Poetry Corner: Scots Wha Hae

The Bruce called out to him at Bannockburn and his name was used as a battle cry by the Scots for many centuries. St Kessog was Scotland’s patron saint before St  Andrew. O the 10th of  March 560, St Kessog (MacKessog) was killed by paid brigands. 

Son of the king of Cashel in Ireland, St Kessog is said to have worked miracles, even as a child. He left Ireland and became a missionary bishop in Scotland. Using Monks’ Island in Loch Lomond as his headquarters, he evangelized the surrounding area until he was martyred, supposedly at Bandry, where a heap of stones was known as St Kessog’s Cairn.

Hill of St Kessog

Tom Na Kessaig (Hill of St. Kessog) St Kessog – An Irish follower of St Columba. The mound dates from the 6th Century and is located at The Meadows in Callander. ©Kenneth Allen

Scots Wha Hae By Robert Burns

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
         Or to victory!
Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud Edward’s power—
         Chains and slavery!
Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave!
Wha sae base as be a slave?
         Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
         Let him follow me!
By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
         But they shall be free!
Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!—
         Let us do or die!

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