Scottish Songs

Scotland Yet

Gae bring my guid auld harp aince mair;
Gae bring it free and fast,
For I maun sing anither song
Ere a’ my glee be past:
And trow ye as I sing, my lads,
The burthen o’t shall be –
Auld Scotland’s howes and Scotland’s knowes,
And Scotland’s hills for me!

I’ll drink a cup to Scotland yet,
Wi’ a’ the honours three!

The thistle wags upon the fields
Where Wallace bore his blade,
That gave her foe-men’s dearest build
To dye her auld grey plaid:
And, looking to the lift my lads,
He sang in doughty glee
"Auld Scotland’s right, and Scotland’s might,
And Scotland’s hills for me!"

Then drink a cup to Scotland yet,
Wi’ a’ the honours three!

(gae – go; guid – good; auld – old; aince – once; mair – more; maun – must; glee – joy; trow – know, feel sure about; burthen – burden; o’t – of it; howes and knowes – hollows and knolls; heath – heather; lo’e – love; Wi’ – With; a’ – all; Wallace – Sir William Wallace, the "Father of Scottish nationhood")

Auld Lang Syne

(1) Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min’?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
[old long ago]
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

(2) And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
[pay for]
And I’ll be mine;
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


(3) We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine;
[pulled] [daisies]
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
Sin auld lang syne.


(4) We twa hae paid’ld in the burn,
[waded] [stream]
Frae morning sun till dine,
[noon] [dinner-time]
But seas between us braid hae roar’d,
Sin auld lang syne.


(5) And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid willie-waught,
[goodwill drink]
For auld lang syne.


Scots Wha Hae

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has often led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie.

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front of battle lour;
See approach proud Edward’s power-
Chains and slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a cowards grave?
Wha sae base as a slave?
Let him turn and flee

Wha for Scotland’s King and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or free-man fall?
Let him follow me!

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

Lay the proud userpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!
Let us do, or die!

Scotland the Brave

Hark when the night is falling, Hear, hear the pipes a calling,
Loudly and proudly calling, Down through 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 Standard gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour, Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart forever, Scotland the Brave.

Bonnie Charlie

Bonnie Charlie’s now awa’
Safely oer the friendly Main
Many a heart will break in twa’
Should he ne’er come back again.

Will ye no come back again?
Will ye no come back again?
Better loved ye canna be,
Will ye no come back again?

Skye Boat Song

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing.
Onward the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be king,
Over the sea to Skye.

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,
Thunder clouds rend the air;
Baffled our foes stand by their shore,
Follow they will not dare.

Though the waves leap, soft, shall ye sleep,
Ocean’s a royal bed.
Rocked in the deep Flora will keep
Watch by your head.

Burned are our homes, exile and death
Scatter the loyal men;
Yet ere the sword copol in the sheath
Charlie will come again.

The Rowan Tree

Oh Rowan tree, oh, Rowan tree,
Thoul’t aye be clear tae me
Entwined thou art wi’ money ties o’hame and infancy.
Thy leaves were aye the first o’ spring,
Thy flow’rs, the summers pride,
There was nae such a bonny tree in a’ the countryside
Oh, Rowan tree.

Believe Me All These Endearing Young Charms

Believe me, if all these endearing young charms,
Which I gaze in so fondly today.
Were to change by tomorrow, and fleet in my arms,
Like fairy gifts fading away!

Thou would still be adored, as this moment thou art.
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
and around the dear ruin each wish of my heart,
Would entwine itself verdently still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!

Oh the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close
As the sunflower turns to her god when he sets;
The same look which she turned when he rose!

Flowers of the Forest

Alison Rutherford Cockburn (1712-1794)

"I’ve seen the smiling
Of Fortune beguiling,
I’ve felt all its favours and found its decay;
Sweet was its blessing,
Kind its caressing,
But now ‘tis fled - ‘tis fled far away.

I’ve seen the forest,
Adorned the foremost
Wi’ flowers o’ the fairest, most pleasant and gay;
Sae bonnie was their blooming,
Their scent the air perfuming,
But now they are wither’d and a’ wede away.

I’ve seen the morning
Wi’ gold the hills adorning,
And loud tempest roaring before the mid-day;
I’ve seen Tweed’s silver streams
Shinning in the sunny beams,
Grow drumlie* and dark as he rowed on his way.

