Robert Burns Night

Burns Night

Before I dash off to dish up the cockaleekie soup, and the haggis ceremony gets underway, neeps and tatties at the ready…Let me share one of those serendipitous moments of delight.

I was strolling through the Memorial Gardens by London’s Victoria Embankment today, en route for a meeting at The Savoy (deliciously restored, more for another post…) and encountered a couple of photographers arranging Scotch, potatoes and tartan around the plinth of a statue. I had not realised before (or noticed!) that there is a very handsome monument to Robert Burns in prime position overlooking the River Thames.

To celebrate Burns night tonight January 25th, here’s the photo I took:

and a close up of the Plinth:

which is not very clear so here are the words which were originally written in a letter to ‘The Noblemen & Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt’:

“The Poetic Genius of my country found me at the plough and threw her inspiring mantle over me. She bade me sing the loves, the joys, the rural scenes and rural pleasures of my native soil, in my native tongue. I tuned my wild, artless notes as she inspired.”

And here’s a poem/song called ‘Westlin’ Winds’….


Now westlin’ winds and slaught’ring guns
Bring autumn’s pleasant weather
The gorcock springs on whirring wings
Amang the blooming heather
Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain
Delights the weary farmer
The moon shines bright, as I rove by night
To muse upon my charmer

The paitrick lo’es the fruitfu’ fells
The plover lo’es the mountains
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells
The soaring hern the fountains
Through lofty groves the cushat roves
The path o’ man to shun it
The hazel bush o’erhangs the thrush
The spreading thorn the linnet

Thus every kind their pleasure find
The savage and the tender
Some social join, and leagues combine
Some solitary wander
Avaunt, away, the cruel sway
Tyrannic man’s dominion!
The sportsman’s joy, the murdering cry
The fluttering gory pinion!

But, Peggy dear, the evening’s clear
Thick flies the skimming swallow
The sky is blue, the fields in view
All fading green and yellow
Come let us stray our gladsome way
And view the joys of nature
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn
And ilka happy creature

We’ll gently walk, and sweetly talk
While the silent moon shines clearly
I’ll clasp thy waist, and, fondly prest
Swear how I love thee dearly
Not vernal show’rs to budding flow’rs
Not autumn to the farmer
So dear can be as thou to me
My fair my lovely charmer.

Robert Burns

If you want to have a Burns Supper and dance a few reels you can find out more here: Burns Night

1 Comment

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