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Scots Wha Hae

Scots Wha Hae
A Poem by Scotland's National Bard Robert Burns

Scots Wha Hae (a calque on the English Scots who have: the traditional Scots idiom would be Scots that haes) is a patriotic song of Scotland which served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country, but has lately been largely supplanted by Scotland the Brave and The Flower of Scotland.

The lyrics were written by Robert Burns in the form of a speech given by Robert the Bruce before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, where Scotland regained her independence from England. Although the lyrics are by Burns, he wrote them to a traditional Scottish tune Hey Tuttie Tatie which according to tradition was played by Bruce's army at the Battle of Bannockburn. The tune tends to be played as a slow dirge, but can sound much better given a more sprightly arrangement as in the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch.

The song was sent by Burns to his publisher George Thomson at the end of August 1793 with the title "Robert Bruce's march to BANNOCKBURN" and a postscript saying that he had been inspired by Bruce's "glorious struggle for Freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient." Scots Wha Hae is the party song of the Scottish National Party. It is sung at the close of their annual national conference each year.

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae 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 power –
Chains and slaverie!

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

Wha for Scotland's King and Law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand or freeman fa',
Let him follow 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 dee!

Tags:   rabbie    burns supper    robert burns    burns    auld lang syne
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