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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The Freedom Come All Ye

This magnificent song was written by Hamish Henderson in 1960 for the peace marchers at the Holy Loch near Glasgow. The tune is the World War I pipe march, ‘The Bloody Fields of Flanders’.

Roch the wind in the clear day’s dawin
Blaws the cloods heelster-gowdie ow’r the bay
But there’s mair nor a roch wind blawin
Through the great glen o the warld the day.

It’s a thocht that will gar oor rottans
A’ they rogues that gang gallus, fresh and gay -
Tak the road and seek ither loanins
For their ill ploys, tae sport and play

Nae mair will the bonnie callants
Mairch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw,
Nor wee weans frae pit-heid and clachan
Mourn the ships sailin doon the Broomielaw.

Broken faimlies in lands we’ve herriet
Will curse Scotland the Brave nae mair, nae mair;
Black and white, ane til ither mairriet
Mak the vile barracks o their maisters bare

So come all ye at hame wi Freedom,
Never heed whit the hoodies croak for doom
In your hoose a' the bairns o Adam
Can find breid, barley-bree and painted room.

When MacLean meets wi’s freens in Springburn
A' the roses and geans will turn tae bloom,
And a black boy frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doon.

Henderson wrote this song for the marchers at Dunoon, hence the opening lines about the blustery Argyll weather. But like many others who write songs about peace he developed his lyric to talk about our history, our future and our hopes.

Some people feel this song should be our national anthem, but Henderson himself hoped this would not happen. He felt that part of the song’s strength is that it is ‘alternative’, not official.

Hamish first heard this tune as the pipe march 'The Bloody Fields of Flanders' in 1944 on the beachhead at Anzio in Italy.

For more about the 1960 peace marchers, see 'Ding Dong Dollar'.

Hear 'The Freedom Come All Ye' sung by Jim Reid.
From A’ The Bairns O’ Adam (Hamish Henderson Tribute), CDTRAX244 (September 2003), Greentrax Recordings.

Hear 'The Freedom Come All Ye' sung by Hamish Henderson.

Listen to 'The Freedom Come All Ye' played by Shearer.