iOS Users: Please click here for the latest information: (updated 5.10.2016)
Say It Right Series

My Heart's in The Highlands

Posted by lotsofwordsandnospaces June 2, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: Robert Burns, poem, patriotism

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.



Comments (4) RSS

loading... Updating ...

To comment, please login.

Not sure if your comment is appropriate? Check our Commenting Policy first.

New lesson idea? Please contact us.