O, fickle Fortune!
Why this cruel sporting?
O, why still perplex us, poor sons of a day?
Nae mair your smiles can cheer me,
Nae mair your frowns can fear me;
For the Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away!"

It is sometimes said that Cockburn’s verses were written to mark the insolvency of seven landed proprietors/lairds in Selkirkshire who made imprudent speculations of a commercial nature. These verses first appeared in 1765 in The Lark, published by W. Gordon, bookseller, Parliament Close, Edinburgh.

…thanks to David A. Wardrup, SR, who contributed this arrangement to the Winter 2001, MAC DHUBHAICH, having gleaned the poem from Gathering of the Clans, A most similar rendition, from which this version is taken, may be found from the Harvard Classics, English Poetry II From Collins to Fitzgerald, 1909-1914 at

Lament For Flodden

Jane Elliot (1715 -1805)

"I’ve heard them liltin’, at our yowe-milkin’,
Lasses a’ liltin’ before dawn o’ day.
Now there’s a moanin’, on ilka green loanin’.
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.

At buchts in the mornin’, nae blythe lads are scornin’,
The lasses are lonely and dowie and wae.
Nae daffin’, nae gabbin’, but sighin’ and sabbin’,
Ilk ane lifts her leglin, and hies her away.

At e’en in the gloamin’, nae younkers are roamin’,
Mang stacks wi’ the lasses at bogle to play.
But ilk ane sits drearie, lamentin’ her dearie,
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.

In har’st at the shearin’, nae youths now are jeerin’,
The bandsters are lyart, and rankled and grey.
At fair or at preachin’ nae wooin’, nae fleechin’,
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away.

Dule and wae, for the order sent our lads to the Border,
The English for ance, by guile wan the day.
The Flowers of the Forest, that focht aye the foremost,
The prime of our land lie cauld in the clay.

We’ll hae nae mair liltin’, at our yowe-milkin’,
Women and bairns are heartless and wae.
Sighin’ and moanin’ on ilka green loanin’,
The Flowers of the Forest are a’ wede away." *

Date of publication is unknown and was anonymous.

…thanks, also, to Ian Rose, who, in his The Highlander article of the September/October 2003 issue, entitled, "The Scottish Lament", discusses both the Rutherford/Cockburn and the Elliot versions of this poem, almost simultaneously published and both of which may be attributed to the tune so commonly heard today, on Remembrance Day and elsewhere. There may have been two separate titles for the two poems, as depicted above, according to the English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald. The Harvard Classics. 1909-1914 source.

The original manuscript of the tune, "The Flowers of the Forreste", was owned by the Skene family of Hallyards, Midlothian, from the 17th century until 1820; it now resides in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

James Oswald printed a version of the tune in his Caledonian Pocket Companion Book circa 1758.Current Scottish songbooks describe the tune as "a traditional air" arranged by Alfred Moffat (1866-1950), a well-known composer, collector and editor of Scottish music.

Jean Elliot’s poem, as mentioned in Alison Cockburn’s’ poem, reflects on her thoughts of the Battle of Flodden, 9 September 1513. The Flowers of the Forest refer to JAMES IV’s nobles, killed with him at Flodden Field. The "Forest" is the Ettrick Forest in Selkirkshire, (a large part of Peeblesshire and in a section called Clydesdale), once popular among royalty for hunting.

ane – maid; one
ance – once
bandsters – harvesters who bind sheaves; makers of strawbands for the sheaves
bonnie - pretty
buchts – sheepfolds; pens
cauld (a) – cold
cauld (n) - weir
daffin’ – fun, foolish behavior; toying
dowie – sad, dismal
drumlie – cloudy, troubled
dule – grief, distress
e’en - evening
fleechin’ – coaxing, flattering
focht – fought
gabbin’ – chatting; jeering
hae – have; hear
har’st – harvest
ilk – of the same name (e.g. Guthrie of that ilk = "Guthrie of Guthrie")
ilk or ilka – each; every
leglin – milk pail
liltin’ - singing
loanin’ – an open piece of land where cows are milked; field; lane
lyart – grizzled, silver-haired
mang – about
rankled – rumpled, crushed clothes
sabbing - sobbing;
wae (waeful) – woeful
wan - won
younkers – swankies
yowe – ewe

Last Update: April 2005