Monday, 25 January 2016

Robert Burns (1759-1796) - pioneer of the Romantic movement and Scotland's national poet

PG 1063Burns Naysmithcrop
Alexander Nasmyth
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Today marks the 257th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, also regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement and inspiration to so many, right down to the present day. Burns wrote in both the English and Scots languages.

The occasion of Burn's birthday is traditionally marked, in Scotland and other places, with a Burns Supper, first held in 1801, on the fifth anniversary of his death. Burns Suppers, we are told, may be formal or informal but typically include feasts consisting of haggis, Scotch whisky and recitations of Burns' poetry, usually commencing with his Address to a Haggis.

According to just one of the many websites dedicated to the life, work and memory of Robert Burns, "The haggis is generally carried in on a silver salver at the start of the proceedings. As it is brought to the table a piper plays a suitable, rousing accompaniment. One of the invited artistes then recites the poem before the theatrical cutting of the haggis with the ceremonial knife." - from Alexandria Burns Club (founded 1884)
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye worthy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
Fair and full is your honest, jolly face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Stomach, tripe, or intestines:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

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