Are you wondering why Doric is called Doric? In Ancient Greece, Athens was the centre of culture, while the Dorians were considered rough, less-refined, and they spoke in a different way. As Edinburgh, in the 18th Century, was called “The Athens of the North,” it was perhaps inevitable that the writers of Scots dialects would be called Doric writers. As so often in history, however, the insult was not only swallowed but turned around to be a badge of honour. At one point, many dialects were called Doric and I heard recently that some use the term to describe Border dialects. However, today, especially in the North-East of Scotland, the term describes the local, characteristc form of Lowland Scots.
It was once a language of commerce, history and law but it became relegated by English to the realm of the comic and couthy, where (it must be admitted) it excels. Nevertheless, any language is capable of expressing a range of sentiments, noble as well as base, and the Doric is no exception. Today, there are fine poets writing in the langauge and there is a world-class university department in Aberdeen whose site, the Elphinstone Kist, which you will find online, features a wide range of writings, both comedic and serious. BKG.
Lord, listen weel tae fit I say,
An catch ma murmur’t plea,
Heed my cry’s soun, ma King, my God,
For I’ll entreat wi Ye.
Ilk mornin, Lord, Ye’ll hear ma voice,
Ilk mornin Ye will see
Me layin oot fit’s on ma mind:
I’ll luik up hopefully.
Ye’re nae a god that’s please’t wi ill;
Wi You, nae ill bides lang.
Nae fuils* can stand fast in yer sicht
Ye hate aa that dis wrang.
Ye’ll send ti their destruction them
Fa worship lees indeed:
The LORD detests a sleekit swick
Fa thirsts for ithers’ bleed.
But, in Yer mercies manifauld,
Ti Your hoose I’ll come near:
I’ll bow toward Yer haly place.
In reverential fear.
O lead me strachtly on, O LORD,
In aa Yer richteous grace;
Because o aa ma faes, mak stracht
Yer wey afore ma face.
There’s nae relyin on their mous;
Fell wrang their herts aye sik;
Their throat is jist a gapin grave;
Their faawnin tongues aye swick.
God, hud them guilty! By their ploys,
Their ain schemes, mak them faa!
For aa their evil, cast them oot,
Yon rebels ‘ginst yer Laaw!
But mak rejoice fa trust in You,
Te sing oot loud Yer fame:
Ye kept them safe, sae let them joy
In You, fa luive yer name.
For You, O LORD, will surely bless
The richteous wi a croon,
An wi Yer favour, like a shield,
Ye’ll circle them aroon.
Note: * In Doric, fuils (fools) is pronounced feels. As in guid/gweed, Doric looks at the ui and selects the latter to emphasise, so fuil becomes feel, and is often spelt so. This sound variation is largely consisent in pure Doric (although it has been influenced by English in the town), hence English oo, Scots ui and Doric ee (sound) can be represented in phonetic spelling: fool, fuil, feel; blood, bluid bleed; boots, buits, beets etc. I will add a later post, or posts, with some of the language-background to Doric in history, in due course. BKG
© 2017, 2019 Bruce Gardner
LORD, dinna, in yer reid-faced wrath,
Rebuke me richteouslie;
Nor ding me doon wi reid-het rage,
As punishment on me.
Be merciful ti me, O LORD,
I lie here, feelin ill!
Let licht on me yer healin, LORD!
Ma benes are shakkin still!
Likewise, ma saul is frichtit sair!
Foo lang, Lord, will iss* be?
Come back! Deliver me, O LORD!
Yer Mercy set me free!
Because, in Daith, there’s nene ava
Fa’ll mind on Ye, or raise
Their haly hands in Hades’ pit!
Fa there can gie Ye praise?
I’m wappit wi ma groans; aa nicht,
I mak ma bed aa weet.
Ma settle sweems wi weeman’s tears:
I melt it fan I greet.
Ma well o tears is rinnin dry,
Ma een are blear’t wi grief;
I’m lookin like I’m getting aul!
Ma faes gie nae relief.
Depairt fae me, aa ye that serve
Fause idols an nae mair,
Because the Lord has heard the soond
Fan I wis greetin sair.
The LORD has heard ma crie fur grace!
