Scottish Poetry Selection
- Scotia's Thistle

Henry Scott Riddell (1798-1870) was a native of Sorbie, north of Langholm, Dumfries & Galloway. His parents both came from Teviotside. His poetry was deeply influenced by Teviotdale, the valley of the river Teviot, in what is now the Scottish Borders. He became a minister there and was buried at Teviothead.

A number of his poems are very patriotic and nationalistic - he wrote Scotland Yet while out for a walk in a lonely glen at Teviothead. This is another in a similar vein.


Scotia's Thistle

Scotia's thistle guards the grave,
Where repose her dauntless brave;
Never yet the foot of slave
   Has trod the wilds of Scotia.

Free from tyrant's dark control
Free as waves of ocean roll
Free as thoughts of minstrel's soul,
   Still roam the sons of Scotia.

Scotia's hills of hoary hue,
Heaven wraps in wreathes of blue,
Watering with its dearest dew
   The healthy locks of Scotia.

Down each green-wood skirted vale,
Guardian spirits, lingering, hail
Many a minstrel's melting tale,
   As told of ancient Scotia.

When the shades of eve invest
Nature's dew-bespangled breast,
How supremely man is blest
   In the glens of Scotia!

There no dark alarms convey
Aught to chase life's charms away;
There they live, and live for aye,
   Round the homes of Scotia.

Wake, my hill harp! wildly wake!
Sound by lee and lonely lake,
Never shall this heart forsake
   The bonnie wilds of Scotia.

Others o'er the oceans foam
Far to other lands may roam,
But for ever be my home
   Beneath the sky of Scotia!

Meaning of unusual words:
aye = always

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