Entertainment Books

Saturday 14 December 2019

Poetry: Words of Burns will warm your heart...

Robbie Burns
Robbie Burns

Ulick O'Connor

I used to get bored when Robbie Burns poems came into the curriculum at school. We had enough languages to learn without trying to master Burns's Lallans, the language he wrote in.

Lallans, if you don't mind, was the Scottish way of pronouncing lowlands dialect which was spoken in the part of Scotland where Robbie Burns came from. Then suddenly, click, I was on wire and once I began to hear his verse properly, a new world opened. If you manage to unbuckle the small repertoire of Gallic, then Burns is your man. After a while you get used to the word "maun" meaning "must" or "gang aft a-gley" meaning "go often astray" and "awa" meaning "away". Then the marvellous lines of poetry will rush about your ears as the piece unfolds.

Tomorrow is St Valentine's Day and Burns's 'My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose' will be sung all over the world, from Belfast to Beijing.

Sing a verse or two for the Ayrshire farmer, the 220th anniversary of whose death is this year.

My love is like a red, red rose

O  my Luve's like a red, red rose

That's newly sprung in June;

  my Luve's like the melodie

That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I:

And I will luve 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:

I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee well, my only Luve

And fare thee well, a while!

And I will come again, my Luve,

Tho' it were ten thousand mile.

Robbie Burns 1759-1796

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