Scottish Poetry Selection
- Hail, Land of My Fathers!

Prof. John Stuart Blackie (1809-1895) was appointed to the Greek Chair in Edinburgh University in 1852. He worked hard to preserve the Gaelic language and literature and he was instrumental in founding the Chair of Celtic Literature in the University of Edinburgh. His Scottish-related poetry was published in "Lyrical Poems" (1860), and "Lays of the Highlands and Islands" (1872).

Although "Land of My Fathers" has become associated with Wales (being the title of their national anthem), the phrase can be equally applied by people in any country - including Scotland.


      Hail, Land of My Fathers!

Hail, land of my fathers! I stand on thy shore,
'Neath the broad-fronted bluffs of thy granite once more;
Old Scotland, my mother, the rugged, the bare,
   That reared me with breath of the strong mountain air.
No more shall I roam where soft indolence lies
'Neath the cloudless repose of the featureless skies,
But where the white mist sweeps the red-furrowed scaur,
   I will fight with the storm and grow strong by the war!

What boots all the blaze of the sky and the billow,
Where manhood must rot on inglorious pillow?
'Tis the blossom that blooms from the taint of the grave,
   'Tis the glitter that gildeth the bonds of the slave.
But Scotland, stern mother, for struggle and toil
Thou trainest thy children on hard, rocky soil;
And thy stiff-purposed heroes go conquering forth,
   With the strength that is bred by the blasts of the north.

Hail, Scotland, my mother! and welcome the day
When again I shall brush the bright dew from the brae,
And, light as a bird, give my foot to the heather,
   My hand to my staff, and my face to the weather;
Then climb to the peak where the ptarmigan flies,
Or stand by the linn where the salmon will rise,
And vow never more with blind venture to roam
   From the strong land that bore me my own Scottish home.

Meaning of unusual words:
scaur = cliff, precipice
ptarmigan = Large arctic and subarctic grouse, usually with white winter plumage
linn = waterfall

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