Traditional Scottish Songs
- The Roof of Straw

The Reverend Henry Duncan (1774-1846) was a most remarkable man. During his lifetime he not only founded the first mutual savings bank (spawning what was to become a world-wide movement which spawned 2,700 savings banks and related organisations in 79 countries across the world) but his interest in geology led to discovery of the first quadruped footprints to be found in Britain. He was a talented artist and a fine writer and restored the ancient Ruthwell Cross, dating to Anglo Saxon times. He was appointed Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for the year 1839 through 1840 - but then left the church at the "Disruption" to join the new Free Church of Scotland. See also Famous Scots - Rev Henry Duncan and an article on the Ruthwell Cross.

The simple song below is typical of this modest minister whose main aim was to help his fellow man.

The Roof of Straw

I ask no lordling's titled name,
Nor miser's hoarded store;
I ask to live with those I love,
Contented though I 'm poor.
From joyless pomp and heartless mirth
I gladly will withdraw,
And hide me in this lowly vale,
Beneath my roof of straw.

To hear my Nancy's lips pronounce
A husband's cherish'd name,
To press my children to my heart
Are titles, wealth and fame.
Let kings and conquerors delight
To hold the world in awe,
Be mine to find content and peace
Beneath my roof of straw.

When round the winters' warm fireside
We meet with social joy,
The glance of love to every heart
Shall speak from every eye.
More lovely far such scenes of bliss
Than monarch ever saw,
Even angels might delight to dwell
Beneath my roof of straw.

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