I thought I’d share my own take on ‘The Immortal Memory’ written a few years ago to deliver at a Burns Night celebration.
E’er still the sturdy Ayrshire Bard’s
Rough-hewn poetic glory
Speaks tae us, ‘cross time and since
is wov’n in wisened story:
We ken his swagger had its way,
A gallus rogue and ay sae bold,
Left scores o’lassies aw a-quiver
And hauf the land a cuckold.
But noo, whit like does sich a yin,
serve tae teach yer kinder?
From low-birth to celebrity,
Yet dee-d wi’ ought but soot an’ cinders.
Nither spitefu’ nor resentfu’
whilst toiling under Native skies,
His eloquence and erudition
Maun gang poetry his humble prize
But th’ hungry sowl outgrew his hame,
And sought riches in the Indies.
Tho’ nonsich boat whisked him awa’:
’twas to Embra, no th’ col’nies.
A witty tongue, a rogueish een,
A living, breathing Ossian.
Sae named by poo’dered lords an’ critics:
nae bad fur jist a ploo-man.
He’d had a slug of high-life,
On Embra’s summ’ry mount
bit bid their leave when noses turn’t
‘an off tae taxes count
This northern-most Romantic –
was any taxman so humane? –
Took exile in the Excise
Where his coonsel wis his ain.
A moment hence he dee’d fae blight,
A hard life mark’d ‘im yet.
But sadly short of two-score years,
this legend dee’d in debt
In his craw-ing for the rustic-man,
thur’s nane sae blessed with Poesie.
And firther for the working-man
who else could coort blithe Liberty?
A poet wi’ a worker’s hauns.
Tho’ twa’ hunner year ago,
We’ll laud this noble Scotsman
and gie the Deil a show.
And so a toast, proposed in kind
wi’ glasses charged an’ merry:
To Robert Burns, the nation’s Bard,
and his Immortal Mem’ry