Author Topic: Scottish Poetry  (Read 102627 times)


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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #60 on: October 25, 2008, 11:24:34 PM »
Thank you Stu.   :D

"Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #61 on: October 27, 2008, 09:37:42 AM »
As Rememberance Day/Veterans Day approaches I will offer the following poem by Lieutenant Ewart Alan Mackintosh, M.C. 4th Seaforth Highlanders. Killed in action at the Battle of Cambrai, 21st November 1917, aged 24.

In Memoriam

So you were David's father,
And he was your only son,
And the new-cut peats are rotting
And the work is left undone,
Because of an old man weeping,
Just an old man in pain,
For David, his son David,
That will not come again. 

Oh, the letters he wrote you,
And I can see them still,
Not a word of the fighting
But just the sheep on the hill
And how you should get the crops in
Ere the year got stormier,
And the Bosches have got his body,
And I was his officer. 

You were only David's father,
But I had fifty sons
When we went up that evening
Under the arch of the guns,
And we came back at twilight
- O God! I heard them call
To me for help and pity
That could not help at all. 

Oh, never will I forget you,
My men that trusted me,
More my sons than your fathers'
For they could only see
The little helpless babies
And the young men in their pride.
They could not see you dying
And hold you while you died. 

Happy and young and gallant,
they saw their first born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low,
The piteous writhing bodies,
They screamed, "Don't leave me Sir,"
For they were only fathers
But I was your officer.

From accompaning notes on the website...
The young soldier who died was Pvt. David Sutherland who was wounded in the German trenches on May 16, 1916. Lieutenant Mackintosh carried the wounded soldier through 100 yards of enemy lines on the way back, with the Germans in pursuit, it was only when David died that his body was left behind. Though failing to save the young soldier Lt. Mackintosh was decorated for gallantry for the attempt. Mackintosh turned down the chance to return to Britain as an instructor in order to remain with his men. He was also awarded the Military Cross at the Somme.
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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #62 on: October 31, 2008, 09:33:30 AM »
Robert Tannahill 1774-1810
Born in Paisley. He was a cotton weaver. The weavers had a reputation for intellectual and artistic endeavour. Tannahill was shy and morbidly sensitive. In 1807 he had a volume of poems and songs published ('Poems and Songs') which met with great success. When the publisher Constable delayed publication of a collection of new songs, this affected him so much that he burned the MSS and drowned himself in a canal.

'Bonnie Wood O' Craigielea'
by Robert Tannahill


   Thou bonnie wood o' Craigielea!
       Thou bonnie wood o' Craigielea!
   Near thee I pass'd life's early day,
       And won my Mary's heart in thee.

   The brume, the brier, the birken bush,
       Blume bonnie o'er thy flowery lee,
   An a the sweets that ane can wish
       Frae Nature's han, are strewed on thee.

   Far ben thy dark green plantin's shade,
       The cushat croodles am'rously,
   The mavis, doon thy bughted glade,
       Gars echo ring frae ev'ry tree.

   Awa, ye thochtless, murd'rin gang
       Wha tear the nestlins ere they flee!
   They'll sing you yet a cantie sang,
       Then, oh! in pity let them be!

   Whan Winter blaws, in sleety showers,
       Frae aff the Norlan hills sae hie,
   He lichtly skiffs thy bonnie bow'rs,
       As laith tae harm a flow'r in thee.

   Though fate should drag me south the line,
       Or o'er the wide Atlantic sea,
   The happy hours I'll ever mind
       That I, in youth, hae spent in thee.

skiffs=touches lightly in passing
laith tae=loath to

Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Duke Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #63 on: November 02, 2008, 04:44:16 PM »
Thanks for the posts Stu, I stop by and read them and have until now not replied.  I was the one kid in class that wanted more than one week of poetry!  Thanks especially for In Memorium two posts down, with Veteran's Day approaching in the U.S. we should all try to make it to our local parade!!!
James Edward Thompson, Jr. aka Duke
Sip your beer and chew your scotch!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #64 on: November 05, 2008, 01:02:30 PM »
Another from Sir Walter Scott to stir the Reiver blood... (from the novel "The Monastery")

March, March, Ettrick and Teviotdale

March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale, 
 Why the deil dinna ye march forward in order! 
March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale, 
 All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the Border. 
       Many a banner spread,
       Flutters above your head, 
 Many a crest that is famous in story. 
       Mount and make ready then, 
       Sons of the mountain glen, 
 Fight for the Queen and our old Scottish glory.         

