Scottish Poetry Selection
- A Highland Boat Song

When Americans hear the music "Hail to the Chief" announcing the arrival of their President, few will know that the music was originally composed as "March and Chorus in the Dramatic Romance of the Lady of the Lake". The original words were written by Sir Walter Scott in his long ballad "The Lady of the Lake" published in 1810. The rousing music which we now know, was composed around two years later, attributed to a "Mr. Sanderson," who may or may not have been the English songwriter James Sanderson. The words now used in the US version are by Albert Gamse. The words below, however, are the original from Scott's "Lady of the Lake".

   A Highland Boat Song

Hail to the chief who in triumph advances!
   Honour'd and bless'd be the ever-green Pine!
Long may the tree, in his banner that glances,
   Flourish, the shelter and grace of our line!
      Heaven send it happy dew,
      Earth lend it sap anew,
Gaily to bourgeon, and broadly to grow,
      While every Highland glen
      Sends our shout back again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"

Ours is no sapling, chance-sown by the fountain,
   Blooming at Beltane, in winter to fade;
When the whirlwind has stripp'd every leaf on the mountain,
   The more shall Clan-Alpine exult in her shade.
      Moor'd in the rifted rock,
      Proof to the tempest's shock,
Firmer he roots him the ruder it blow;
      Menteith'and Breadalbane, then,
      Echo his praise again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"

Proudly our pibroch has thrill'd in Glen Fruin,
   And Bannochar's groans to our slogan replied;
Glen Luss and Ross-dhu, they are smoking in ruin,
   And the best of Loch-Lomond lie dead on her side.
      Widow and Saxon maid
      Long shall lament our raid,
Think of Clan-Alpine with fear and with woe;
      Lennox and Leven-glen
      Shake when they hear again,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"

Row, vassals, row, for the pride of the Highlands!
   Stretch to your oars, for the ever-green Pine!
O, that the rose-bud that graces yon islands,
   Were wreathed in a garland around him to twine!
      O that some seedling gem,
      Worthy such noble stem,
Honour'd and bless'd in their shadow might grow!
      Loud should Clan-Alpine then
      Ring from her deepmost glen,
"Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!"

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