Scottish Quotations - Page 7

Robert Louis Stevenson

Commemorative Royal Bank of Scotland banknote, showing Robert Louis Stevenson and objects from some of his books.

Teacher - "If you had two pounds in one trouser pocket and one pound in the other, what would you have?"

Pupil "Someone else's trousers miss"

Brian Souter, Scotland's richest man and chairman of Stagecoach the bus company with 31,000 employees, speaking at the Scottish Trade Union Congress and explaining that at school he had been a "slow learner" recounted this story from his schooldays.


"All politicians have vanity. Some wear it more gently than others."

Sir David Steel, speaking in 1985. Sir David is now the Presiding Officer of the new Scottish Parliament.


"We do have the greatest fans in the world but I've never yet seen a fan score a goal"

Jock Stein (1922-1985) during the World Cup in Spain, 1982.


"The mark of a Scot of all classes [is that] he ... remembers and cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity with the dead even to the twentieth generation."

Robert Louis Stevenson


"And though I would rather die elsewhere, yet in my heart of hearts I long to be buried among good Scots clods. I will say it fairly, it grows on me with every year: there are no stars as lovely as Edinburgh street-lamps. When I forget thee, Auld Reekie, may my right hand forget its cunning!"

Robert Louis Stevenson, writing in "The Scot Abroad"


"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The grat affair is to move; to feel the needs and hitches of our life more nearly; to come down off this featherbed of civilisation. and find the globe granite underfoot and strewn with cutting flints"

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-94) in the classic travellers' tale "Travels with a Donkey"


"Above twenty times more tea is used now than 20 years ago. Bewitched by the mollifying influence of an enfeebling potion, the very poorest classes begin to regard it as one of the necessaries of life and for its sake resign the cheaper and more invigorating nourishment which the productions of their country afford."

Statistical Account of Scotland (1793) by Robert Stirling, minister of Crieff.


"It isn't Skye, but it is really a lovely place, only spoiled by the people. Far too many of them."

Novelist Annie S Swan (1859-1953), writing about Oban (population 8,000).


"It hasn't sunk in yet, but it must be a great boost to the spirits of all golfers at my old age"

Arran golfer Harry Taylor, aged 74, who hit TWO holes in one in the SAME round.


"Let kings and courtiers rise and fa;
This world has mony turns,
But brightly beams aboon them a'
The star o' Robbie Burns."

Words to a traditional tune written by James Thomson:


"May opinion never float on the waves of ignorance"

From "The Toastmaster's Companion" which was published in Stirling in 1822.


"...I feel a sort of reverence in going over these scenes in this most beautiful country, which I am proud to call my own, where there was such devoted loyalty to the family of my ancestors - for Stuart blood is in my veins..."

Queen Victoria's journal entry in 1873.


Assuredly we must cut our coat to suit our cloth - and the cloth is the tartan

Wendy Wood (1892-1981), Scottish patriot and nationalist (who was born in England).


"Whaur's yer Wully Shakespeare noo?"

Shouted by an anonymous, over-enthusiastic Scot in the audience at the first performance of the play "Douglas" by John Home, in Edinburgh, December 1756.


Here is a classic Scots toast:

Mey the best ye hae ivver seen

be the warst ye'll ivver see.
Mey the moose ne'er lea' yer girnal
wi the tear-drap in its ee.
Mey ye aye keep hail an hertie
till ye'r auld eneuch tae dee.
Mey ye aye juist be sae happie
as A wish ye aye tae be.

(The language is mainly understandable but here is a translation, just in case)

May the best you have ever seen

be the worst you will ever see.
May the mouse never leave your grain store
with a tear drop in its eye.
May you always stay whole and hearty
until you are old enough to die.
May you still be as happy
as I always wish you to be.

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