Encomium: Praise for Scotland

“Scotland, O Scotland, I mourn the loss of thee, for never shall I see, thy sweet serenity. I miss thee dearly, O bonnie glens of the thistle, that is color of spirit shall be mends. Scotland, O Scotland, the home of the brave, they stood against him unto their grave. Thy land so pretty, and people so gritty. You shall never be forgotten and I shall never be broken, thanks to ye, O Bonnie Scotland, my heart shall never be dampened. Through my blood and through my hand, I find confidence to write for thee. For my love and for my soul, my pages shall reflect thy beauty, inside and out. Scotland, O Scotland, the blood of thee shall flow through my thoughts like a river through thy highlands. My words will praise thee, my thoughts will describe thee, though never can one fully understand, my love and devotion for thee.”

Thousands of years and events have shaped the magnificent country known today as Scotland. The gorgeous country was granted an abundance of natural beauty; the highlands, the glens and the lochs are but a few. The beauty also comes within its people and history.

Scotland’s birth is complicated yet fascinating. Various Scottish clans, who had different languages and cultures, came together to form stronger clans in order to defend against foreign invasion. On this notion, the people of Scotland were bound and will always be bound against enemies. Many people have lived in Scotland and many people have tried to conquer Scotland. Scotland, as it came to be known in the early Middle Ages, remained an independent country until its political union with England in 1707 to form the United Kingdom. The country has bled like any other, especially to fight oppression of outsiders like the English. This is just one reason why I am so proud to be Scottish: the birth and upbringing of the country were so influential to its people and to its identity.

The extraordinary country has been known for its extraordinary people. The heart of the country is the people, and the blood that drives the people is the land and history. Famous historical figures and national heroes include William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Rob Roy, all who fought for Scotland’s freedom and identity. These figures made others, including myself, proud to be Scottish. There are countless intellectual innovators that I am honored to call fellow Scotsmen: Adam Smith (the “Father of Economics”), Robert Burns (a poetic genius), Sir Walter Scott (a novelist and poet) and James Watt (inventor of the steam engine). All of these men have been patriotic to Scotland and held their homeland in the highest recognition throughout their careers and writing.

No other country has such a long history, infused with extraordinary people in an extraordinary country. It was indeed a country of many firsts: Scottish people and Scottish law heavily influenced future countries such as America and Canada. It is clear that Scottish innovation and Scottish minds have contributed to much of the industrial revolution and enlightened thinking; no country in Europe at those times compared to Scotland. Voltaire, a famous French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, once stated: “We all look to Scotland for all our ideas on civilization.”

War has also been a defining section in Scottish history. Centuries of fighting between clans gave birth to the independent nation of Scotland; centuries of fighting also sustained Scotland as an independent nation. The Gaelic clans of Scotland were the only people that the Roman Empire could not take over. The tyrannical rule of England was cut down by the ferocity and determination of the Scottish army led by William Wallace. Scotland is still known today as a country with tough people who contain a great capability to fight.

The St. Andrews flag hanging high in my room and my heart helps me to relax and to write from within; it is the flag that has driven so many people to greatness. In the background I can hear bagpipes and folk songs that ease me into my writing, songs that exemplify the Scottish identity that I so dearly love. So, whenever I write, I write with pride for being Scottish; my rhetoric identity is fused with my pride in belonging to the Scottish nation and its history. I am honored to be Scottish and, like those before me, I wish to innovate and create rhetoric that Scotland would be proud of.

Euan Findlater is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in strategic communications and history. Euan’s poem was featured in the 2014-’15 print edition of Souvenirs.