Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday Rabbie Burns!


Robert (Rabbie) Burns, Scottish 18th century poet and lyricist.


Today we celebrate the notorious Robert (Rabbie, as the Scots call him) Burns of Scotland's birthday, otherwise known as Burns Night. Well loved and a lover of all, Rabbie Burns wrote poetry and songs
until the day he died, which was quite young at 37 years old (died July 21, 1796). He started his life (born January 25, 1759) as a farmer's son then became a farmer himself in his early days. He farmed with his brother as he wrote songs and poetry. His admiration in those early poems and songs were mainly for the ladies. Of which, he adored many. Here's one of his love poems:


I Love My Jean
by Robert Burns

I love my Jean
Of a' the airts the wind can blaw,
I dearly like the west,
For there the bony Lassie lives,
The Lassie I lo'e best;
There's wild-woods grow, and rivers row,
And mony a hill between;
But day and night my fancy's flight
Is ever wi' my Jean.

I see her in the dewy flowers, 
I see her sweet and fair;
I hear her in the tunefu' birds, 
I hear her charm the air:
There's not a bony flower, that springs
By fountain, shaw, or green,
There's not a bony bird that sings,
But minds me o' my Jean. 


And here's another. This poem it seems was initially written as a song in 1794 while Robert Burns was at his family's farm in Mossgiel.


O Leave Novels
by Robert Burns

O leave novels, ye Mauchline belles, 
Ye're safer at your spinning wheel; 
Such witching books, are baited hooks
For rakish rooks like Rob Mossgiel.
Your fine Tom Jones And Grandisons
They make your youthful fancies reel
They heat your brains, and fire your veins
And then you're prey for Rob Mossgiel. 

Beware a tongue that's smoothly hung;
A heart that warmly seems to feel;
That feelin heart but acks a part, 
'Tis rakish art in Rob Mossgiel.
The frank address, the soft caress, 
Are worse than poisoned darts of steel, 
The frank address, and politesse, 
Are all finesse in Rob Mossgiel.


Mauchline belles were supposedly a group of women that Robert knew in Mauchline, the town next to his farm at Mossgiel. So we can safely say that the randy Rob Mossgiel in this song/poem is our very own Robert Burns. :0)

One of the women in the Mauchline Belles group was Jean Armour. She had Robert’s baby and eventually married him even though her father forbade it. The reasoning for his refusal could have been that Robert put the cart before the horse, per se, and got her pregnant before taking their wedding vows. However, it is most likely because Robert’s mother's servant gave birth to Robert’s (first) child just before Jean became pregnant.  Wikipedia has a great bit on this:

[Robert Burn's] casual love affairs did not endear him to the elders of the local kirk and created for him a reputation amongst his neighbours for dissoluteness. His first child, Elizabeth Paton Burns (1785–1817), was born to his mother's servant, Elizabeth Paton (1760-circa 1799) while he was embarking on a relationship with Jean Armour, who became pregnant with twins in March 1786 ... Although Armour's father initially forbade it, they were eventually married in 1788.[5]

Here's a fun short video from Scotland.org that covers more ground on Robert's full, albeit short, life.



Happy Burns Night everyone! Don't forget to download your copy of the Scottish romantic adventure, The Legend of Lady MacLaoch from Amazon today. I'll leave you to your celebrations with fine whiskey, cock-a-leekie soup, haggis neeps and tatties finished off with some clootie dumpling with this poem generator from the hosts of Burns Night, Scotland.org. Enjoy!


Click on this link here to go to the Rhyme with Rabbie Burns game!


Sláinte!


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