Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Robbie Burns Day

I spent the past weekend in Guelph, Ontario--a university town near my old stomping grounds in southern Ontario. It'd been years since I'd been there, and in coming back I was struck by what I'd never noticed before (the blindness of familiarity): the city is a veritable paean to Edinburgh and all things Scottish--street names, building names, architectural echoes, all pointed back to Scotland. This found me awash in memories of Embro, the village of my youth (so named as a garbled abbreviation of Edin-borough) with its Highland Games (every July 1), Knox Presbyterian Church, the Highland Restaurant, and a phonebook awash in Murrays, MacDonalds, MacKays, Mathesons, Bruces, and Burns'.

This put me in the mood to remember Robbie Burns Day (and to wistfully remember one of our most delightful evenings in England when we celebrated "Rabbie Burns Supper" with Maggie, Gordon and their friends in Yorkshire). So, in honor of the Bard and my fightin' Scots heritage:

There'll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame

By Robert Burns

By yon Castle wa', at the close of the day,
I heard a man sing, tho' his head it was grey:
And as he was singing, the tears doon came,--
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.

The Church is in ruins, the State is in jars,
Delusions, oppressions, and murderous wars,
We dare na weel say't, but we ken wha's to blame,--
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.

My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword,
But now I greet round their green beds in the yerd;
It brak the sweet heart o' my faithful and dame,--
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.

Now life is a burden that bows me down,
Sin' I tint my bairns, and he tint his crown;
But till my last moments my words are the same,--
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.

[And if you have opportunity today, find a few moments to listen to Nickel Creek's charmed rendition of "Sweet Afton."]