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Dennis Locorriere

The rain is softly fallen
Upon my knees' bare
My Kilt is gently swaying
In the Highland morning Air





Scottish songs

A man's a man for a' that

Is there for honest poverty  That hings his head, an' a' that The coward slave, we pass him by - We dare be poor for a' that! For a' that, an' a' that!
Our toils obscure, an' a' that, The rank is but the guinea's stamp, The man's the gowd for a' that.

 Fair fa` your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftain o`the Puddin-race,
Aboon them a` ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm;
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang`s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
in time o`need,
While thro`your pores the dews distil
like amber bead.

His knife see Rustic-labour dight,
An`cut you up wi`ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reeking, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an`strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a`their weel-swall`d kytes belyve
are bent like drums:
Then auld guidman, maist like to rive,
`Bethankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
wi`perfect sconner,
Looks down wi`sneering, scornfu`view
on sic a dinner.

Poor devil! See him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither`d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
thro`bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
he`ll mak it whissle;
An`legs, an`arms, an`heads will sned,
like taps o`thrissle.

Ye pow`rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o`fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
that jaups in luggies:
But, if you wish her gratefu`pray`r,
Gie her a Haggis.

This Burns song, proclaiming the equality of man, was sung at the opening of the first Scottish Parliament for nearly 300 years, on 1 July, 1999.


A man's a man for a' that

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that!
Our toils obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord',
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that,
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an' a' that,
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world oe'r
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Meaning of unusual words:
Hoddin gray = tweed
birkie = dandy
cuif = fool
fa' = cause
bear the gree = take the prize




In a country where poverty was endemic, thriftiness became a necessity and a way of life. This song, by Archibald MacKay (1801-1883) from his book "Ingle-Side Lilts" published in 1855, strongly suggests that having got some "gear" (money, wealth) the best thing to do is the "haining o't" (preservation of it). The song is sung to the tune "The spinning o't".


The Best Thing Wi' Gear is the Haining O't

I trew there's charm in a wee pickle gear,
   And wha wadna strive at the gaining o't?
It mak's a puir body baith canty and fier,
   If honesty's had the obtaining o't.
But haith, it needs guiding, or soon, like the snaw
That melts frae the dyke, it will vanish awa,
And lea'e us wi' nocht but our haffits to claw;
   Sae the best thing wi' gear is the haining o't.

Some brag o' the gowpens o' gowd they can mak',
   Yet fortune, they're ever complaining o't;
And they see wi' surprise their bit house gaun to wrack,
   Tho' rowth is brocht in for maintaining o't.
But if what is brocht in is unwisely laid out,
Cauld pairtith will come wi' its lang wizzent snout,
And mak' that bit meal-pork as souple's a clout;
   Sae the best thing wi' gear is the haining o't.

The well that we drink frae is sure to rin dry,
   If there's owre muckle tooming and draining o't;
And then owre its loss how we yammer and sigh,
   When there micht hae been plenty remaining o't.
And sae, tho' your pouch were as fu' as a nit,
If ye're owre often in't a' its treasure will flit,
And lea'e you in duds frae the head to the fit;
   Sae the best thing wi' gear is the haining o't.

Meaning of unusual words:
gear=money, wealth
canty and fier=lively and strong/sturdy
haith=faith! - an exclamation of surprise
dyke=stone wall
haffits=locks of hair
gowpens o' gowd=handfuls of gold
Cauld pairtith=cold portions
souple's a clout=limp as a cloth
owre muckle tooming=too much emptying
duds=ragged clothes




The words of this version are by David Silver and the tune was first copyrighted by Ian MacLaughlan. It was written for the BBC film "The Dark Island" in 1963. This was filmed mainly in South Uist, but was about Benbecula in the Outer Hebrides. Another set of words to the tune was written by Stewart Ross of Inverness - "In the years long gone by when I first left my home...That lovely dark island where memories stray."

You can download an MP3 version of this song from Margaret Donaldson's Web site.


The Dark Island

Away to the west's where I'm longing to be,
Where the beauties of heaven unfold by the sea,
Where the sweet purple heather blooms fragrant and free,
On a hilltop high above the Dark Island.

Oh, isle of my childhood, I'm dreaming of thee,
As the steamer leaves Oban and passes Tiree,
Soon I'll capture the magic that lingers for me,
When I'm back once more upon the Dark Island.

So gentle the sea breeze that ripples the bay,
Where the stream joins the ocean, and young children play;
On the strand of pure silver, I'll welcome each day,
And I'll roam for ever more the Dark Island.


True gem of the Hebrides, bathed in the light
Of the midsummer dawning that follows the night
How I yearn for the cries of the seagulls in flight.
As they circle high above the Dark Island







Here is a traditional "nonsense" song of a type which was popular with children.


Four and Twenty Hielandmen

Four and twenty Hielandmen were riding on a snail,
When up cam' the hindmost and trampit on her tail.
Oh, the snail shot out her wee horns just like a hummel coo,
"Hech" quo' the foremost, "We'll a' be sticket noo!"

Four and twenty tailor lads were fightin' wi' a slug,
"Hello sirs!" said ane o' them, "Just haud him by the lug."
But the beastie frae his shell cam' oot and shook his fearsome head.
"Run, run, my tailors bold, or we will a' be dead!"

As I gaed by the mill door oot cam Miller Reid,
His cap on his feet and his breeks upon his heid.
An noo I've sung ye a' my song, I've telt it a' my friends,
It's a' big lees frae beginning tae the end!

