Scottish Poetry Selection
- Fareweel, Edinburgh

Carolina Oliphant was born on 16 August 1766 in Perthshire and became known as the "Flower of Strathearn" because of her beauty. Both her father and grandfather had joined Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1745 Jacobite Uprising and she herself had been named Carolina after the Young Pretender. She married her second cousin, Major William Nairne in 1806 - but kept her poetry and song writing secret from him! When her husband's inherited title was restored (it had been removed following that Uprising in 1745) she became Lady Carolina Nairne.

Despite her Perthshire background, she clearly knew Edinburgh very well - the poem below covers all the 19th century highlights of "Auld Reekie" - Scotland's Capital.

Fareweel, Edinburgh

Fareweel, Edinburgh, where happy we hae been,
Fareweel, Edinburgh, Caledonia's Queen!
Auld Reekie, fare-ye-weel, and Reekie New beside,
Ye're like a chieftain grim and grey, wi1 a young bonny bride.
Fareweel, Edinburgh, and your trusty volunteers,
Your Council a' sae circumspect, your Provost without peers,
Your stately College stuff'd wi' lear, your rantin' High-Schule yard;
The jib, the lick, the roguish trick, the ghaists o' auld toun-guard.

Fareweel, Edinburgh, your philosophic men;
Your scribes that set you a' tae richts, and wield the golden pen;
The Session-court, your thrang resort, bigwigs and lang gowns a';
And if ye dinna keep the peace, it's no for want of law.
Fareweel, Edinburgh, and a' your glittering wealth;
Your Bernard's Well, your Calton Hill, where every breeze is health;
An' spite o' a' your fresh sea-gales, should ony chance to dee,
It's no for want o' recipe, the doctor, or the fee.

Fareweel, Edinburgh, your hospitals and ha's,
The rich man's friend, the Cross lang ken'd, auld Ports, and city wa's;
The Kirks that grace their honoured place, now peacefu' as they stand,
Where'er they're found, on Scottish ground, the bulwarks of the land.
Fareweel, Edinburgh, your sons o' genius fine,
That send your name on wings o' fame beyond the burnin' line;
A name that's stood maist since the flood, and just when it's forgot,
Your bard will be forgotten too, your ain Sir Walter Scott.

Fareweel Edinburgh, and a' your daughters fair;
Your Palace in the sheltered glen, your Castle in the air;
Your rocky brows, your grassy knowes, and eke your mountain bauld;
Were I to tell your beauties a', my tale would ne'er be tauld.
Now, fareweel, Edinburgh, where happy we hae been;
Fareweel, Edinburgh, Caledonia's Queen!
Prosperity to Edinburgh wi' every risin' sun,
And blessin's be on Edinburgh, till time his race has run!

Meaning of unusual words:
lear = learning, education
thrang = crowded
eke = also

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