The LORD will heed ma prayer!
Let aa ma faes be hummle’t seen,
Turn’t back, shame’t, vexit sair!
© 2017, 2019 Bruce Gardner
Note: While I’ve chosen to change from representing the characteristically-abbreviated forms of Doric pronunciation to writing words like the and them in full, I am grateful to Gordon Hay for this inspired way to represent this as iss, a typical Doric pronunciation.
Mr. Hay rendered the entire New Testament into Doric, an impressive achievement, and I understand that he has started on the mammoth work of the Old Testament too. BKG.
(A Rant o David that he sang aboot e words o Cush, e Benjamite.)
O LORD my God, I’ll flee ti You,
The Refuge that stands fast.
Save me fae faes that’s huntin me;
O, hud me close at last.
Lest, like a lion, ene micht rip
An teir, ti bits, ma life,
File nae man’s ‘ere ti gie me aid,
Ti pluck me oot o strife.
O LORD, ma God, if it be sae
That I’ve commitit iss,
That, in iss pair o hands o mine,
Iniquitie there is;
If I’ve dean ill ti ony man
That wis at peace wi me –
(Ev’n enemies that hed nae cause,
In mercie I set free!) –
Then let e enemy ride doon
An tak ma soul, an thrust
Ma life low doon upon the land,
Ma honour in the dust. Selah.
Rise in Yer wrath, LORD! Raise Yersel!
Ma faes rage furiouslie!
The Judgment Ye’ve commandit syne,
Noo wakken up fer me!
Sae will the Assembly o Yer fowk
Staund roon afore Yer face;
An, therefore, for their sakes, return
An tak the highest place!
The LORD will wisely rule e fowk!
LORD, let ma judgment be,
Efter ma richeousness an ma
Integritie, in me!
O let the wicked fowk’s fell thochts
Be brocht unti their eynds,
But let just fowk be stablish’t richt:
God judges herts an minds.
Ma shield comes fae the God ‘at saves
Fa’s hert is upricht still.
God is a richteous judge – ilk day,
The God fa’s wroth wi ill.
Sae, gin ene chuse nae ti repent,
Syne, God His sword will whet;
His bow hes been aaready strung,
He hes it firmly set.
For He keeps aye weel close te hand
The wapin that brings daith:
Aginst his het pursuers bide
His spears an arraws baith.
Behauld, ene like a birthin quine
Will thrash wi vanitie,
Fitivver miserie’s conceived,
He’ll faither furth a lee.
He’s dug a hole wi muckle care,
An bored it deep an slee;
But he’s faa’n in the trap he planned
Ti catch anither wi!
On his ain heid his mischief will
Return, as ti its hame;
His coorse misdeeds, on his ain croon,
Will come doon, jist the same.
I will gie thanks unti the LORD,
Accordin ti His richt,
An I’ll sing psalms unti His name:
The LORD o Highest Hicht!
2017, 2019 Bruce Gardner
O LORD, oor Lord, foo glorious
Yer Name’s in aa the Land,
Fa set yer majesty abeen
The Hivvens, there ti stand.
Fae mous o bairns an sucklin babes
Ye laid a strang-like foond,
Ti front Yer en’mies, end the fae
An shut th’ avenger doon!
Fan I look up inti Yer Hivvens,
The works Yer fing’ers made,
The Meen, an aa the starry hosts
That Ye’ve sae fimly laid,
Fit’s ony chiel o Man that Ye
Wad set Yer mind on him,
An fa Jock Tamson’s bairn that Ye
Watch ow’r wi discipline?
Ye made him sae that he wad be
A bit below divine;
Wi honour an wi glory, still,
His heid Ye croonit syne.
Ye gave ti him the upper hand
Ow’r works wrocht by Yer ain.
An aa that is Ye pit in’s place,
Alow his ‘feet, ti reign:
Sae aa the sheep and aa the nowt,
Forbye beasts o the field,
Birds fleein in the sky abeen,
Fish o the sea, aa yield.
An likewise aa that mak their wey
Throw paths ow’r ocean sand.
O LORD, oor Lord, foo glorious
Yer Name’s in aa the Land!
2017, 2019 Bruce Gardner.