Meaning of unusual words:
hummel coo=horned cow





The Battle of Killiecrankie was fought in 1689 in the first Jacobite Uprising in 1689 (those in 1715 and 1745 are more well known). Casualties on both sides were considerable. John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, (Clavers) led the charge against General Hugh MacKay and won the day, but died in the battle.



Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whaur hae ye been sae brankie-o?
Whaur hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Come 'ye by Killiecrankie-o?

An' ye had been whaur I hae been
Ye wadna been sae cantie-o
An' ye had seen what I hae seen
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

I fought at land, I fought at sea
At hame I fought my auntie-o
But I met the Devil and
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

The bauld pit cur fell in a furr
And Clavers gat a crankie-o
Or I had fed an Athol gled
On the braes o' Killiecrankie-o

Oh fie, MacKay, What gart ye lie
I' the brush ayont the brankie-o?
Ye'd better kiss'd King Willie's lofe
Than come tae Killiecrankie-o

It's nae shame, it's nae shame
It's nae shame to shank ye-o
There's sour slaes on Athol braes
And the de'ils at Killiecrankie-o

Meaning of unusual words:
braw=excellent, brave




The Wild Mountain Thyme

O the summer time has come
And the trees are sweetly blooming
And wild mountain thyme
Grows around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?

And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme,
All around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?

I will build my love a tower,
By yon clear crystal fountain,
And on it I will pile,
All the flowers of the mountain.
Will you go, lassie, go?


I will range through the wilds
And the deep land so dreary
And return with the spoils
To the bower o' my dearie.
Will ye go lassie go ?


If my true love she'll not come,
Then I'll surely find another,
To pull wild mountain thyme,
All around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?






This song was written by Harry Lauder. The words here have been sourced via a Web site dedicated to Sir Harry Lauder where you will find a number of his other songs.


Waggle O' The Kilt

I'll never forget the day I went and join'd the "Ninety third"
The chums I used to run with said they thought I look'd absurd.
As they saluted me, and gather'd round me in a ring,
And as I wagg'd my tartan kilt they a' began to sing -

He's a braw braw Hielan' laddie, Private Jock McDade.
There's not anither soger like him in the Scotch Brigade.
Rear'd amang the heather, you can see he's Scottish built,
By the wig, wig, wiggle, wiggle, waggle o' the kilt.


I'll never forget the day we were order'd on review.
The king came down to see us, and the queen was with him too.
As I march'd by the royal coach the king just shook his head.
The queen put on her royal spec's and look'd at me and said -


I'll never forget the day we went away to camp.
But the sun was hot, I drank a lot, I was nearly dead with cramp.
I'm very nearly certain sure I would have died that day,
But the thing that saved my life was when the band began to play-






The Green Hills Of Tyrol

There was a soldier, a Scottish soldier,
Who wandered far away and soldiered far away,
There was none bolder, with good broad shoulders,
He fought in many a fray and fought and won.
He's seen the glory, he's told the story,
Of battles glorious and deeds victorious.
But now he's sighing, his heart is crying,
To leave these green hills of


Because these green hills are not Highland hills
Or the
Island's hills, they're not my land's hills,
As fair as these green foreign hills may be
They are not the hills of home.

And now this soldier, this Scottish soldier,
Who wandered far away and soldiered far away,
Sees leaves are falling, and death is calling,
And he will fade away, on that dark land.
He called his piper, his trusty piper,
And bade him sound away, a pibroch sad to play,
Upon a hillside, a Scottish hillside
Not on these green hills of


And now this soldier, this Scottish soldier,
Who wanders far no more, and soldiers far no more,
Now on a hillside, a Scottish hillside,
You'll see a piper play this soldier home.
He's seen the glory, he's told the story,
Of battles glorious, and deeds victorious;
But he will cease now, he is at peace now,
Far from these green hills of





Scotland the Brave

Hark when the night is falling,

Hear! hear the pipes are calling,

Loudly and proudly calling,

Down thro' the glen.

There where the hills are sleeping,

Now feel the blood a-leaping,

High as the spirits of the old Highland men.


Towering in gallant fame,

Scotland my mountain hame,

High may your proud standards gloriously wave,

Land of my high endeavour,

Land of the shining river,

Land of my heart for ever,

Scotland the brave.

High in the misty Highlands

Out by the purple islands,

Brave are the hearts that beat

Beneath Scottish skies.

Wild are the winds to meet you,

Staunch are the friends that greet you,

Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens' eyes.


Far off in sunlit places

Sad are the Scottish faces,

Yearning to feel the kiss

Of sweet Scottish rain.

Where the tropics are beaming

Love sets the heart a-dreaming,

Longing and dreaming for the hameland again.


Loch Lomond

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes

Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomon'

Where me and my true love were ever wont tae gae

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'


Oh you tak' the high road and I'll tak the low road

An' I'll be in Scotland afore ye,

But me and my true love will never meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'

Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen.

On the steep, steep side of Ben Lomon',

Where in purple hue, the hielan' hills we view,

An' the moon comin' out in the gloamin'.


The wee birdies sing, and the wild flowers spring,

While in sunshine the waters are sleepin'

But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,

Tho' the waefu' may cease free their greetin'.


Meaning of unusual words:





Right field

Tlf: 95 70 31 09
Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled,

Scots wham Bruce ha' aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victorie!

Now's the day and now's the hour,
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's pow'r
Chains and slaverie!

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!
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