'd a song,
My heart was light as ony feather,
And soon did pass a lovely lass,
Was wading barefoot through the heather,
O'er the muir amang the heather.
O'er the muir arnang the heather;
The bonniest lass that e'er I saw

I met ae morn amang the heather.

Her eyes divine, muir bright did shine,
Than the most clear unclouded ether;
A fairer form did ne'er adorn

A brighter scene than blooming heather.
O'er the muir aniang the heather,
O'er the muir amang the heather;
ne'er a lass in Scotia's isle,

Can vie with her amang the heather.

I said, "Dear maid, be not afraid;
Pray sit you down, let's talk together;
For, oh! my fair, I vow and swear,
You've stole my heart amang the heather
O'er the muir amang the heather,
O'er the muir amang the heather;

Ye swains, beware of yonder muir,
You'll lose your hearts amang the heather.
She answer'd me, right modestly,
"I go, kind sir, to seek my father,

Whose fleecy charge he tends at large,
On you green hills beyond the heather.
O'er the muir amang the heather,
O'er the muir aniang the heather;

Were I a king thou shouldst be mine,
Dear blooming maid, amang the heather.

Away she flew out of my view,
Her home or name I ne'er could gather.
But aye sin' syne I sigh and pine

For that sweet lass amang the heather.
O'er the muir amang the heather,
O'er the muir axnang the heather;
While vital heat glows in my heart,
I'll love the lass amang the heather.

—Stuart Lewis; 1756-1818.

Amang the Braes o' Blooming Heather

Gae hame, gae haine, auld Lewie Grahame,
Nor long sae sair to be my lover:
Yon bonnie barque rocks 'mang the faem,
That norlan' breeze will waft her over.
Gang to your towers, your ha's, an' bowers,
'Mid scented groves that ne'er shall wither:
Butler me spend life's latest hours

Amang the braes o' blooming heather.

I winna cross the braid, braid sea,
For gowden crown or gilded palace:
Tho' slaves around should bend the knee-

Nae slave e'er trod the land o' Wallace.
I canna' leave auld Scotia's shore,

Where Love and Freedom dwell thegether.
Where Friendship keeks frae ilka door

Amang the braes o' blooming heather.

Your gaudy groves may well be green,
Your towers may kiss the lift fu' eerie;
But ken they o' the birken screen

Where ilka warbler sings sae cheerie?
Your flaunting flowers may talc' the ee,

But fairer far than ony ither
The dark blue bells grow wild an' free
Amang the braes o' blooming heather.

The thistle waves aboon the cairns,
To mark where lovely worth is sleepin';
The dew-draps, frae the mossy ferns,

Fa' down like tears o' Nature's weepin'.
'Mang Scotia's hills my haine shall be;

The tartan plaid that screen'd my mither
Shall hap me, till the day I dee,

Amang the braes o' blooming heather.
—George W. Donald.

When the Heather Scents the Air

Canadian woods are bonny,
And Canadian waters blue,
When the summer airts the maple,
And the clover drains the dew;

But a longing comes at mornin',
And at e'en the heart is sair,

For the hills o' bonny Scotland,
When the heather scents the air!

Oh! hills sac broon an' bonny,
When the heather scents the air!
St. Lawrence rolls in grandeur,
And Ottawa's dark tide,

'Twixt banks o' bloom an' verdure,
Sweeps onward sunny wide;

But a something here is wantin';
And a Iicht that's gnne is there—

By the Clyde, the Tweed, the Annan,
When the heather scents the air.

Ohl harne's my heart in Scotland,
When the heather scents the air!
—John MacFarlane (John Arbory)

My Heather Land

My heather land, my heather land,
My dearest pray'r be thine;
Although upon thy hapless hearth
There breathes nae friend o' mine.
The lanely few that Heav'n has spared

Fend on a foreign strand;
And I mann wait to weep with thee,
My hameless heather land.

My heather land, my heather land,
Though fairer lands there be.

The gowany braes in early days
Were gowden ways to me.

Maim life's puir boon gang dark'ning down,
Nor die whaur it had dawn'd?

But claught a grave ayont the wave,
 Alast my fatherland.

My heather land, my heather land,
Though chilling winter pours
Her freezing breath round fireless hearth,
Whaur breadless mis'ry cowers,
Yet breaks the light that soon shall blight
The godless reiving hand;

When wither'd tyranny shall reel
Frae our rous'd heather land.
—"Lyric Gems."

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