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Robert Louis Stevenson

Scots Quotes and Sayings

Scots have always been known for possessing opinions, and a definite attitude to both their country and to life. Here are a few of their pithy and enlightening quotes and sayings. ( Translated into English )

"Scottish by birth, British by law,
Highlander by the grace of God"


" No one in Scotland can escape from the past.
It is everywhere, haunting like a ghost."

Geddes MacGregor

" To a Scot, the past clings like sand to wet feet,
and is carried about as a burden.
The many ghosts are always a part of them, inescapable."

Geddes MacGregor

The Scots Character is Forged in Granite
That is no Timid Reed. Shaken by the Wind.

Many's the men who've battled foe
Many the number slain
Many the lads have fallen
though Scotland shall rise again.

" Glencoe. A gloomy, eerie place, a valley of sorrow
hewn out of mountains of guilt."
Geddes MacGregor

This is my country,
The land that begat me,
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
and those who toil here
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh
And bone of my bone.

Sir Alexander Gray

For that is the mark of the Scots of all classes:
that he stands in an attitude towards the past
unthinkable to Englishmen, and remembers and
cherishes the memory of his forebears, good or
bad; and there burns alive in him a sense of identity
with the dead even to the twentieth generation.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Stirling, like a huge brooch, clasps Highlands
and Lowlands together.

Alexander Smith

From the lone sheiling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas-
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the hebridies.


Lord Aberdeen was quite touched when I told him
I was so attached to the dear, dear Highlands and
missed the fine hills so much. There is a great
peculiarity about the Highlands and Highlanders;
and they are such a chivalrous, fine, active people.

Queen Victoria

The aftermath of Culloden exacted penalties
which were to leave a permanent scar on the
Highlands of Scotland in the deliberate extinction
of the Celtic way of life - by killing, destruction,
confiscation and deportation. A tragic time,
unequalled by any other in Scottish history.

Iain Campbell

The Scots are steadfast - not their clime.

Thomas Crawford

For so long as one hundred men remain alive,
we shall never under any conditions submit to the
domination of the English. It is not for glory or riches
or honours that we fight, but only for liberty, which
no good man will consent to lose but with his life.


We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilisation.


Never give your reasons, for your judgement
will probably be right, but your reasons
almost certainly will be wrong.

Lord Mansfield

The best-laid schemes of mice and men often go astray.

He's the slave of all slaves who serve's none but himself.

The willing horse is always worked to death.

They that love must speak least.

They're not all saints that get the name of it.

Empty barrels make the most noise.

A wild goose never laid tame eggs.

Those that board with cats may count on scratches.

He that talks to himself speaks to a fool.

Better be a coward than a corpse.

Calling names brakes no bones.

Though the cow may die, the grass will still grow.

Give a beggar a bed and he'll pay you with a louse.

There's always life in a living man.

He goes long barefoot that waits for dead men's shoes.

There's aye sorrow at somebody's door.

The tree doesn't always fall at the first stroke.

The worst may be handled when it is known.

He never lies but when the holly is green.

The worth of a thing is best known by the want of it.

He that counts all costs will never put plough in the earth.

If the Lord slight the lady so will the kitchen boys.

Liars should have good memories.

Fancy was a bonnie dog but fortune took the tail from it.

They're always good that's lives far away.

He that's born to be hanged will never be drowned.

Fair exchange is no robbery.

Where the craw flies her tail follows.

He that has a big nose thinks everyone speaks of it.

You cannot gather berries off a just any bush.

A bad wound may heal but a bad name will kill.

One good turn deserves another.

Wide ears and short tongues are best.

Better a good name than a fine face.

A friend to all is a friend to none.

Biting and scratching is Scots folk's wooing.

Fair words won't make the pot boil.

Anger is more hurtful than the wrong that caused it.

If you spend a year with a cripple
you'll limp at the end of it.

It is said that all Scots have a sense of humor
- because it is a free gift !

He was a bold man who first ate a Haggis.

Never argue - simply keep repeating your assertion.

Love of our neighbor is the only
door out of the dungeon of self.

Friends are lost by calling too often,
and calling too seldom.

Better keep the devil out, than have to put him out.

A fool may ask more than any wise man can ever answer.

Scottish by birth, British by law,
a Highlander by the grace of God.

After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.

A bald head is soon shaved
( An easy task is soon completed.)

A penniless man walks fast through the market.

I fear I have nothing original in me.
Excepting original sin.

Whisky may not cure the common cold ……
but it fails more agreeably than most other things.

Say but little and say it well.

Like the wind seeking the harbor !

All dogs go down on the strange dog.

He who is wettest let him go to the well.

Little by little, as the cat eats the fish.

Like bailing the sea with a creel.

The worst cow in the fold, lows the loudest.

What cannot be helped must be put up with.

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