Thursday, May 04, 2006

The sun rises bright in France

The sun rises bright in France
and so sets he
But he has tint the blink he had
In my ain countree

So drink with me a glass of wine
And sing with me some Scottish rhyme
That I may think of Auld Lang Syne
And my ain countree

The bud comes back to summer
And the blossom tae the bee
But I'll win back never
To my ain countree

The land of sweet Bordeaux
Is pleasant for tae see
But ne'er sae sweet as the land I left
And my ain countree

That's a song by Alan Cunningham (1784-1842) that I, the exiled Scot in Bordeaux, might be tempted to sing, were I the homesick type ...and could I sing. It was written to commemorate the flight to France of hundreds of Jacobites in the seventeenth century, and expresses a poignant and, some might say, characteristically Scottish attitude to exile. There's an enjoyable wistfulness about exile that we Scots are often tempted to overplay, a trait Billy Connolly exploits in an old sketch about Glasgow pubs full of maudlin folk singers wailing on about how far they are fae hame. Excuse me while I have a wail.

9 comments:

Sarah Mackenzie said...

I think we Scots are natural exiles. Historically I would say that Scotland was a bit grim, unless you were the laird or a sheep, and just about anywhere else would have been preferable. Of course now that we all have oil-fired central heating, hot and taps, duvets, satellite TV, cable and internet etc we could probably all move back and just sit out, or rather in, the midges, the rain and the howling gales not to mention the maudlin whisky soaked singers... Saying this though I would, however, love to hear your rendition of the Sun Rises Bright in France. I want to see just how maudlin you can get.

Embed a sound file. I dare you.

Lesley said...

Well, I suppose it must have been a bit more difficult for Scots exiles in the 17thC when it would have taken several weeks to get from Bordeaux to Edinburgh (and probably several months to get to Ullapool :-)) before BMIBaby etc. Although there's still no direct flight to Scotland from anywhere outside Paris in France to my knowledge.

As for singing the song: not even if you paid me, or plied me with drink! Oh, go on then ply me with drink and we'll see...

heather said...

Oh bugger, it's so true - 'enjoyable wistfulness'. Excellent - except I'm going to have to put an enjoyable wistful post on ice now....

deborah said...

It all goes with the maudlin bagpipes which I love to death. Even though only a quarter Scottish I have to weep whenever I hear a lone piper.

I have heard Lesley sing, admittedly in her cups, but she was absolutely in tune and on a table. I was most impressed as were/was the crowd.

Lesley said...

Deborah! I have no memory whatsoever of any such an event. You made it up!

deborah said...

Well of course you have no memory of it ..... I must have been sober for once. We were in the Connemarra ...... ok, perhaps it was another lass, or I dreamt it. I threw out all my old diaries recently, damn.

I like the poem and are there lots of Cunningham descendants running round Bordeaux I wonder. I kept bumping into Andersons when I was in New Zealand many years ago ..... and claimed them all as my long lost relations.

Lesley said...

Heather, How can you feel nostalgic about Scotland in Switzerland, isn't it just the same but with yodelling and higher mountains?

heather said...

and incomprehensible dialects...

I like your new layout.

wendy said...

Blogs looking good...

and oh my..Billy Connelly..love the man.