the scottish bard

Back tae the man himsel, I sometimes use the Scots tongue when posting here and on my Facebook page, now and then one of my extended family in Somerset jokingly question what I have posted. Well in 1791 Burns penned a response to a recent review, that criticised a supposed abundance of “obscure language” and “imperfect grammar” in Burns’s poetry, it’s a perfect retort and quite a put down I think you will agree. Nowadays we just call the wankers Grammar Nazis or the like!! 

Ellisland, 1791.

Dear Sir:

Thou eunuch of language; thou Englishman, who never was south the Tweed; thou servile echo of fashionable barbarisms; thou quack, vending the nostrums of empirical elocution; thou marriage-maker between vowels and consonants, on the Gretna-green of caprice; thou cobler, botching the flimsy socks of bombast oratory; thou blacksmith, hammering the rivets of absurdity; thou butcher, embruing thy hands in the bowels of orthography; thou arch-heretic in pronunciation; thou pitch-pipe of affected emphasis; thou carpenter, mortising the awkward joints of jarring sentences; thou squeaking dissonance of cadence; thou pimp of gender; thou Lyon Herald to silly etymology; thou antipode of grammar; thou executioner of construction; thou brood of the speech-distracting builders of the Tower of Babel; thou lingual confusion worse confounded; thou scape-gallows from the land of syntax; thou scavenger of mood and tense; thou murderous accoucheur of infant learning; thou ignis fatuus, misleading the steps of benighted ignorance; thou pickle-herring in the puppet-show of nonsense; thou faithful recorder of barbarous idiom; thou persecutor of syllabication; thou baleful meteor, foretelling and facilitating the rapid approach of Nox and Erebus.

R.B.

Jiayang Fan reviews Sweet Afton:

As the Scottish bard Robert Burns must have known well (“My muse! Guid auld Scotch drink! . . . Inspire me, till I lisp an wink”), few things are more intoxicating than the pairing of poetry and a good pint. To name a pub after a two-hundred-year-old pastoral ode to serenity, then, seems like a natural move—especially if that pub, housed in a former smoke shop and owned by three Irishmen (proprietors of the Wren and the Penrose), unabashedly exalts in the riparian.

Illustration by Andrea Kalfas

As it is The Birthday of our treasured Poet Rabbie Burns I searched and searched for a decent first for today, not just for the picture , but I also wanted a decent wee story. This is a view over Ayrshire as seen from high over Burns Country near Mossgiel farm where, Rabbie was partner in the fam with his brother Gilbert from 1784 to 1788, he wrote some of his most famous poems and songs here , including ‘Holy Willie’s Prayer’, 'The Jolly Beggars’ and 'To A Mouse’, it was nearby that he first met wis wife and mother of 11 of his children, one of the Mauchline Belles, Jean Armour. I f you remember I posted about Robert’s dog Luath yesterday, well one of the stories about how they met was that at a dance  during Race Week, April 1784, where he was something of a wall-flower, his collie dog, Luath arrived. As he sent the dog home he was heard to remark that he wished he could find a lass who would love him as faithfully as his dog did. Crossing the village green a few days later, he was asked by a shapely brunette (Jean)if he had found his lass yet.

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The Burns Shelter

This is one of my favourite “buildings” in East Lothian. Built in 1959 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Rabbie Burns’ birth,  Burns is said to have taken refuge in a shelter in Prestonpans during an illness. The Mural was painted by local artist Kate Hunter and added in 2005, Scots historians may recognise one or two faces in the mural as she chose to incorporate men who influenced Burns to the mural amongst the scenes from Tam O'Shanter.