Poetry Corner: The Braes o’ Balquidder

This day in 1797 saw rioting on the streets of Glasgow, as weavers expressed their anger at wage cuts. Workers burned their looms in the streets, and bricks were thrown at magistrates and soldiers, in protest at the city manufacturers’ proposal to reduce the scale of wages. The disorder resulted in soldiers opening fire on the insurgents and six people were killed. Scot Clans

Robert Tannahill – the ‘Weaver Poet’ – was born on 3 June 1774 on Castle Street, Paisley, the son of James Tannahill and Janet Pollock. He died on 17 May 1810, drowned in a culverted part of the Candren Burn under the Paisley Canal. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Castlehead Cemetery, Canal Street, Paisley. In 1866 a granite momument – funded by public subscriptions – was put up close to the spot in recognition of his growing reputation.

The Braes o’ Balquhidder


Let us go, lassie, go
Tae the braes o’ Balquhidder
Whar the blueberries grow
‘Mang the bonnie Hielan’ heather
Whar the deer and the rae
Lichtly bounding thegither
Sport the lang summer day
On the braes o’ Balquhidder

I will twin thee a bow’r
By the clear silver fountain
And I’ll cover it o’er
Wi’ the flooers o’ the mountain
I will range through the wilds
And the deep glens sae dreary
And return wi’ their spoils
Tae the bow’r o’ my dearie


When the rude wintry win’
Idly raves roun’ oor dwellin’
And the roar o’ the linn
On the nicht breeze is swellin’
So merrily we’ll sing
As the storm rattles o’er us
Till the dear shielin’ ring
Wi’ the licht liltin’ chorus


Noo the summers in prime
Wi’ the flooers richly bloomin’
Wi’ the wild mountain thyme
A’ the moorlan’s perfumin’
Tae oor dear native scenes
Let us journey thegither
Whar glad innocence reigns
‘Mang the braes o’ Balquhidder


To find out more about Robert Tannahill visit The Scots Language Centre

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