Scotland's National Anthem

In a previous post I talked about how Scotland doesn't have a national anthem. The reason they don't have one has to do of course with their history with England. For anything that they needed an anthem for, they actually used God Save the Queen. One of the verses in God Save the Queen has a line about crushing the Scots, granted they hardly ever sing that verse, but I can still how it still offends.

As they've become more independent from England they've been trying to come to some sort of consensus on a national anthem. At any rate, I thought it might be interesting to blog on the most popular tunes in the running and set up a little poll off to the side.

Flower of Scotland
The first and most popular song is called Flower of Scotland. This song was written in 1967 by the folk group The Corries. The song is about Robert the Bruce's victory at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. This is the same Robert the Bruce from Braveheart and the Battle of Bannockburn starts in the very last scene of the movie. This song was adopted by the Scottish Football Association (that's soccer in the U.S.) as their official pre-game anthem. One of the cons to this is that it's super hard to play on the Great Highland Bagpipes. Here are The Corries singing:

Higland Cathedral
The second song is called Highland Cathedral. This song was written in 1982 by German composers Ulrich Roever and Michael Korb. This song was written as a tribute to Scots fighting and serving overseas. It's often played as a hymn just before a battle. There are two sets of lyrics. I believe these are the original lyrics:

There is a land far from this distant shore
Where heather grows and Highland eagles soar
There is a land that will live ever more
Deep in my heart, my Bonnie Scotland
Though I serve so far away I still see your streams, cities and dreams
I can't wait until the day
When I'll come home once more
And so Lord keep me from the harm of war
Through all its dangers and the battle's roar
Keep me safe until I'm home once more
Home to my own in Bonnie Scotland

Another version is
Land of my fathers, we will always be
Faithful and loyal to our own country.
In times of danger, we will set you free.
Lead you to glory and to victory.
Hail, Caledonia, to our ancient land.
In this Highland Cathedral let us stand as men.
Joining together with one dream to share.
God bless the people of this land so fair.
Gone is the past, let us start anew.
Let this hope of peace, always remain.
Children of Scotia, be strong and true.
Then our children will smile again, again, again, again.
Rise, Caledonia, let your voices ring
In this Highland Cathedral of our God and King.
Whom, joy and liberty, to all, will bring.
Come; let your heart, with love and courage, sing

Here's a nice version played by The Royal Irish Regiment:

A Man's a Man for a 'That
The third song is called A Man's a Man for a 'That. This song was written by Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet.

This is old Scots again, here are the lyrics:

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a that!
For a' that, an a' that!
Our toils obscure, an a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.
What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden grey, an a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine -
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
Their tinsel show, an a' that,
The honest man, tho e'er sae poor,
Is king o men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an stares, an a' that?
Tho hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
His ribband, star, an a' that,
The man o independent mind,
He looks an laughs at a' that.
A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an a' that,
Their dignities, an a' that,
The pith o sense an pride o worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that),
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That man to man, the world, o'er
Shall brithers be for a' that.

I like this version sung by Celtic Grooves:

Scotland the Brave
The fourth song in the running is Scotland the Brave. This song appeared around the turn of the 20th century and the lyrics were written by Scottish journalist Cliff Hanley around the 1950's.

Here are the lyrics:

Hark when the night is falling
Hear! hear the pipes are calling,
Loudly and proudly calling,
Down thro' the glen.
There where the hills are sleeping,
Now feel the blood a-leaping,
High as the spirits of the old Highland men.

Towering in gallant fame,
Scotland my mountain hame,
High may your proud standards gloriously wave,
Land of my high endeavour,
Land of the shining river,
Land of my heart for ever,
Scotland the brave.
High in the misty Highlands,
Out by the purple islands,
Brave are the hearts that beat
Beneath Scottish skies.
Wild are the winds to meet you,
Staunch are the friends that greet you,
Kind as the love that shines from fair maidens' eyes.

Far off in sunlit places,
Sad are the Scottish faces,
Yearning to feel the kiss
Of sweet Scottish rain.
Where tropic skies are beaming,
Love sets the heart a-dreaming,
Longing and dreaming for the homeland again.

I'm very amused by this version of it. Be prepared, it's called doggy dancing and in this video it's done to Scotland the Brave. I saw some of this interesting sport last winter:

Scots Wha Hae!
The last song in the running is Scots Wha Hae! I blogged about that recently so I won't repeat any of that here.

So there you have it. Of all of these songs, I only know how to play Scotland the Brave and Scots Wha Hae on the pipes and my vote would go to Scots Wha Hae.

After you've had a listen go and vote in the poll.

Pipe on!


Melissa said...

Hell, I didn't know that my country didnt have an anthem. I always thought it was Flower Of Scotland. I was taught that it was our anthem at school.

paul said...

I recently composed a new national anthem for Scotland

If anyone would like to give it a listen, go to


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