The taming of the Scots tongue (by Robert Lindsay)

by Robert Lindsay
(Edinburgh, Scotland)

Now with author's reading - https://soundcloud.com/humanature2001/the-taming-of-the-scots-tongue

This Robert has a tale to tell
Now listen guid and learn it well
For who can tell 'for whom the bell'
Will for you toll?
When Mither tongue's removed
Ye lose yer soul

Now let me tell ye aboot ma lot
The evil-ution o’ a Scot
I moved from 'cannae' to cannot
'Yonder' to there..
From couthy sayings o’ ma kin
Tae debonair

I’ve trained my memory to blot
Out Whit? And Eh? and ask you What?
And all because I am a Scot
Of native breed
For sake o’ compre-hen-si-on
I did concede

Ye neednae bother telling me
To learn yer English ABC
I’ve even changed from ZED to ZEE
To please you’ze lot..
Oh what a traitor to my kind
I’ve come to be

To force ma tongue an’ heart an’ mind
Wi' suffering brain, and teeth in grind
Ye’ve no idea how unkind
It feels to me
To speak oot like announcers fine
O’ BBC

For Scots with accents cannot win
And now I've shed so many skins
Will polite company let me in?
And let me speak
In borrowed tones and emphases
Supremely meek?

But why did Scottish King James I (ONE)
Not point a great big, scary gun
And kick some ass (and kick some bum)
Of English foe
To make our accent overcome
When gi’en the go?

Made Parliament his tune to dance..
To learn the auld Scots tongue perchance?
By King's Decree - don’t look askance
Dressed all in plaid?
Then I’d no’ be in this grand prance
O’ masquerade

As first King o’ the British Isles
He could have ordered all with smiles
He could have saved us Scots our need
Of tongues to stitch
And rebel English poncy heids
Thrown in the ditch

Instead we've all been anglicized
And pithy ‘Scots’ is bastardised
Our ancient past romanticised
And kept as fun
For windbag, bletherin’ tourist guides
Their mouths to run

Our kilts remain, and bagpipes play
But scarce we get the time of day
An English tone will - come what may
Be understood
Reverting in our whiskied daze
We're seen as rude

So now we squeeze, with weary frown
Our accents, hard our gullets down
A loon in toon’s: a man about town
In troosered legs
And kilts are worn by cheery clowns
At whisky kegs

I’ve said ma piece, ye dinnae get it
Ma pragmatism's sair regrettit
Now we all speak like English twits
Forgive the pun
Our souls are strangled in despite
Of Bannockburn

Had guid King Jimmy had the baws
To gie the English Scottish jaws
The world would speak - one man and a’
Like Rabbie Burns
And poetry'd ring out far abroad
Frae Scottish Bards!

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Jan 20, 2016
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