Scottish Poetry Selection
- Scotland Our Mither

Charles Murray (1864-1941) was born and raised in Alford in north east Scotland. But he emigrated to South Africa and his second book of poetry - Hamewith - is written very much from the perspective of an expatriate Scot. Here is an example of that.

      Scotland Our Mither

Scotland our Mither - this from your sons abroad,
Leavin' tracks on virgin veld that never kent a road,
Trekkin' on wi' weary feet, an' faces turned fae hame,
But lovin' aye the auld wife across the seas the same.

Scotland our Mither - we left your beildy bents
To hunt wi' hairy Esau, while Jacob kept the tents.
We've pree'd the pangs o' hunger, mair sorrow seen than mirth,
But never niffer'd, auld wife, our rightfu' pride o' birth.

Scotland our Mither - we sow, we plant, we till,
But plagues that passed o'er Egypt light here an' work their will.
They've harried barn an' basket till ruin claims us sure;
We'd better kept the auld craft an' herdit on the muir.

Scotland our Mither - we weary whiles an' tire;
When Bad Luck helps to outspan, Regret biggs up the fire;
But still the hope uphaulds us, tho' bitter now the blast,
That we'll win to the auld hame across the seas at last.

Scotland our Mither - we've bairns you've never seen -
Wee things that turn them northward when they kneel down at e'en;
They plead in childish whispers the Lord on high will be
A comfort to the auld wife - their granny o'er the sea.

Scotland our Mither - since first we left your side,
From Quilimane to Cape Town we've wandered far an' wide;
Yet aye from mining camp an' town, from koppie an' karoo,
Your sons richt kindly, auld wife, send hame their love to you.

Meaning of unusual words:
kent = knew
aye = always
beildy bents = sheltered hilly ground
pree'd = tasted
niffer'd = bartered
bairns = children

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