Come from the hills where your hirsels are grazing, 
 Come from the glen of the buck and the roe; 
Come to the crag where the beacon is blazing, 
 Come with the buckler, the lance, and the bow. 
       Trumpets are sounding,         
       War-steeds are bounding, 
 Stand to your arms, then, and march in good order; 
       England shall many a day 
       Tell of the bloody fray, 
When the Blue Bonnets came over the Border.
Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #65 on: November 06, 2008, 07:58:22 AM »
The Tay Bridge Disaster
by William Topaz McGonagall

At 7.15pm on 28th December 1879, The Tay Bridge was blown down while a passenger train heading north from Edinburgh and Fife was attempting to cross. There were no survivors. Only 46 bodies were ever recovered. However, the train was pulled from the River Tay and went on to continue in service until 1902.
The Tay Bridge Disaster is McGonagall's best known poem. He once asserted that "it was the only poem that made me famous universally". His tragic account of The Tay Bridge Disaster has become the definitive McGonagall poem and is often thought to mirror his own career.


Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say,
That ninety lives have been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh,
The passengers' hearts were light, and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! The Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale,
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay,
By telling the world fearlessly, without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible man confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #66 on: November 07, 2008, 10:40:58 AM »
Valerie Gillies
Valerie Gillies became the Edinburgh Makar, poet laureate to the city, in 2005. Her 'official' poems include The Balm Well in 2005, A Place Apart in 2006 and To Edinburgh, a poem composed for the opening by HRH Princess Anne of the new Edinburgh District Council building, Waverley Court, in 2007.

To Edinburgh

Stone above storms, you rear upon the ridge:
we live on your back, its crag-and-tail,

spires and tenements stacked on your spine,
the castle and the palace linked by one rope.

A spatchcocked town, the ribcage split open
like a skellie, a kipper, a guttit haddie.

We wander through your windy mazes,
all our voices are flags on the high street.

From the sky’s edge to the grey firth
we are the city, you are within us.

Each crooked close and wynd is a busy cut
on the crowded mile that takes us home

in eden Edinburgh, centred on the rock,
our city with your seven hills and heavens.

Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #67 on: November 12, 2008, 07:05:25 AM »
William Collins
Ode occasion'd by the Death of Mr. Thomson 1749


IN yonder Grave a Druid lies
Where slowly winds the dealing Wave !
The Tears best Sweets shall duteous rise
To deck is's Poet's  sylvan Grave !


In yon deep Bed of whisp'ring Reeds
His airy Harp* shall now be laid,
That He, whose Heart in Sorrow bleeds
May love thro' Life the soothing Shade.

*The Harp of AEolus, of which see a Description in the Castle of Indolence.


Then Maids and Youths shall linger here,
And while it's Sounds at distance swell,
Shall sadly seem in Pity's Ear
To hear the Woodland Pilgrim's Knell.


Remembrance oft shall haunt the Shore
When Thames in Summer-wreaths is drest,
And oft suspend the dashing Oar
To bid his gentle Spirit rest!


And oft as Ease and Health retire
To breezy Lawn, or Forest deep.
The Friend shall view yon whit'ning Spire*,
And 'mid the varied Landscape weep.


But Thou, who own'st that Earthy Bed,
Ah ! what will ev'ry Dirge avail ?
Or Tears, which Love and Pity shed
That mourn beneath the gliding Sail !

* Richmond-Church.


Yet lives there one, whose heedless Eye
Shall scorn thy pale Shrine glimm'ring near?
With Him, Sweet Bard, may Fancy die,
And Joy desert the blooming Year.


