Monday, 30 November 2009

St. Andrew's Day

I've chosen to mark St. Andrew's Day with a poem by Scotland's Bard, Robert Burns. As a twist, though, I've not gone for one of the most obvious poems, but rather one which is critical of the main driver in the 1707 union with England - Money!

The Scots' plan for an overseas outpost and colony (the Darien Scheme) in the 1690s had gone disasterously wrong and forced the Parliament to seek political as well as monarchical union. Burns laments that gold had suceeded where steel hadn't.

Of course, whatever the whys and wherefores of the union in the 18th Century, as a 21st Century Scot, I am very much a Unionist. Regardless of its flaws, Scotland has been well served by it and has also served it well. The relationship between the constituent members of the
United Kingdom may change, but it would be sad to see it broken.

, here's the poem:

to A' Our Scottish Fame by Robert Burns

Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae famed in martial story!
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
And Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages
The English steel we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane,
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

, would or I had seen the day
That treason thus would sell us,
My old grey head had lien in clay
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration:
We're bought and sold for English gold
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!


P.S. It could be argued that the poem has added resonance in the light of the recent loans and other support the Scottish banks have received from HM Treasuary and the Bank of England!

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Anonymous said...

So what is your take on independence?

Maybe you will have to apply for a work permit to stay in England one day soon!

oneexwidow said...

Well, I've never been in favour and don't envisage I ever will be. I think that the nationalists have an over-optimistic view of how resources would be split and seriously underestimate the financial implications.