Traditional Scottish Songs
- The Garb of Old Gaul

While there was often a close link between Scotland and France, there have been times when Scottish soldiers have fought against the "Gauls" (the Roman name for the French). One such occasion was the capture of French Canada. This warlike song, referring to those times, was written by Sir Henry Erskine and the music to which it is sung was written by General Reid.

The Garb of Old Gaul

In the garb of old Gaul with the fire of old Rome,
From the heath cover'd mountains of Scotia we come,
Where the Roman's endeavour'd our country to gain,
But our ancestors fought, and they fought not in vain.

Such our love of liberty, our country and our laws,
That like our ancestors of old, we stand by freedom's cause,
We'll bravely fight like heroes bright for honour and applause
And defy the French with all their arts to alter our laws.

No effeminate customs our sinews unbrace,
No luxurious tables enervate our race;
Our loud sounding pipe breathes the true martial strain
And our hearts still the old Scottish valour retain.


As a storm in the ocean when Boreas blows,
So are we enrag'd when we rush on our foes,
We sons of the mountains tremendous as rocks,
Dash the force of our foes with our thundering strokes.


We're tall as the oak on the mount of the vale,
Are as swift as the roe which the hound doth assail;
As the full moon in autumn our shields do appear,
Minerva would dread to encounter our spear.


Quebec and Cape Breton, the pride of old France,
In their troops fondly boasted till we did advance,
But when our claymores they saw us produce,
Their courage did fail and they sued for a truce.


In our realm may the fury of faction long cease;
May our councils be wise and our commerce increase,
And in Scotia's cold climate may each of us find
That our friends still prove true, and our beauties prove kind.

Then we'll defend our liberty, our country and our laws,
And teach our late posterity to fight freedom's cause,
That like our bold ancestors for honour and applause
May defy the French with all their arts to alter our laws.

Return to the Index of Traditional Scottish Songs

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line