Saturday, 8 July 2017

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

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!