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Paraig MacNeil From De Moray: Sections 1 and 2

3rd March 2014

Hopes for Scotland

The Scots poet Paraig MacNeil has recently published an epic companion poem in Scots and English on the life and times of Sir Andrew de Moray, hero of the Wars of Scottish Independence.

This seems an excellent way to start our series of poems on Hopes for Scotland, since de Moray is praised for the virtues of compassion and couthy welcome as the bard sets out the standards of the Scots, what distinguishes them among the blood brothers of mankind: their fine climate, and their philosophy of honour and free speech.

The poem is in the 13th century Scots of Moray's time, and is accompanied by an English version.

If this historical form of Scots proves too opaque for you, you can read this section in both Scots and English, along with MacNeil's introduction to the poem, on the Kindle 'Look Inside' facility without downloading the book, since it is near the beginning of the work. Here is the link you will need:

From De Moray, sections 1 and 2

Syne aw monkynd are afe the ane-bluid brother,
juste quhow dae wee oor laund sei as oor muther,
bwitt eikyn uppe in summyn fer a nacioun,
the jeegsawe pairtys fyttyn thes equaitioun,
quhaur kytht ande ken ande leid in braw auld sayin 25
the ben ande glenn ande ynch in thair bouk leyin,
ande nae tae saye afe heyt noir cauld as raisnys,
quhaur sunne ande snaw kan jeig in seeven saisnys
wyth quhat oor fyeldis yeill or sies byget,
quhyle cod or crede eer pech or steppe in steppe 30
wyth werdys berthyn hamelie wyth compassioun
the couthie welcum nevyr oot afe fassoun?
Oh quhow syc Celttick mawcht its wob dois weif!
tae staund atween the lyveyn ande the deid,
fer aw thauts sayde frae faithir, sonne tae sonne, 35
fer rhaimyn kney till kney in natyff toung
lyke brattill thundryt, lypp till lypp tae bynde
the momorey afe mon, fer mon tae fynde
heire lyne-bye-lyne unraivellyt in thes ryddill,
quhais staur wud ryse ande faw oer Scotais gyrdill 40
Bwitt eyne throuch tyme eer tailescopyt telt
the momorey tae myrrour afe the Celtt
afe knyghts quha knelt afoir the Keng afe ireann,
quhen Fergus cam ande broucht the Stane a-beyryn
auld Scotais natyff rymyn rune quhais wows, 45
onne hairtys carfe dois schaipe, awaik, ande rowst
bye werd oor sowle tae pruive as trewe fer aye,
quhais wisioun wud aye stair us farre ande nyghe
oer human kynd tae hayle frae ayge throuch aygis,
thys tannel makkyn keng ande fowk the saigys. 50