Haile, Quene and Emperyse!

William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.
William Dyce, The Virgin and Child, 1845.


ROISS Mary most of vertew virginall.
Fresche flowr on quhom the hevynnis dewe doun fell.
O gemme joynit in joye angelicall,
In quhom Jhesu rejosit wes to dwell.
Rute of refute, of mercy spring and well,
Of ladyis chois as is of letteris A,
Empress of hevyne, of paradyss, and hell,
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O sterne that blyndis Phebus bemys bricht,
With course above the hevynnis cristallyne;
Above the speir of Saturne hie on hicht,
Surmunting all the angelis ordouris nyne;
O lamp lemand befoir the trone devyne!
Quhar cherubyne syngis sweit Osanna,
With organe, tympane, harpe, and symbilyne;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O chast conclaif of clene virginite,
That closit Crist but crymes criminale;
Tryumphand tempill of the Trinite,
That turned us fra Tartar eternall:
Princes of peiss, and palme imperiall,
Our wicht invinsable Sampson sprang the fra,
That with ane buffat bair doune Beliall;
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Thy blyssit sydis bair the campioun,
The quhilk, with mony bludy woundis, in stour,
Victoriusly discomfeit the dragoun
That reddy wes his pepill to devour;
At hellis ȝettis he gaf hyme na succour,
He brak the barmekyn of that bribour bla,
Quhill all the feyndis trymbillit for reddour:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

O madyne meik, most mediatrix for man,
And moder myld, full of humilite!
Pray thy sone Jhesu, with his woundis wan,
Quhilk deinȝeit him for our trespass to de,
And as he bled his blude vpon a tre,
Us to defend fra Lucifer our fa,
In hevyne that we may syng apon our kne:
O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

Hail, purifyet perle! Haile, port of paradyse
Haile, redolent ruby, riche and radyuss!
Haile, clarifyit cristale! Haile, quene and emperyse!
Haile, moder of God! Haile, Virgin glorius!
O gracia plena, tecum Dominus!
With Gabriell that we may syng and say,
Benedicta tu in mulieribus: O mater Jhesu, salue Maria!

— Asloan Manuscript, National Library of Scotland.

At the Glesga Necropolis

Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toun
Upstairs an doonstairs in his nichtgoun
Rappin at the windaes, tirlin at the lock
Are aa the bairnies in their beds, it’s past echt o clock?

There are bairnies sleepin here that niver waukened up
Niver saw a simmer’s day, or got the birthin cup
Niver watched the sun rise, or gowans dauncin bricht
There are bairnies sleepin in the Lang Guid Nicht

Yet their mithers murn them, their faither’s ne’er forget
The shadda-faimly littlins ahin Life’s steekit yett
May their sleep be blithesome, wi bonnie flooerie dreams
Aa the bairnies sleepin unner Daith’s cauld steens.

Sheena Blackhall, Cleaning the Apostle Spoons: Poems in Scots & English, Aberdeen: Malfranteaux, 2012.

A Waddin Toast

A Highland Dance (1780) by David Allan, Scottish National Gallery.
A Highland Dance (1780) by David Allan, Scottish National Gallery.

Be as the swans that glimmer ower the loch
Waddit for life, until Daith dis them pairt
Be as the Cushie Doos, that coort foraye
Their dearies, wi a douce an tender-hairt

Be as the Ernes, sae fierce, an yet sae leal
Far reengin, yet wi a returnin wing
Be as the Hoolets, bosied in the laft
Inbye their nest, fur comfort see them cling

As burnie seeks the sea, an trees seek the air
The merriege o a man an wife should be
As blythe as blossom in the aspen’s hair
As merry as the rowan on the lea

It merks the stert o halvin life’s lang tcyaave
Fin twa lie doon tae taste life’s sweets thegither
Sae let the bells ring oot, the whisky poor
Let aa gweed wishes bless this pair foriver

A Waddin Toast by Sheena Blackhall.

Eject Vice and Follow Treuth Alway

Portrait of James I, King of Scots, National Galleries of Scotland.
Portrait of James I, King of Scots, National Galleries of Scotland.

Sen throw vertew incressis dignitie,
And vertew is flour and rute of noblesse ay,
Of ony wit or quhat estait thow be,
His steppis follow and dreid for none effray:
Eject vice and follow treuth alway:
Lufe maist thy God that first thy lufe began,
And for ilk inche he will the quyte ane span.

Be not ouir proude in thy prosperitie,
For as it cummis sa will it pas away;
The tyme to compt is schort thow may weill se,
For of grene gress sone cummis wallowit hay.
Labour in treuth quhilk suith is of thy fay;
Traist maist in God, for he best gyde the can,
And for ilk inche he will the quyte ane span.

