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Robert Burns

Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots! wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour:
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

What for Scotland's king and law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw?
Freeman stand, or freeman fa'?
Let him on wi' me!

By oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow! -
Let us do or die!

So may God ever defend the cause of truth and liberty, as He did that day! Amen.

Footnote : No song is more appropriate for the week containing St Andrew's Day, 30 November, than the Scottish National Anthem. At Primary School in Aberdeenshire I was taught two National Anthems, the Scottish and French, which given the following comment by the late Dr David Murison was very appropriate :-

    'Scots wha hae', which was written about the same time, has the same background in the ferment of the French Revolution and one can hear echoes of 'La Marseillaise' in it. Here Burns is striking the attitude of the patriot, and doubtless it was intended as a kind of national anthem of a nation that may even yet find the moral courage to sing it.

from 'The Language of Burns'; contributed to 'Critical Essays on Robert Burns' - edited by Donald A Low (1975)


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