Poem for the Day

Posted: 25 January 2013

Today's poem Burns wrote for Jean Armour, his "wee girl in the west". It contains statements of joy and wonder amid all the complications of affection. A magnificent love song and one I always delight in singing.

Of a' the airts the wind can blaw, I dearly love the west,
For there the bonnie lassie lives, the lassie I love best.
There wild woods grow, and rivers row, wi' monie a hill between,
Day and night my fancy's flight is ever wi' my Jean.

I see her in the dewy flowers sae lovely, fresh and fair.
I hear her in ilka bird wi' music charms the air.
There's not a bonny flower that springs by fountain, shaw, or green,
There's not a bonny bird that sings, but minds me o' my Jean.

Blaw, blaw ye wastlin' winds blaw saft amang the leafy trees.
Wi' gentle gale frae hill and vale bring hame the laden bees.
And bring the lassie back tae me that's aye sae neat and clean
One smile frae her would banish care, sae lovely is my Jean.

What sighs and vows amang the knowes have passed between us twa.
How fain to meet, how wae to part the day she gaed awa.
The powers abune can only ken to whom this heart is seen,
Nane can be sae dear tae me as my sweet lovely Jean.

Of A’ The Airts The Wind Can Blaw
Robert Burns

Poem for the Day

Posted: 24 January 2013

When he was 15, Robert Burns, in his own words, 'first committed the sin of rhyme'. The poem he wrote, 'Handsome Nell', though a nice enough poem, was fairly simple and juvenile. Less than a year later, however, he produced a piece of work, written with a maturity far beyond his years. If ever there was a poem which was an indication of what was to come, it has to be this one.

Now westlin winds and slaughtering guns
Bring Autumn's pleasant weather;
The moorcock springs on whirring wings
Amang the blooming heather:
Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain,
Delights the weary farmer;
And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night,
To muse upon my charmer.

The partridge loves the fruitful fells,
The plover loves the mountains;
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells,
The soaring hern the fountains:
Thro' lofty groves the cushat roves,
The path of man to shun it;
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush,
The spreading thorn the linnet.

Thus every kind their pleasure find,
The savage and the tender;
Some social join, and leagues combine,
Some solitary wander:
Avaunt, away! the cruel sway,
Tyrannic man's dominion;
The sportsman's joy, the murdering cry,
The fluttering, gory pinion!

But, Peggy dear, the eve'ning's clear,
Thick flies the skimming swallow,
The sky is blue, the fields in view,
All fading-green and yellow:
Come let us stray our gladsome way,
And view the charms of Nature;
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn,
And every happy creature.

We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk,
Till the silent moon shine clearly;
I'll grasp thy waist, and, fondly pressed,
Swear how I love thee dearly:
Not vernal showers to budding flowers,
Not Autumn to the farmer,
So dear can be as thou to me,
My fair, my lovely charmer!

Westlin Winds (Song Composed in August)
Robert Burns

Poem for the Day

Posted: 23 January 2013

One of the finest poems written by Burns, containing some of the most famous and memorable lines ever written by a poet, yet, to this day not fully understood by most people. All readers of Burns know of the "Wee sleekit cow'rin tim'rous beastie" but not many understand the sadness and despair contained within the lines of this poem. This final verse especially reveals the absolute despondency that Burns was feeling at this stage in his life. It is, without question, a masterpiece.

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth born companion
An' fellow mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't.

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou are blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

To a Mouse
Robert Burns



Poem of the Day

Posted: 22 January 2013

One of the best known of all Burns' songs. He took an old, bawdy ballad and from it created a beautiful song about growing old together.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonnie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day, John,
We've had wi ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
And hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, My Jo
Robert Burns


Poem for the Day

Posted: 21 January 2013

This has to be one of Burns' most beautiful poems. The final verse, said Walter Scott, 'contains the essence of a thousand love tales'. The photo is an image of the orignal manuscript.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel and then for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee;
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy,
Nothing could resist my Nancy:
But to see her was to love her;
Love but her, and love for ever.

Had we never loved sae kindly,
Had we never loved sae blindly,
Never met-or never parted,
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.

Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest!
Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest!
Thine be ilka joy and treasure,
Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure!

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever!
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee;
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.

Ae Fond Kiss
Robert Burns

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