Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Burns Night

This year I'm celebrating Jeff's birthday by dragging him to a Burns Night - our first ever. Burns Night being a festival in honor of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. There are not many writers so fabulous that people are still partying 214 years after their death.

He ranges from maudlin:

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure!
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!

To political:

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hodden grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

To pornographic:
Then gie the lass a fairin, lad,
O gie the lass her fairin,
An she’ll gie you a hairy thing,
An o it be na sparin;
But cowp her ower amang the creels,
An bar the door wi baith your heels,
The mair she bangs the less she squeels,
An hey for houghmagandie.

To tipsy:
O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink!
Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,
In glorious faem,
Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink,
To sing thy name!

Okay, so 18th-century Scots is pretty incomprehensible to English speakers at times. But that just makes it better. I urge you to sample the joys of Burns.
Death And Dying Words Of Poor Mailie, The Author's Only Pet Yowe.
Apology For Declining An Invitation To Dine.
To A Louse, On Seeing One On A Lady's Bonnet, At Church
Address To The Toothache
To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough

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