Scotlands Songs

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Both Sides The Tweed

吀爀愀挀欀 㐀
(唀渀欀渀漀眀渀 愀氀戀甀洀 ⠀㈀㌀开 ㄀开㈀ ㄀  ㄀ 开 )

A song printed and probably made by Borders writer James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, and amended by Dick Gaughan.

What’s the spring, breathing jasmine and rose

What’s the summer with all its gay train

Or the splendour of autumn to those

Who’ve bartered their freedom for gain?


Let the love of our land’s sacred rights

To the love of our people succeed

Let friendship and honour unite

And flourish on both sides the Tweed

No sweetness the senses can cheer

Which corruption and bribery bind

No brightness that gloom can e’er clear

For honour’s the sum of the mind

Let virtue distinguish the brave

Place riches in lowest degree

Think them poorest who can be a slave

Them richest who dare to be free

Hear this song performed by Dick Gaughan with an audience in the north of England.

On his website Dick Gaughan says the following.

“This was put into this form in 1979 shortly after the Scots returned a majority in favour of a separate Scottish Parliament but the vote was vetoed in the UK Parliament due to the inclusion of the notorious "40% of all eligible votes" clause which had the effect of counting votes not cast as being votes against. There is now good evidence to suggest that the architect of this piece of electoral sleight-of-hand may have been Robin Cook.

“The verses call for the recognition of Scotland's right to sovereignty and the choruses argue against prejudice between our peoples. The Tweed is the river which forms part of the Scots-English border and is used here as a symbol of both the need for independence and the need for friendship and co-existence.

“The original text was an attack upon the Treaty of Union of 1707 which abolished the independent Scots and English Parliaments and set up the United Kingdom. I made some minor amendments to give it contemporary relevance.

“The tune has been the subject of some speculation and argument. So far as I am aware, I actually composed it and am highly flattered by the presumption that it is traditional, with people claiming to have known it for several decades, if not centuries.

“For one writing songs in a ‘traditional’ genre, this is the highest compliment imaginable. Like all tunes composed within any aesthetic, it is inevitable that it has similarities to and contains phrases and quotes from earlier tunes. However, if someone can provide a printed or recorded source to prove the existence of this tune prior to 1979 then I'd be delighted to acknowledge that I unconsciously used a traditional tune.”