My letter about Scotland's need for a national anthem of quality has elicited a fair response (Letters, December 14, 17, 18 & January 1).
To my mind, such an anthem should only qualify by the inclusion of certain requisites. The dictionary interprets a national anthem as being "a solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity". I would omit the word "solemn" and substitute "rousing" or "stirring".
Essential attributes to its creation would be:
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l Duration. Two verses of lyrics should be the maximum, for impact and practical purposes. A long, meandering and hard-to-remember discourse should be avoided.
l Subject matter. This should enable assembled voices to take genuine pride in imparting the relevant message of their anthem.
l Music. It should be within the range of an average singing voice. Most importantly, it should convey a grandeur of concept and undoubtedly be able to rouse and stir.
The words of The Scottish Saltire could perhaps encapsulate the verbal form I would like a Scottish national anthem to take:
Aloft behold that flag of old, a cross of white on blue,
The Scottish Saltire long has flown where hearts beat strong and true.
And breathe there not a fervent Scot, if deemed as worth the name,
Who'd wait o'erlong, in word and song, its glory to proclaim:
"Scotland, Scotland, evermore, my heart is pledged to thee.
This wondrous land, so wild and grand, our fathers held for me.
Till joy and strife forsake this life, aye blest am I to see
Our nation's honour thus enshrined, beloved well it be,
The Scottish Saltire fly on high, majestic, proud and free.
Scotland, Scotland, evermore, my heart is pledged to thee!"
The Lodge, Burnton, Kippen.