Saturday, January 24, 2009

Burnsed Out

This being the eve of maudlin half cut Robert Burns celebrations I am minded to celebrate the warmth of the man and applaud the common humanity that he celebrated. Having said that, I find it rather difficult to square his cuddly image with the drunken womaniser and Excise Man who briefly considered becoming an overseer on a Jamaican slave estate before deciding to follow his muse.

Oor Rabbie shagged about a bit, and his verbal felicity can still be detected in some of his Ayrshire descendants:

A man's a man for a' that

Is there for honest poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that?
The coward slave, we pass him by -
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that!
Our toils obscure, an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey an' a' that?
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine
A man's a man for a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that,
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie ca'd 'a lord',
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that?
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a cuif for a' that,
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that,
The man o' independent mind,
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that!
But an honest man's aboon his might -
Guid faith, he mauna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities, an' a' that,
The pith o' sense an' pride o' worth
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree an' a' that,
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that,
That man to man the world oe'r
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Robert Burns

Not exactly a Marxist analysis, but definitely pithy. To be honest I think he has more in common with Jerry Lee Lewis than Keats.

Burns would have whupped Keats in a fight, but he wouldn't have stood a chance against 'the Killer'.


Sniffy said...

Great tune.

I like haggis, that's about as close to Robert Burns as I get I'm afraid.

Did he write Incy Wincy Spider? That was him, wasn't it?

garfer said...

Iggy was advertising house insurance on the telly the other day, but as far as I could tell there was no mention of Incy Wincy.

Haggis rocks, if you like lung.

pissoff said...

Haggis scares me - it's one of those mystery meats.

Fuck... my children torture me sometimes.

Now, back to Burns. Who?

garfer said...

He turned up in BC in 1837.

You're probably related to him also, apart from your oddly shape toe.

Jimmy Bastard said...

Alan Hansen, or Captain Plastic as he is more widely known to everyone outside of Liverpool. I remember him as that wee laddie from Clackmannanshire, who kicked a ball around for Partick Thistle in the 70's.

These days he is better known for his dribbling skills with a Morrisons trolley full of swally.

MJ said...

Haggis is no match for poutine.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Great poem - sounds just like Rabbie Burns!

Is this your cover version Garfer?

KAZ said...

D'ye think that hairstyle will ever come back the noo?

Madame DeFarge said...

I find it vaguely depressing that all of my English colleagues expected me to be hooting round like a demented Fran and Anna tribute act over the weekend and eating haggis and declaiming a few poyums by the man himself. I am imprisoned by cultural stereotypes.