Scottish Quotations - Page 1

John Logie Baird

Bust of John Logie Baird in Helensburgh, the town of his birth.

I'd heard of a man named Burns - supposed to be a poet;
But, if he was, how come I didn't know it?
They told me his work was very, very neat,
So I replied: 'But who did he ever beat?'

The boxing champion Muhammad Ali, on his visit to the Burns Country in 1965.


"The Baird Undersock is medicated, absorbent and soft, keeping feet warm in winter, cold in summer. Nine pence a pair, post free."

John Logie Baird, electrical engineer and early television pioneer, advertising an early invention!


For we have three great avantages;

The first is, we have the richt,
And for the richt ilk man should ficht,
The tother is, they are comin here...
To seek us in our awn land...
The third is that we for our livis
And for our childer and our wifis
And for the fredome of our land
Are strenyeit in battle for to stand

William Barbour, in his epic poem "The Bruce"


"You ought to be roasted alive, though even then you would not be to my taste"

Author J M Barrie (1860-1937) speaking to writer George Bernard Shaw.


"For several days after my first book was published I carried it about in my pocket, and took surreptitious peeps at it to make sure the ink had not faded."

"I'm not young enough to know everything"

"Some of my plays peter out and some pan out"

Playwright Sir James M Barrie, born in Kirriemuir in 1860 and creator of "Peter Pan".


"The dawn of legibility in his handwriting has revealed his utter inability to spell"

John Hay Beith (1876-1952)


"I am in favour of the new Parliament building - that may give the occupants something to live up to."

Entertainer Johnnie Beattie.


"Blythe to meet,
Wae to part,
Blythe to meet aince mair"

This is known as the Bon-Accord toast - "Happy to meet, sorrowful to part, happy to meet once again." "Bon-Accord" was the password used by the citizens of Aberdeen in 1308 when they rose up, killed the English garrison and captured the town for Robert the Bruce. Bon-Accord is now the motto of the City of Aberdeen.


"Eve and the apple was the first great step in experimental science"

Author and playwright James Bridie (1888-1951)


"I think I have made it clear how important drink is to the Scottish character. Is it any wonder how many Glaswegians hold teetotalers in such great contempt. In Glasgow, we've always enjoyed the ancient ceremony of throwing teetotalers into pubs on Saturday night"

Arnold Brown (lecturing to a class of immigrants about local customs).


"In Scotland, when people congregate, they tend to argue and discuss and reason; in Orkney, they tell stories."

George Mackay Brown, poet and novelist and native of Orkney.


"My thing isn't flashing"

Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat Member of the Scottish Parliament, when he was having trouble with the electronic voting system. His remark caused the other MSPs to collapse with hysterics.


"Some hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat -
And sae the Lord be thankit."

This "Selkirk Grace" by Robert Burns, takes its name from the Earl of Selkirk, rather than the place. It was first delivered at the Heid Inn (now the Selkirk Arms) in Kircudbright in 1794. It may be that the toast was traditional, rather composed by the bard. He certainly never wrote it down.


"I never had the least thought or inclination of turning Poet till I once got heartily in love, and then rhyme and song were, in a manner, the spontaneous language of my head."

Poet and great lover of lassies, Robert Burns (1759-1796).


When Robert Burns was being well looked after and entertained in the Highlands in 1787 he is reputed to have said:

"When death's dark stream I ferry o'er -

A time that surely SHALL come -
In Heaven itself I'll ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome!"

Robert Burns is said to have watched as a sailor jumped into the harbour to rescue a rich man who had fallen into the water. As a reward, the rich man gave his rescuer a shilling. The crowd became angry at the small amount but Burns observed :

"This gentleman is the best judge of the value of his own life".


Next page Thomas Carlyle to Tam Dalyell > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

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