My Heart's in The Highlands

June 02, 2009, 09:15 AM posted in General Discussion

I am from Scotland, and I might not be the most patriotic person on earth, but I am always proud of the great contributions Scottish people have made.

Robert Burns is a national treasure, and we celebrate Burns Night here around the time of the Chinese New year. I tend to average the two dates, and meet friends for "Chinese Burns Night".

There are a couple of Burns songs and poems that have entered the Chinese psyche, but one less commonly noticed one is "My Heart's in the Highladnds".

Here is a quote from The Scotsman newspaper:

This official seal of approval came after a Chinese translation of 'My Heart's in the Highlands' had become a popular resistance anthem during the Japanese occupation. The affinity between Burns's lyrics and traditional Chinese poetry was such that Robert Crawford records the artist Chiang Yee suggesting that Burns was "brought back as a baby from China by some missionary named Burns". 

Here is an english translation from


My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,

My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer -

A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe;

My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North

The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth; 

Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, 

The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.


Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snow; 

Farewell to the straths and green valleys below; 

Farewell to the forrests and wild-hanging woods; 

Farwell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.


My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, 

My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer 

Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe; 

My heart's in the Highlands, whereever I go.



And here is a Chinese version I have found - it may not be the definitive version - let me know if there is a better one!



















I would certainly not claim it is the most subtle and thought provoking poem. But it certainly is patriotic... no matter where you are from. Which is something I suppose I can muse on.



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June 02, 2009, 09:17 AM

I might go back and do a literal translation, but I am on someone elses time here. Let me know what your thougths are, and what you think of the group!





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June 02, 2009, 09:25 AM

Hi lotsofwordsandnospaces,

I'm touched that you started a group like this. The soul of poetry lives on!

I haven't read a lot of Burns, but I love his "To a Mouse."

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Living in the present. This school of thought runs deep in China.


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June 02, 2009, 09:31 AM

Hi, lotsofwordsandnospaces, I'm a big fan of Robert Burns. I love the poem, O, my luve's like a red,red rose, and here share with you!

      O my Luve's like a red, red rose,

That's newly sprung in June:
O my Luve's like the melodie,
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho' 'twere ten thousand mile!

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June 02, 2009, 09:55 AM

Ha! What a captive audience. I wasn't intending to push the Scottish topic, but maybe in a while I will introduce you to some choice excepts from not only Scotland, but one of the worst poets in the English language: The ever enjoyable William McGonagall

As a preview, please have a read about his rendition of Macbeth!