Thursday, 27 January 2011

Rabbie Burns

I went to a Burns Supper tonight that was organised by the P7's at my school. I absolutely love Rabbie Burns and always thoroughly enjoy a burns supper. My favourite poem is Tam O'Shanter. The poem is really, really long but it is always recited at a burns supper. It's about a man who stayed too long in the pub and saw something disturbing on his way home. Here is an extract:

Warlocks and witches in a dance:
Nae cotillon, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. -
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shaw'd the Dead in their last dresses;
And (by some devilish cantraip sleight)
Each in its cauld hand held a light.
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer's banes, in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gabudid gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted:
Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted;
A garter which a babe had strangled:
A knife, a father's throat had mangled.
Whom his ain son of life bereft,
The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi' mair of horrible and awfu',
Which even to name wad be unlawfu'.
Three lawyers tongues, turned inside oot,
Wi' lies, seamed like a beggars clout,
Three priests hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay stinkin, vile in every neuk.

I just love the way he mixes both languages, the English eloquence and the Scots descriptive expressions. I have a great love of all things Scottish and I believe that our language should be celebrated and sustained. I remember being told off at school for speaking in our local dialect. I couldn't understand why yes couldn't be 'aye' at school. I love that fact that in our school we celebrate our language both slang and Scots and that our children are brought up to be proud of their heritage.


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