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Wha' the hae'?

I'm not sure exactly when my ancestors migrated from the lowlands of Scotland to Ulster, but it's certain that they were still in Scotland when the Battle of Bannockburn, usually regarded as the decisive battle in the First Scottish War of Independence,was fought in 1314. It's the battle whose beginning forms the final sequence of the movie Braveheart.

Centuries later, not long before Scotland's final loss of independence through the 1707 Act of Union with England which created Great Britain, Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns, wrote Scots Wha Hae, which was set to music and is regarded, along with Scotland the Brave, as the main competitors with Scotland's unofficial national anthem, Flower of Scotland.

The poem is Burns's conception of a speech by Robert Bruce to his troops before leading them into battle at Bannockburn. Bruce, incidentally, was a Lowlander. Lucky fellow!

That loss of independence may not be final. A referendum is scheduled for 2014 on independence for Scotland. The current Scottish government, headed by the Scottish Independence Party's Alex Salmond, strongly supports the measure, and it's given a good chance of succeeding. Under the arrangement, the "United Kingdom" would cease to exist, and Queen Elizabeth would simply be Queen of England and simultaneously Queen of Scots, the arrangement which obtained between the ascension of King James VI of Scotland to the English throne as James I upon the death of Elizabeth I and the adoption of the Act of Union.

Anyway, I came a cross this version of Scots Wha' Hae combined with images from that final sceen of Braveheart depicting Bannockburn, and I thought I'd share it.


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