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Hear a performance
This is a stirring song about the value of friendship and honour, based on traditional words from Scotland's Border country, which used to be home to bitter feuds between rival families as well as tensions between the Scots and the English.
Frances Cockburn's lilting arrangement uses the same harmony for each verse. The texture can be varied through use of soloists.
The recording is by Rudsambee company of singers, directed by the arranger. It is on the album Bottled at source (RUBEECD003). Dick Gaughan's own version of the song is on the album Handful of Earth (Topic TSCD419).
What's the spring, breathing jessmine and rose, What's the summer, with all its gay train, Or the splendour of autumn, to those Who've barter'd their freedom for gain?
Let the love of our land's sacred rights To the love of our people succeed; Let friendship and honour unite And flourish on both sides the Tweed.
No sweetness the senses can cheer Which corruption and bribery blind. No brightness that gloom can e'er clear, For honour's the sun of the mind.
Let virtue distinguish the brave, Place riches in lowest degree. Think them poorest who can be a slave, Them richest who dare to be free.
words traditional, adapted by Dick Gaughan The words and tune of this arrangement are used courtesy of Topic Records Ltd (www.topicrecords.co.uk).
Purchase – 1013: Both sides the Tweed
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