Saturday, January 25, 2003


Every year -- year after year -- millions of people around the world gather together to celebrate with great ceremony and merriment the birthday of a poet. And there is only one poet so honoured: Robert Burns. For people with a Scottish heritage it is one of the greatest celebrations of the year. And today is the day.

I do sometimes arrange a traditional Burns night on the 25th. -- getting into full Highland dress (kilt etc.), inviting friends over, having the haggis piped in, making the usual speeches (to the haggis, to the lassies etc) and making sure that there are plenty of tatties and neeps to go with the haggis. But not this year. I will however be dining on a Scotch pie, a Forfar bridie, tattie bread and clootie dumpling to finish.

There is however one essential that I never miss: to read, sing or recite some of the great words of the poet himself. So here is the greatest love poem ever written:

A Red, Red Rose

O, my love is like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June,
O, my love is like the melody,
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonny lass,
So deep in love am I,
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi' the sun!
And I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only love,
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!

And here is the greatest love lament ever written:

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon

YE banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,
How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?
How can ye chant, ye little birds,
And I sae weary fu' o' care?

Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird
That wantons through the flowering thorn;
Thou minds me o' departed joys
Departed never to return

Aft hae I roved by bonnie Doon
To see the woodbine twine:
And ilka bird sang o' its Luve,
And fondly sae did I o' mine.

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose,
Full sweet upon its thorny tree;
And my fause Luver staw the rose
But ah! He left the thorn wi' me.

So if you have any Celt at all in you, listen to some of the great Scottish sentimental songs today and open yourself to them. If you shed a quiet tear or two over them, you have a Scottish heart.



Tim Gillin writes:

There is some interesting pro-monarchist stuff floating around the web. This young American liberal is a unusual supporter of British style constitutional monarchy. Amongst other things he is keen to preserve monarchic forms for cultural reasons, he wants to tell his kids about princesses and kings. The Diana craze and Lord of the Rings shows that this is still a powerful impulse. If we feel the need to preserve old buildings and endangered species for the benefit of future generations, what's wrong with wanting to preserve a few living monarchies?

Prof. David Flint also writes of the magic we would lose by removing the monarchy in Australia. As an Australian monarchist I heartily agree.

There is more on the Australian monarchy here



Steven Chapman thinks most political bloggers are conservative because they are old. I think the answer is simpler than that. I think that only conservatives NEED a new outlet for their views. Leftists have their views constantly presented in the mainstream media so feel no need to blog. For more detail of my thoughts on the subject, see my posts of 2nd October and 30th September, 2002 here. Two of the links I mention there are now out of date. One is now here and the other is here



Michael Darby has two more poems by Burns.

The Wicked one has some dreadful puns.

More and more British and European students are coming to Australia for a university education. It's not so long ago that Australians felt that they had to go abroad to finish their education.

Overlawyered wisely refers to his Permalinks as "Durable" links. Even that may be overstating it. See here

P R Seabrook is a self-described bleeding heart liberal (Yes, he does call GWB: "Shrub" -- how clever!) but at least he thinks discrimination against whites is just as bad as discrimination against blacks. Perhaps there's hope for sanity on the Left yet.

Chris Brand reports more on the Finsbury Park Mosque in London and the difficulties of expelling Muslims from Britain.


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