MS: Song to the tune, 'Caledonian Hunt's Delight'

Robert Burns, Author 
Object Number:


In this patriotic song, Burns suggests that Scotland has divine origins. He gives a short history of Scotland's invaders and their successes and defeats until the country is at last set free. He sent this song to James Johnson, the complier of the Scots Musical Museum on 23 January 1789.

On the first page, Burns writes that Scotland has developed by divine ordination with heavenly overlords. He relishes in Scotland's peaceful inclinations that can become warlike if threatened. He also believes that Scotland's ancestors, the Picts, originated from Scandinavia and preferred farming and field sports.

On the second page, Burns tells of the loss of peace across Scotland with the arrival of the Roman invasion and plunder followed by the Picts disposing of them.

The third page contains only four lines mentioning troubles with England and France and the Pictish victory over Eggfrith at Nechtansmere in 685AD. This version omits eight lines relating to Danes and Norwegians which are included in other versions.

In the final verse, Burns states that Scotland is stable and free. He uses a metaphor from geometry, describing Scotland as the hypotenuse of a triangle which has time as the base and chance the vertical.

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