Saturday 8 July 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Fourteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)

First reading
Zechariah 9: 9-10

The Laird says this:

"Be fou o joy, O dochter o Zion!
Gie a glad cry, O dochter o Jerusalem!
See, yer king comes tae ye:
he is upricht an haes overcome;
gentle an seatit on an ass, on a young ass.
An he wul hae the chairiot cut aff frae Ephraim,
an the horse frae Jerusalem,
an the bow o war wul be cut aff:
an he wul say words o peace tae the nations:
an his rule wul be frae sea tae sea,
an frae the River tae the ends o the yird."

[Own translation level 1 01/07/20 methodology here]

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 144: 1-2, 8-11, 13-14. (resp. v. 1)

Lord God o' my ain, that's King,
I maun heize ye heigh.

Lord God o' my ain, that's King, I maun heize ye heigh;
an' laud yer name, for evir an' ay:
Ilka day, I maun roose yersel;
an' laud yer name for evir an' ay.

Lord God o' my ain, that's King,
I maun heize ye heigh.

Kind an' pitifu' ay is the Lord;
lang or he lowes; and rews right fain:
Gude's the Lord till aforby;
an' his pitie, atowre his warks ilk ane.

Lord God o' my ain, that's King,
I maun heize ye heigh.

Lord, yer doens, they praise ye a';
an' sants o' yer ain, they suld speak ye fair:
The weight o' yer kingryks, folk maun tell;
an' ay on yer rightousness words maun ware.

Lord God o' my ain, that's King,
I maun heize ye heigh.

Thae realms o' thine, hae been realms out o' mind;
an' yer rewl, it's ayont a' livin kind.
The Lord, he stoops a' wha stacher down;
an' straughts a' wha gang twa-fauld.

Lord God o' my ain, that's King,
I maun heize ye heigh.

[From Psalm 145 in The Psalms: frae Hebrew intil Scottis P. Hately Waddell (1891) here]

Second reading
Romans 8: 9, 11-13

Bot ye ar nocht in flesch, bot in spirit; gif neuirtheles the spirit of God duellis in you. Bot gif ony has nocht the spirit of Crist, this is nocht his. And gif the spirit of him that raasit Jesu Crist fra deid duellis in you, he that raasis Jesu Crist fra deid, sal quickin alsa your bodijs, for the spirit of him that duellis in you.

Tharfore, brether, we ar dettouris, nocht to flesch, that we leef eftir the flesch. For gif ye leeue eftir the flesch, ye sal dee; bot gif ye be the spirit slais the deedis of the flesch, ye sal leeue.

[From The New Testament in Scots Murdoch Nisbet [c.1520] (1903) vol 2 here]

Gospel reading
Matthew 11: 25-30

At that time Jesus spak’ an’ said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord o’ heaven an’ yirth, because thou hast hidden thae things frae the wise an’ prudent, an’ hast shawed them until bairns. E’en sae, Father: for sae it seemet guid in thy sicht. A’ things are gien until me o’ my Father; an’ nae man kenneth the Son but the Father; neither kenneth ony man the Father saufan’ the Son, an’ be til whamsaever the Son sall shaw him.

"Come until me, a’ ye wha labor an’ are heavy laden, an’ I will gie you rest. Tak’ my yoke upon you, an’ learn o’ me; for I am meek an’ laighly in hairt; an’ ye sall fin’ rest until your sauls. For my yoke is easy, an’ my burden is licht."

(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here )


  1. Hi Lazarus, in my part of the world we actually had John 19:25-27 as the Gospel reading on Sunday as we marked the Solemnity of Our Lady of Aberdeen.

    I might have asked this before, but have you ever read Graham Tulloch's A History of the Scots Bible? If I remember correctly, one thing he notes in it is that writers who 'translate' Bible passages from English into Scots tend to struggle to escape the 'gravitational pull' of English and, hence, the integrity of their Scots writing can sometimes seem compromised.

    I don't want to be unfair, but I daresay these verses from George Henderson are more akin to a lightly Scotticised 'religious' English than a forceful expression in our nobler tongue: 'hast' and 'kenneth' indeed!

    1. I haven't read the Tulloch (but have just ordered it as a result!).

      I had the same reaction when I was posting this: 'hast' and 'kenneth' stand out, don't they?! Quite apart from the peculiar pull of English translations of the Bible, I suppose it is just a fact that there is no hard line between Scots and English (or Inglis and English!) and if there is a Scylla of light Scottishing, there is also a Charybdis of avoiding anything that remotely resembles Southron.

      In the end, by providing a variety of Scots versions over the liturgical year, part of my intention is to widen the audience for historical and modern varieties of Scots -and if that is successful, part of the result will involve critical reflection on what works and what doesn't.

      Sorry to have missed the Solemnity! My impression is that devotion to Our Lady of Aberdeen in Scotland is becoming increasingly prominent through (eg) New Dawn. Let's hope and pray so anyway!

    2. That's excellent: you will certainly enjoy Tulloch's book and his intelligent analysis of various attempts to render the Bible into Scots.

      You're right about the closeness of Scots and English; the fact that there is a huge shared grammar (notwithstanding that Scots does indeed retain unique grammatical features) & vocabulary, many cognate words, and no hard boundary between the two of them. Still, I think we would be right to describe Henderson's language here as rather 'thin'.

      Devotion to Our Lady of Aberdeen can only be a very good thing for the Church in Scotland: a wonderful Marian Feast which also reminds the faithful of the resilience of the Catholic faith in this land!