Scottish Poetry Selection
- The Scottish Exile's Farewell

Scotland was not the only European country to see an exodus of large numbers of its population in the 19th and early part of the 20th century. It is estimated that between 1821 and 1915, about 44 million emigrated from Europe. But Scotland lost one of the highest percentages of its people to emigration - only Ireland consistently headed this "league table" above Scotland (and Norway). And emigration from Scotland as a percentage of its population was 50% higher than in England and Wales.

While some went with a glad heart to seek a better life in other parts of the world, many felt at least a pang of regret. Hence the number of poems about exile - such as this one written by T. Pringle in the early 19th century. The Cheviot Hills run along part of the border with England.

The Scottish Exile's Farewell

Our native Land-our native Vale-
   A long and last adieu!
Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale,
   And Cheviot-mountains blue!

Farewell, ye hills of glorious deeds,
   And streams renowned in song!
Farewell, ye blithesome braes and meads
   Our hearts have loved so long!

Farewell, ye broomy elfin knowes,
   Where thyme and harebells grow!
Farewell, ye hoary haunted howes,
   O'erhung with birk and sloe!

The battle-mound, the Border-tower,
   That Scotia's annals tell;
The martyr's grave, the lover's bower-
   To each-to all-farewell!

Home of our hearts! our fathers' home!
   Land of the brave and free!
The sail is flashing through the foam
   That bears us far from thee.

We seek a wild and distant shore,
   Beyond the Atlantic main;
We leave thee to return no more,
   Nor view thy cliffs again.

But may dishonour blight our fame,
   And quench our household fires,
When we, or ours, forget thy name,
   Green Island of our Sires!

Our native Land -our native Vale-
   A long, a last adieu!
Farewell to bonny Lynden-dale,
   And Scotland's mountains blue!

Meaning of unusual words:
birk=birch tree

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