Words: , 1861.

Music: , 1864; har­mo­nized by .

Many years ago John Mac­duff and his young bride left Scot­land on a sail­ing ves­sel for Amer­i­ca, there to seek their for­tune. Af­ter tar­ry­ing a few weeks in New York they went on West, where they were suc­cess­ful in ac­cum­u­lat­ing a good com­pe­tence. By and by the wife’s health be­gan to fail. The anx­ious hus­band said that he feared she was home­sick.

“John,” she replied, “I am wear­y­ing for my ain count­rie; will you not take me to the sea, that I may see the ships sail­ing to the home­land once more?”

Her hus­band’s heart was moved with com­pass­ion. In a few weeks he sold their West­ern home and took his wife East to a plea­sant lit­tle cot­tage by the sea, whose fur­ther shore broke on the rocks that line the coast of Scot­land. She would oft­en sit and gaze wist­ful­ly at the ships sail­ing from the bay, one af­ter ano­ther dis­ap­pear­ing be­low the ho­riz­on on their way to her ain count­rie. Al­though she ut­tered no com­plaint, it was ev­i­dent that she was slow­ly pin­ing away. John was afraid that she would die in a for­eign land; and as an ef­fort to save her he sold his New Eng­land home, and took her back across the ocean. She was speed­i­ly re­cov­ered by the keen mount­ain air, the sight of pur­ple hea­ther, nod­ding blue­bells, and hedge­rows white with frag­rant haw­thorn blos­soms in bon­nie Scot­land, her own dear na­tive land. To her it was home. And there is no sweet­er word in any lang­uage than home!

At an ear­ly age [Mary Dem­a­rest] lost her mo­ther and was left in charge of a Scot­tish nurse, from whom she learned some­thing of the Scot­tish di­a­lect. And her grand­fa­ther, a na­tive of Scot­land, had oft­en sung lit­tle Ma­ry to sleep with Scot­tish lull­a­bies…At the age of 23, Mary Lee wrote this im­mor­tal po­em, af­ter hear­ing the sto­ry of John Mac­duff and his wife, and pub­lished it first in “The New York Ob­serv­er.”

I am far frae my hame, an’ I’m weary aftenwhiles,
For the langed for hame bringin’, an’ my Father’s welcome smiles;
An’ I’ll ne’er be fu’ content, until mine een do see
The gowden gates o’ Heav’n an’ my ain countrie.


The earth is fleck’d wi’ flowers, mony tinted, fresh an’ gay
The birdies warble blithely, for my Faither made them sae:
But these sights an’ these soun’s will as naething be to me,
When I hear the angels singin’ in my ain countrie.

I’ve His gude word o’ promise that some gladsome day, the King
To His ain royal palace his banished hame will bring;
Wi’een an’ wi’ hert rinnin’ owre, we shall see
The King in His beauty, in oor ain countrie.


Sae little noo I ken, o’ yon blessèd, bonnie place
I only ken it’s Hame, whaur we shall see His face,
It wad surely be eneuch for ever mair to be
In the glory o’ His presence, in oor ain countrie.


He is faithfu’ that hath promised, an He’ll surely come again,
He’ll keep His tryst wi’ me, at what oor I dinnna ken;
But He bids me still to wait, an’ ready aye to be,
To gang at ony moment to my ain countrie.