Soutar Shows

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William Soutar

A K Bell Library,
York Place,
Perth PH2 8EP
t: +44 (0)1738 477062
e:Local Studies

The Soutar House,
27 Wilson Street,
Perth PH2 0EX
t: +44 (0)1738 643687

Sing a Sang o Soutar

This show was organised by the Friends of William Soutar and took place on 11 November 2010 at the Soutar Theatre, A K Bell Library, Perth.

Under the musical direction of Martin Neilson, soloists Marion Neilson, Debra Salem and Craig Dennis entertained the audience with 21 songs set to Soutar poems.

Composers included Lysbeth Melvin, Francis George Scott, James Grant, Isobel Dunlop, Ronald Stevenson, Debra Salem and John Scrimger.

Each poem was introduced and read by one of the Friends before being sung.

martin neilson

Here are some highlights from the show:

play The Buckie Braes featuring soloist Marion Neilson and composer Ronald Stevenson.

play Parable featuring soloist Debra Salem singing her own composition.

play Whan A' The Words Are D�ne featuring soloist Craig Dennis and composer John Scrimger.

The Buckie Braes (1942)

It isna far frae our toun
Be onie gait that gaes;
It isna far frae our toun
To gang to the Buckie Braes;
Whaur the wee linn lowps the craigies
And whaur the cushats croun;
And the happers in the growthy grass
Are diddlin owre their tune;
Wi' a chickie-chick-chickerie,

Monie a bairn frae our toun
In the canty simmer-days;
Monie a bairn frae our toun
Haiks up to the Buckie Braes,
Whaur the birk links in wi' the rodden
And the burnie rinnles doun;
And the happers in the growthy grass
Are diddlin owre their tune;
Wi' a chickie-chick-chickerie,

Parable (1937)

Two neighbours, who were rather dense,
Considered that their mutual fence
Were more symbolic of their peace
(Which they maintained should never cease)
If each about his home and garden
Set up a more substantial warden.
Quickly they cleared away the fence
To build a wall at great expense;
And soon their little plots of ground
Were barricaded all around:
Yet still they added stone to stone,
As if they never would be done,
For when one neighbour seemed to tire
The other shouted: Higher! Higher!

Thus day by day in their unease,
They built the battlements of peace
Whose shadows, like a gathering blot,
Darkened on each neglected plot,
Until the ground, so overcast,
Became a rank and weedy waste.

Now in obsession they uprear;
Jealous and proud, and full of fear:
And, lest they halt for lack of stone,
They pull their dwelling-houses down.
At last, by their insane excess,
Their ramparts guard a wilderness;
And hate, arising out of shame,
Flares up into a wondrous flame:
They curse; they strike; they break the wall
Which buries them beneath its fall.

Whan A� The Words Are D�ne (1942)

Whan a� the words are d�ne;
And a� the sangs are by:
Whan the licht attowre the e�en
Fa�s frae nae antrin sky:

Whan the waukrife bluid is still�d,
And the steerie fit maun stey;
And the world is a sma� field
Ablow the hamely brae:

Then only will be heard,
In the hert that�s by a� thrang,
The word that needs nae word
And the sang that needs nae sang.


be onie gait - by any road;
linn - waterfall;
lowps - leap;
craigies - rocks;
cushats - wood pigeons;
croun - sing;
happers - grasshoppers;
growthy - luxuriant;
diddlin - keeping time;
canty - pleasant;
haiks - hikes;
birk - birch;
rodden - rowan;
burnie - brook;
rinnles � trickles

sing a sang o soutar


attowre � beyond;
antrin - unusual;
waukrife � wakeful;
steerie fit- restless foot;
maun stey � must stay;
ablow � below;
by a� thrang � finished being busy or intimate

Membership of FoWSS is free, and you have the opportunity to organise or participate in projects designed to promote Soutar and his works. In addition, members receive an annual newsletter, notification of all FoWSS events and publications, and are invited to an annual Soutar Tea held at the Soutar House. Please use the Contact page if you would like to find out more about FoWSS.