Thursday, January 24, 2008

Return again, fair Lesley, Return to Caledonie!

As a punishment at school I was once ordered by my English teacher, Mr Broadfoot, to learn a Burns poem of my choice by heart. Being a bit of a smarty pants, I learned this one:
O saw ye bonnie Lesley,
As she gaed o'er the border?
She's gane like Alexander,
To spread her conquests farther.

To see her is to love her,
And love but her for ever;
For Nature made her what she is,
And never made anither!

Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,
Thy subjects, we before thee;
Thou art divine, fair Lesley,
The hearts o' men adore thee.

The deil he could na scaith thee,
Or aught that wad belang thee;
He'd look into thy bonnie face,
And say - "I canna wrang thee!"

The powers aboon will tent thee,
Misfortune sha'na steer thee;
Thou'rt like themsel sae lovely,
That ill they'll ne'er let near thee.

Return again, fair Lesley,
Return to Caledonie!
That we may brag we hae a lass
There's nane again sae bonnie.

I can still recite it, and indeed I frequently do — at the drop of a hat even. Just ask me.

However, the Burns poem that has been most on my mind recently is the one about the crowlin ferlie. I think of that ugly, creepin, blastit wonner every time I have to massage more of that infernal lotion into E's head .

Happy Burns Night.

3 comments:

meredic said...

Whats all this about? As every good celt knows today is Dwynwens day....even if they arent sure how to spell it.

deborah said...

and no knowing how it is pronounced either!

Just to help those who have no idea who Dwyn was this is what Harry Mount wrote in yesterday's Telegraph :

Tonight might be Burns Night, but today is St Dwyn's Day - the Welsh Valentine's Day.

In around ad 500, Dwyn fell badly for a local Anglesey boy. She prayed that all lovers should either succeed in their affair or be utterly cured of their love sickness. She went for the cure and became a nun, then a saint.

Even if saying, "Be my Dwyn", doesn't sound very romantic, I'd much rather celebrate St Dwyn's Day than Valentine's. The horror of Valentine's Day is the sudden universal pressure to be in love and happy, and to find a restaurant reservation. It's easy to get a table for two on St Dwyn's Night - Scottish restaurants apart.

Lesley said...

Meredic & Deborah: Had never heard of St Dwyn, how .... quaint.

This is quite good Offical online Gateway to Scotland: Burns Interactive