Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Deja Vu All Over Again

Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation is a Scottish folk song whose lyrics are taken from a Robert Burns poem of of the same name, dated 1791. It condemns those members of the Parliament of Scotland who signed the Act of Union with England in 1707, contrasting their treachery toward the nation with the tradition of martial valor and resistance commonly associated with national heroes such as Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. It has continued to be associated with Scottish nationalism.

Burns’s spirited denunciation of the rogues who sold Scotland for English gold refers to the Scottish commissioners who voted for the immoral Act of Union of 1707, some of whom were bribed.  It should be remembered that Burns was one of Scotland's most famous and celebrated Freemason.

The melody and lyrics were published in volume 1 ofJames Hogg's Jacobite Reliques of 1819 (no. 36).

Fareweel to a' our  Scottish fame
Fareweel our ancient glory
Fareweel e'en to our  Scottish name
Sae fam'd in martial story
Now Sark rins o'er the Solway sands
And Tweed rins tae the Ocean.
To mark where England's province stands
Sic a parcel of rogues in a nation.

What  force or guile could  not  subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward  few
For hireling traitors wages
The English steel we could disdain
Secure in valour's station.
But English gold has been our bane
Sic a parcel of rogues in a nation.

I would, ere I had seen the day
When treason thus could sell us
My auld grey head had lain in clay
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace
But pith and power ‘till my last hour
I’ll mak' this declaration.
We were bought and sold for English gold
Sic a parcel of rogues in a nation.

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