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A Little Book of Scottish Quotations
Scottish Quotations

Scottish Quotes From:
Benjamin Franklin
Robert Burns
James Hogg
Mary Queen of Scots
Sir Walter Scott
John Keats
Robert L. Stevenson
Samuel Johnson

Scottish Quotes About:
Love of Scotland
Love of Women
Scottish Nettle
Scottish Thistle
Scottish Rivers
Scottish Bagpipes
Scottish Kilts
Scottish Epitaphs
The Scots
Scottish Whisky
Scottish Food
Clan Spirit

Burns Country
Scott Country
Isle Of Skye
St Andrews
The Trossachs
The Cheviots
The Sea

Scottish Proverbs

Scottish Toasts

Robert Burns





Sir Walter Scott


























Tobias George Smollett





J. M. Barrie









James Graham,

Scottish Quotations

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Robert Burns, (1759 - 1796)
Scottish poet. My Heart's in the Highlands.

O ye'll tak' the high road, and I'll tak' the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.
The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

It's hame and it's hame, hame fain wad I be,
O, hame, hame, hame to my ain countree!
'It's hame and It's hame'
In James Hogg Jacobite Relics of Scotland ( (1819)) vol. 1, p. 134. In his notes, vol. 1, p. 294, he says he took it from R. H. Cromek's Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song (1810) and supposes that it owed much to Cunningham. Allan Cunningham.

From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides!
Fair these broad meads, these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.
'Canadian Boat Song' translated from the Gaelic in Blackwoods Edinburgh Magazine September (1829) 'Noctes Ambrosianae' no. 46 (attributed to John Galt)

Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stern strife, and carnage drear,
Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield!
Marmion (1808) canto 6, st. 34 Sir Walter Scott.

They bore within their breasts the grief
That fame can never heal
The deep, unutterable woe
Which none save exiles feel.
'The Island of the Scots' ( (1849)) st. 12
W. E. Aytoun, (1813 - 1865)

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victorie.
Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power,
Chains and slaverie.
'Robert Bruce's March to Bannockburn' (1799) (also known as 'Scots, Wha Hae') Robert Burns.

Here's tae us; wha's like us?
Gey few, and they're a' deid.
Scottish Toast, probably of 19th-century origin. The first line appears in T. W. H. Crosland The Unspeakable Scot

It came with a lass, and it will pass with a lass.
James V (1512 - 1542) King of Scotland from (1513)
Of the crown of Scotland, on learning of the birth of Mary Queen of Scots, December (1542); in Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie (c. 1500 - 1565) History of Scotland (1728)

Their learning is like bread in a besieged town: every man gets a little, but no man gets a full meal.
Referring to education in Scotland Life of Johnson (J. Boswell), Vol. II, 1775

BOSWELL I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it... JOHNSON That, Sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.
Life of Johnson (J. Boswell), Vol. I, 1763

We'll o'er the water, we'll o'er the sea,
We'll o'er the water to Charlie;
Come weel, come wo, we'll gather and go,
And live or die wi' Charlie.
'O'er the Water to Charlie' in Jacobite Relics of Scotland Second Series ( (1821) James Hogg

Each breeze from foggy mount and marshy plain
Dilutes with drivel every drizzly brain,
Till, burst at length, each wat'ry head o'erflows,
Foul as their soil, and frigid as their snows.
'The Curse of Minerva' ( (1812)) l. 139 (of Scotland)
Lord Byron.

The heathery moors slope down to a distant valley. The sun is setting. The sky above the Lammermuirs is red and troubled. The wind drops. Faint white serpents of mist twist above the greenwood, outlining the course of stream and river. It is a study in blue. In the foreground, like a promise of the Highlands, and as notable as a ship at sea, rise the tall peaks of the Eildon Hills, blue as hothouse grapes, standing with their feet among the woodlands of the Tweed. To the far sky lie hills, always hills, fading in graduated subtleties of blue. And it is quiet and so still.
H. V. Morton.

Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy banished peace, thy laurels torn.
'The Tears of Scotland' (1746)
Tobias Smollett, (1721 - 1771)

It was a' for our rightfu' King
We left fair Scotland's strand.
'It was a' for our Rightfu' King' (1796)
Robert Burns.

