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Friday, January 25, 2013

Burns Night!

You may know that Robert Burns was a Scottish poet but did you know that he had his own holiday that is widely celebrated in Scotland? Every January 25th, people remember this great poet with a night of celebration called Burns Night! Now, I personally have never celebrated Burns Night but I love any event that celebrates a literary aspect. Besides, the celebration itself sounds pretty cool. While you may not find me trying haggis anytime soon, you may find me raising a glass of whiskey to this great poet!



My favorite Burns poem: 

To a Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cowran, 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' murd'ring 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 winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
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 turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!
But Mousie, thou are 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 art blest, compar'd 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!

Fun Facts about Robert Burns:

- J.D. Salinger’s famous 1951 novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ based its title from a poem by Robert Burns ‘Comin' Thro' the Rye’.
- Bob Dylan selected Burns' 1794 song 'A Red, Red Rose' when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.

- John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ from a line contained in Burns' poem ‘To a Mouse’: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley’.

- Auld Lang Syne, by Burns, is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as being one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.

- After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.

- A miniature book of Robert Burns’ poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.

- Robert Burns produced over 550 songs and poems. That averages at around 25 works for each year of his adult life (Burns passed away at 37).
 
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