Great Scot! The Bob Marley of his time…Posted: January 25, 2013
Robert Burns is believed to be the inspiration for many famous figures and celebrities throughout history. Abraham Lincoln had a lifelong admiration for the poet’s work, and some claim the poems helped him to win the American civil war and abolish slavery. Bob Dylan also claims Rabbie’s song “A Red, Red Rose” was his greatest source of creative inspiration. Michael Jackson was a huge fan of Robert Burns, and recorded an album with concert promoter David Gest setting the Bard’s poems to music.
A Burns supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns, author of many Scots poems. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday, 25 January, sometimes also known as Robert Burns Day (or Robbie Burns Day) or Burns Night, although they may in principle be held at any time of the year.
Burns suppers may be formal or informal. Both typically include haggis (a traditional Scottish dish celebrated by Burns in “Address to a Haggis”), Scotch whisky, and the recitation of Burns’ poetry.
Ah yes, haggis. Just when you thought there was nothing worse a Scotsman could do to a sheep.
From Toad’s awesome blog To The Manner Born:
Americans hardly know and little care that today is Robert Burns Day (or Night), the anniversary of the birth of the Scottish poet and lyricist, the Bob Marley of his time, Robert Burns. We canna do the accent, and as long as 95% of us can make up the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne” as we go and Scottish distillers remain in operation we are mostly OK giving Rabbie a miss.
On this side of the pond is a powerful fear of eating haggis, which is rather sad. True haggis is difficult to obtain. And in the US sheep lung, a key component, is considered unfit for human consumption. We canna import from the UK either.
We should know a bit about the Bard, if only to be neighborly. Rabbie took to poetry when he found it a good way to chat up birds, at which he became quite successful. His first book of verse was sold when he was 27 to raise funds so he could hightail it to Jamaica with his girlfriend, Mary Campbell. Burns hoped to escape the mother of his first daughter Elizabeth, and Miss Jean Armour who was pregnant with his twins.
Raise a glass tonight to Mr. Burns. He deserves to be remembered for his poetry, his storytelling, his love for and hopes for a republican Scotland, and his love of fine lasses. May his memory live forever.
And a part of his poem “John Barleycorn,” a tribute to one of his favorite pastimes:
John Barleycorn was a hero bold
Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood
‘Twill make your courage rise.
‘Twill make a man forget his woe;
‘Twill heighten all his joy;
‘Twill make the widow’s heart to sing,
Tho’ the tear were in her eye.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland!