Traditional Scottish Songs
- A Song of the Country

John Stuart Blackie (18091895) was a Scottish scholar and man of letters. He was born in Glasgow and educated at the New Academy and afterwards at the Marischal College, in Aberdeen, where his father was manager of the Commercial Bank. After rejecting a career in the church and then becoming a lawyer, his love of the classics and letters in general, led to him being appointed to the newly-instituted chair of Humanity (Latin) in the Marischal College. His enthusiastic lecturing style and a translation of Aeschylus, which he published in 1850, brought him to the attention of Edinburgh University and in 1852 he was appointed there to the professorship of Greek, in succession to George Dunbar, a post which he held for thirty years.

He had a sympathy for highland home life and the grievances of the crofters there. This "Song of the Country" pushes all the buttons and levers for country life in preference to "the dust and the din of the town".


A Song of the Country

Away from the roar and the rattle,
    The dust and the din of the town,
Where to live is to brawl and to battle,
    Till the strong treads the weak man down!
Away to the bonnie green hills
    Where the sunshine sleeps on the brae,
And the heart of the greenwood thrills
    To the hymn of the bird on the spray.

Away from the smoke and the smother,
    The veil of the dun and the brown,
The push and the plash and the pother,
    The wear and the waste of the town!
Away where the sky shines clear,
    And the light breeze wanders at will,
And the dark pine-wood nods near
    To the light-plumed birch on the hill.

Away from the whirling and wheeling,
    And steaming above and below,
Where the heart has no leisure for feeling
    And the thought has no quiet to grow.
Away where the clear brook purls,
    And the hyacinth droops in the shade,
And the plume of the fern uncurls
    Its grace in the depth of the glade.

Away to the cottage so sweetly
    Embowered 'neath the fringe of the wood,
Where the wife of my bosom shall meet me
    With thoughts ever kindly and good;
More dear than the wealth of the world,
    Fond mother with bairnies three,
And the plump-armed babe that has curled
    Its lips sweetly pouting for me.

Then away from the roar and the rattle
    The dust and the din of the town,
Where to live is to brawl and to battle
    Till the strong treads the weak man down.
Away where the green twigs nod
    In the fragrant breath of the May,
And the sweet growth spreads on the sod,
    And the blithe birds sing on the spray.

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