But thou, lorn Stream, whose fuUen Tide
No sedge-crown'd Sisters now attend.
Now waft me from the green Hill's Side
Whose cold Turf hides the buried Friend !


And see, the Fairy Valleys fade.
Dun Night has veil'd the solemn View !
— Yet once again, Dear parted Shade
Meek Nature's Child again adieu !


The genial Meads assign'd to bless
Thy Life, shall mourn thy early Doom,
Their Hinds, and Shepherd-Girls shall dress
With simple Hands thy rural Tomb.


Long, long, thy Stone and pointed Clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's Eyes,
O ! Vales, and Wild Woods, shall He say
In yonder Grave Your Druid lies !

Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!


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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #68 on: November 13, 2008, 09:39:57 AM »
I really liked this one!

Don't know where you are finding these, but keep them coming!


Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #69 on: November 13, 2008, 10:17:21 AM »
Thanks everyone for the kind words I'll to keep them coming! Here's one from James Hogg known as the "Ettrick Shepherd" 1770 - 1835.


James Hogg

     Caledonia! thou land of the mountain and rock,
Of the ocean, the mist, and the wind-
Thou land of the torrent, the pine, and the oak,
Of the roebuck, the hart, and the hind;
Though bare are thy cliffs, and though barren thy glens,
Though bleak thy dun islands appear,
Yet kind are the hearts, and undaunted the clans,
That roam on these mountains so drear!

A foe from abroad, or a tyrant at home,
Could never thy ardour restrain;
The marshall'd array of imperial Rome
Essay'd thy proud spirit in vain!
Firm seat of religion, of valour, of truth,
Of genius unshackled and free,
The muses have left all the vales of the south,
My loved Caledonia, for thee!

Sweet land of the bay and wild-winding deeps
Where loveliness slumbers at even,
While far in the depth of the blue water sleeps
A calm little motionless heaven!
Thou land of the valley, the moor, and the hill,
Of the storm and the proud rolling wave-
Yes, thou art the land of fair liberty still,
And the land of my forefathers' grave!         

Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #70 on: November 14, 2008, 08:10:23 AM »
From Musings Among the Heather: Being Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1881)

LOCH LOMOND. by David Thomson 1806 - 1870

In summer, when sweet nature smiles,
     Around the waters blue,
Of Scotland's lake of many isles,
     How lovely is the view !

Upon her placid azure breast,
    Her island gems are spread;
While deep their shadows calmly rest.
    Within their wat'ry bed.

0, how magnificent the sight,
    How wildly grand the scene !
Hills, glens, and rocks, in shade and Ught,
    Still lake, and sky serene.

Here rugged grandeur is combined
    With beauty soft and fair,
In one vast scene so nice defined,
    That it could nothing spare.

Rich, waving woods, of varied green,
    Around on every side,
And fields in flow'ry robes are seen
    Reflected in the tide.

Stupendous mountains, capp'd with snow.
   Their heads fling to the sky ;
While sparkling waters down below,
   Steep'd in bright sunbeams lie.

And all around, streams, cool and clear,
    Rush from their mountain home,
0*er shelving rocks, in wild career,
    In one bright sheet of foam.

O, queen of lakes ! that mountains guard,
    And high above you frown.
Your beauty brings you sweet regard,
    Your grandeur great renown.
Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Michael Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #71 on: November 14, 2008, 04:14:10 PM »
Nice poem Stu, I liked it. It does bear the appearance of having been scanned from an old or deteriorated typeset source though. For instance, in line 11, "Ught" should almost certainly have been "Light" instead. Line 18 "Around" should probably have been "Abound" and in line 27 "O*er" should be "O'er." It also looks like there are some zeros that should be "O"s. Common artifacts of Optical Character Recognition.
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Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2008, 10:52:52 AM »
"Scotland's Winter" - Edwin Muir (1887 - 1959)

