Freedom Come-All-Ye

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"Freedom Come-All-Ye" is a Scots-language song written by Hamish Henderson in 1960. One of Henderson's most important songs, it presents a non-romantic, revisionist view of the role of the Scots in the world at the time it was written. It describes a wind of change blowing through Scotland and the world at large, sweeping away exploitation and imperialism. It renounces the tradition of the Scottish soldier both as imperial cannon-fodder and colonial oppressor and ends with a vision of a future global society which is multiracial and just.

The song's tune is an adaptation of the First World War pipe march "The Bloody Fields of Flanders", composed by John McLellan DCM (Dunoon), which Henderson first heard played on the Anzio beachhead. He wrote the lyrics after discussions with Ken Goldstein, an American researcher at the School of Scottish Studies, who had enjoyed Henderson's rendition of the tune.[1] It was subsequently adopted by Glasgow Peace Marcher CND demonstrators and the anti-Polaris campaign. A product of the Scottish folk revival, and originally a 1960s protest song, it is still popular in Scotland and overseas. Henderson described it as "expressing my hopes for Scotland, and for the survival of humanity on this beleaguered planet."[citation needed]

It is viewed by many as Scotland's 'alternative' national anthem (although there is no 'official' Scottish anthem). However, Henderson never wanted it to become as he felt that part of its strength lies in the fact that it is an alternative, an "International Anthem".[1]


Roch the wind in the clear day's dawin
Blaws the cloods heilster-gowdie owre the bay
But there's mair nor a roch wind blawin
Thro the Great Glen o the warld the day
It's a thocht that wad gar oor 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 when oor braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid an clachan
Mourn the ships sailin doun the Broomielaw
Broken faimlies in lands 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 hoose aa the bairns o Adam
Will find breid, barley-bree an paintit room
When Maclean meets wi's friens in Springburn
Aa thae roses an geans will turn tae blume
An yon black boy frae yont Nyanga
Dings the fell gallows o the burghers doun.

Translated literally to English, this would be:

Rough the wind in the clear day's dawning
Blows the clouds head over heels over 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 rats
All those rogues that go boldly fresh and gay
Take the road to seek other pastures
With their ill-ploys to sport and play
No more will our handsome youths
March to war when our braggarts arrogantly crow
Nor small children from pithead and village
Mourn the ships sailing down the Broomielaw
Broken families in lands we've harried
Will curse Scotland the Brave no more, no more
Black and white to each other married
Make the vile barracks of their masters bare
So come all you at home with freedom
Never heed what the hooded crows croak for Doom
In your house all the children of Adam
Will find bread, whisky[2] and painted room
When Maclean meets with his friends in Springburn
All those roses and wild cherries will turn to bloom
And the black boy over there from far Nyanga
Knocks the cruel gallows of the burghers down.


  1. ^ a b Heywood, Peter, "Hamish Henderson" in The Living Tradition, Issue 32, April/May 1999, Online: Accessed: 1 January 2008
  2. ^ "barley-bree". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Scottish Language Dictionaries. Retrieved 28 May 2012. "Malt liquor: whisky." 

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