Sen word is thrall and thocht is only fre,
Thou dant thy toung, that power hes and may,
Thou steik thy ene fra warldis vanitie:
Refraine thy lust, and harkin quhat I say:
Graip or thow slyde, and keip furth the hie-way,
Thow hald the fast upon thy God and man,
And for ilk inche he will the quyte ane span.

— James I, King of Scots, from The Gude and Godlie Ballates (1578).

I Will Aye Remember

Bide a wee ye bonnie hours o’ sweet yestreen
Haud awa’ the thocht that e’er I will forget
Lang the wimplin wey unrowes afore my een?
And the mindin’ will be sweeter yet

Aye, the road was haudin’ frae the lass that I will aye remember
Braw burn the bridges far behind me in the rain
The leaves were changin’ tae the colours o’ the glowing embers
My heart lay waiting for the spring tae come again

Hae we rin the gless or daur we dream of mair
While as surely as the river meets the sea?
When the eastlin’s wind has blawn the forest bare
Will the pertin’ a’ the wider be?


Could I leeze me on your lousome face again
Gin the traivel’s turn should bring me tae your side
Fain would I nae langer steek my heart wi’ pain
Or lay curse upon the ocean wide


Braw Burn the Bridges, Roy Gullane.

The Maist Honorable and Ancient Place in Scotland

Colmkill. Narrest this be twa myles of sea, layes the ile the Erische callit I-colm-Kill, that is, Sanct Colm’s ile, ane faire mayne ile of twa myle lange and maire, and ane myle braid, fertill, and fruitfull of corne and store, and guid for fishing. Within this ile there is a monastery of mounckes, ane uther of nuns, with a paroche-kirk, and sundrie uther chapells, dotat of auld by the kings of Scotland, and be Clandonald of the iyles. This abbay forsaid was the cathedrall kirk of the bishops of the iyles sen the tyme they were expulsed out of the ile of Man by the Englishmen; for within the ile of Man was ther cathedrall kirke and living of auld, as I have already said in the description of that ile. Within this ile of Colmkill, there is ane sanctuary also, or kirkzaird, callit in Erische Religoran, quhilk is a very fair kirkzaird, and weill biggit about with staine and lyme: into this sanctuary ther is three tombes of staine formit like little chapels, with ane braid gray marble or quhin staine in the gavill of ilk ane of the tombes. In the staine of ane tombe there is wretten in Latin letters, Tumulus Regum Scotiæ, that is, The tomb ore grave of the Scotts Kinges. Within this tombe, according to our Scotts and Erische cronickels, ther layes fortey-eight crouned Scotts kings, throughe the quhilk this ile hes beine richlie dotat be the Scotts kings, as we have said. The tombe on the south syde forsaid hes this inscription, Tumulus Regum Hyberniæ, that is, The tombe of the Irland kinges; for we have in our auld Ericshe cronickells, that there wes foure Irland kings eirdit in the said tombe. Upon the north syde of our Scotts tombe, the inscriptione beares, Tumulus Regum Norwegiæ, that is the tombe of the kings of Norroway; in the quhilk tombe, as we find in our ancient Erische cronickells, ther layes eight kings of Norroway; and als we find in our Erische cronickells, that Coelus king of Norroway commandit his nobils to take his bodey and burey it in Colm-Kill, if it chancit him to die in the iles, bot he was so discomfitit, that ther remained not so maney of his armey as would burey him ther; therfor he was eirded in Kyle, after he stroke ane field against the Scotts, and was vanquisht be them. Within this sanctuary also lyes the maist pairt of the Lords of the iles with ther lineage. Twa Clan Lynes with ther lynage, M’Kynnon and M’Guare with ther lynages, with sundrie uthers inhabitants of the hail iles, because this sanctuarey wes wont to be the sepulture of the best men of all the iles, and als of our kings as we have said; becaus it was the maist honorable and ancient place in Scotland in thair dayes, as we reid.

— Of the Western Isles of Scotland, called Hybrides; by Mr Donald Monro High Dean of the Isles who travelled through the most of them in the year 1549.

Warring Sighs and Groans I’ll Wage Thee

Robert Burns.
Robert Burns.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!
Who shall say that Fortune grieves him
While the star of hope she leaves him?
Me, nae cheerfu’ twinkle lights me,
Dark despair around benights me.

I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy;
Naething could resist my Nancy;
But to see her was to love her,
Love but her, and love for ever.
Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met—or never parted,
We had ne’er been broken-hearted.

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee!

Ae Fond Kiss, Robert Burns, 1791.