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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The South Countrie

24th March 2011

I never likit the kingdom o' Fife –
    Its kail's as cauld as its wind and rain,
And the folk that bide benorth o' the Clyde
    They speak a langwidge that's no' my ain.
Doun in the west is a clarty nest,
    And the big stane cities are no' for me ;
Sae I'll buckle my pack on my auld bent back
    And tak' the road for the South Countrie.

Whaur sall I enter the Promised Land,
    Owre the Sutra or doun the Lyne,
Up the side o' the water o' Clyde,
    Or cross the muirs at the heid o' Tyne,
Or staucherin' on by Crawfordjohn
    Yont to the glens where Tweed rins wee ? –
It's maitter sma' whaur your road may fa'
    Gin it land ye safe in the South Countrie.

Yon are the hills that my hert kens weel,
    Hame for the weary, rest for the auld,
Braid and high as the Aprile sky,
    Blue on the taps and green i' the fauld :
At ilka turn a bit wanderin' burn,
    And a canty biggin' on ilka lea –
There's nocht sae braw in the wide world's schaw,
    As the heughs and holms o' the South Countrie.

You are the lads that my hert loes weel,
    Frank and couthy and kind to a',
Wi' the open broo and the mirthfu' mou'
    And the open door at the e'enin's fa' ;
A trig hamesteid and a lauchin' breed
    O' weans that hearten the auld to see –
Sma' or great, can ye find the mate
    O' the folk that bide in the South Countrie?

The lichtest fit that traivels the roads
    Maun lag and drag as the end grows near;
Threescore and ten are the years o' men,
    And I'm bye the bit by a lang, lang year.
Sae I'll seek my rest in the land loe’d best,
    And ask nae mair than that God sall gie
To my failin' een for the hinmost scene
    The gentle hills o' the South Countrie.

John Buchan (1875-1940)  
 Waled bi the Poyetry Leebrary o Scotland