Jul 26 2002

Hamish Henderson (OBE declined) 1919-2002

Category: Emancipation & Liberation,Issue 02RCN @ 7:23 pm

Hamish Henderson, folklorist, poet, Scottish internationalist and socialist died on March 3rd this year. In the year of the golden jubilee, it is worth remembering that Hamish turned down an OBE in 1983. Whilst Scotland’s semi-official nationalist anthem, Flower of Scotland, is sung by Princess Anne at Scottish rugby matches, Hamish’s internationalist anthem, Freedom Come All Ye ranks with Burns’ A Man’s a Man as one of the great anthems written for all humankind.

Freedom Come Aa Ye (Scots)

Roch the win i the clear day’s dawin
Blaws the clouds heilster-gowdie owre the bay
But there’s mair nor a roch win blawin
Thro the Great Glen o the warl the day
It’s a thocht that wad gar our rottans
Aa thae rogues that gang gallus fresh an gay
Tak the road an seek ither loanins
Wi thair ill-ploys tae sport an play

Nae mair will our bonnie callants
Merch tae war whan our braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid an clachan
Murn the ships sailin doun the Broomielaw
Broken faimilies in launs we’ve hairriet
Will curse ‘Scotlan the Brave’ nae mair, nae mair
Black an white ane-til-ither mairriet
Mak the vile barracks o thair maisters bare

Sae come aa ye at hame wi freedom
Never heed whit the houdies croak for Doom
In yer hous aa the bairns o Adam
Will fin breid, barley-bree an paintit room
Whan MacLean meets wi’s friens in Springburn
Aa thae roses an geeans will turn tae blume
An a black laud frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doun.

Freedom Come All Ye (English)

It’s a rough wind in the clear day’s dawning
Blows the clouds head-over-heels across the bay
But there’s more than a rough wind blowing
Through the Great Glen of the world today
It’s a thought that would make our rodents
All those rogues who strut and swagger,
Take the road and seek other pastures
To carry out their wicked schemes

No more will our fine young men
March to war at the behest of jingoists and imperialists
Nor will young children from mining communities and rural hamlets
Mourn the ships sailing off down the River Clyde
Broken families in lands we’ve helped to oppress
will never again have reason to curse the sound of advancing Scots
Black and white, united in friendship and marriage
Will result in the military garrisons being abandoned and empty

So come all ye who love freedom
Pay no attention to the prophets of doom
In your house all the children of Adam
Will be welcomed with food, drink and hospitality
When the spirit of John Maclean returns to his people
All the flowers will blossom
And black Africa will bring crashing down
All Imperialism’s dreadful apparatus of oppression

Translated by Dick Gaughan

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