Solventur risu tabulae, tu missus abibis.The case will be dismissed with a laugh. You will get off scot-free.
Satires bk. 2, no. 1, l. 86 (translated by H. R. Fairclough)
Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65 - 8 bc)

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.
J. M. Barrie, What Every Woman Knows, II, 1906

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
O where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl of Murray,
And hae laid him on the green.
He was a braw gallant,
And he rid at the ring;
And the bonny Earl of Murray,
O he might hae been a king!
O lang will his Lady
Look owre the Castle Downe,
Ere she see the Earl of Murray
Come sounding through the town!
The Bonny Earl of Murray

In all my travels I never met with any one Scotchman but what was a man of sense. I believe everybody of that country that has any, leaves it as fast as they can.
Francis Lockier, (1667 - 1740)

It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.
P. G. Wodehouse, (1881 - 1975)

It's ill taking the breeks aff a wild Highlandman.
Sir Walter Scott, (1771 - 1832)
Scottish novelist. The Fair Maid of Perth, Ch. 5, 1828

That knuckle-end of England -
that land of Calvin, oat-cakes, and sulphur.
Sydney Smith, (1771 - 1845). British clergyman and essayist. Memoir (Lady Holland), 1855.

Roamin' in the gloamin',
By the bonny banks of Clyde.
Harry Lauder, (Hugh MacLennon) (1870 - 1950)
Scottish music-hall artist. Song

We walked up to the house and stood some minutes watching the swallows that flew about restlessly, and flung their shadows upon the sunbright walls of the old building; the shadows glanced and twinkled, interchanged and crossed each other, expanded and shrunk up, appeared and disappeared every instant.
'Recollections of a Tour made in Scotland' 16 August (1803) Dorothy Wordsworth.

O Caledonia! stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child!
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of my sires! what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band
That knits me to thy rugged strand!
Sir Walter Scott, (1771 - 1832)
Scottish novelist. The Lay of the Last Minstrel, VI, 1805

Nemo me impune lacessit.
No one provokes me with impunity.
Motto of the Crown of Scotland and of all Scottish regiments

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a man of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains.
'Verses Written on a Window in Scotland.'
Aaron Hill.(1685 - 1750)

Join a Highland regiment, me boy. The kilt is an unrivalled garment for fornication and diarrhoea.
John Masters, (1914 - 1983)
British writer. Bugles and a Tiger blow the Scots back again into Scotland.
One of his professed objectives for the Gunpowder Plot, referring to the Scottish-born King James I; said when questioned by the King and council immediately after his arrest, 5 Nov 1605 Dictionary of National Biography In justification of the Gunpowder Plot; said when questioned by the King and council immediately after his arrest, 5 Nov 1605 Dictionary of National Biography. Guy Fawkes.

I have been trying all my life to like Scotchmen, and am obliged to desist from the experiment in despair.
Charles Lamb, (1775 - 1834) British essayist. Essays of Elia, `Imperfect Sympathies', 1822

You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk-dancing.
Sir Arnold Bax ( (1883 - 1953)), quoting 'a sympathetic Scot' in Farewell My Youth ( (1943)) p. 17

Had Cain been Scot, God would have changed his doom
Nor forced him wander, but confined him home.
'The Rebel Scot' (1647) John Cleveland, (1613 - 1658)

A chieftain to the Highlands bound
Cries, 'Boatman, do not tarry!
And I'll give thee a silver pound
To row us o'er the ferry.'
'Lord Ullin's Daughter' (1809)
Thomas Campbell, (1777 - 1844)

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass!
William Wordsworth,
The Solitary Reaper

Let them bestow on every airth a limb;
Then open all my veins, that I may swim
To thee, my Maker! in that crimson lake;
Then place my parboiled head upon a stake -
Scatter my ashes - strew them in the air; -
Lord! since thou know'st where all these atoms are,
I'm hopeful thou'lt recover once my dust,
And confident thou'lt raise me with the just.

Lines written on the Window of his Jail the Night before his Execution 1650. James Graham, Marquis of Montrose (1612 - 1650) Scottish general. He fought for Charles I in the Civil War but his army of highlanders was defeated (1645). He returned from exile on the continent in 1650 but was captured and executed by the parliamentarians.

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