Now the ice lays its smooth claws on the sill,
The sun looks from the hill
Helmed in his winter casket,
And sweeps his arctic sword across the sky.
The water at the mill
Sounds more hoarse and dull.
The miller's daughter walking by
With frozen fingers soldered to her basket
Seems to be knocking
Upon a hundred leagues of floor
With her light heels, and mocking
Percy and Douglas dead,
And Bruce on his burial bed,
Where he lies white as may
With wars and leprosy,
And all the kings before
This land was kingless,
And all the singers before
This land was songless,
This land that with its dead and living waits the Judgement Day.
But they, the powerless dead,
Listening can hear no more
Than a hard tapping on the floor
A little overhead
Of common heels that do not know
Whence they come or where they go
And are content
With their poor frozen life and shallow banishment.

Semper Fidelis! Semper Familia!

Stirling Thompson

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #73 on: November 21, 2008, 11:08:30 AM »

This fragment, obtained from recitation in the Forest of Ettrick, is said to relate to the execution of Cokburne of Henderland, a border freebooter, hanged over the gate of his own tower by James V., in the course of that memorable expedition, in 1529, which was fatal to Johnie Armstrang, Adam Scott of Tushielaw, and many other marauders. The vestiges of the castle of Henderland are still to be traced upon the farm of that name, belonging to Mr Murray of Henderland. They are situated near the mouth of the river Meggat, which falls into the lake of St Mary, in Selkirkshire. The adjacent country, which now hardly bears a single tree, is celebrated by Lesly, as, in his time, affording shelter to the largest stags in Scotland. A mountain torrent, called Henderland Burn, rushes impetuously from the hills, through a rocky chasm, named the Dow-glen, and passes near the site of the tower. To the recesses of this glen the wife of Cokburne is said to have retreated, during the execution of her husband; and a place, called the Lady's Seat, is still shewn, where she is said to have striven to drown, amid the roar of a foaming cataract, the tumultuous noise, which announced the close of his existence. In a deserted burial-place, which once surrounded the chapel of the castle, the monument of Cokburne and his lady is still shewn. It is a large stone, broken into three parts; but some armorial bearings may be yet traced, and the following inscription is still legible, though defaced:


Tradition says, that Cokburne was surprised by the king, while sitting at dinner. After the execution, James marched rapidly forward, to surprise Adam Scott of Tushielaw, called the King of the Border, and sometimes the King of Thieves. A path through the mountains, which separate the vale of Ettrick from the head of Yarrow, is still called the King's Road, and seems to have been the rout which he followed. The remains of the tower of Tushielaw are yet visible, overhanging the wild banks of the Ettrick; and are an object of terror to the benighted peasant, from an idea of their being haunted by spectres. From these heights, and through the adjacent county of Peebles, passes a wild path, called still the Thief's Road, from having been used chiefly by the marauders of the border.


My love he built me a bonny bower,
And clad it a' wi' lilye flour;
A brawer bower ye ne'er did see,
Than my true love he built for me.

There came a man, by middle day,
He spied his sport, and went away;
And brought the king that very night,
Who brake my bower, and slew my knight.

He slew my knight, to me sae dear;
He slew my knight, and poin'd[A] his gear;
My servants all for life did flee,
And left me in extremitie.

I sew'd his sheet, making my mane;
I watched the corpse, myself alane;
I watched his body, night and day;
No living creature came that way.

I took his body on my back,
And whiles I gaed, and whiles I satte;
I digg'd a grave, and laid him in,
And happ'd him with the sod sae green.

But think na ye my heart was sair,
When I laid the moul on his yellow hair?
O think na ye my heart was wae,
When I turn'd about, away to gae?

Nae living man I'll love again,
Since that my lovely knight is slain;
Wi' ae lock of his yellow hair
I'll chain my heart for evermair.

[Footnote A: _Poin'd_--Poinded, attached by legal distress.]

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Re: Scottish Poetry
« Reply #74 on: November 22, 2008, 08:08:50 PM »
How sad........ :(

Thanks again Stu.

"Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." - Mark Twain