It’s the birthday of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). In his short life, Burns sired twelve offspring, some of them legitimate; and he wrote hundreds of poems and song lyrics, some of them suitable for polite company. When Scottish Television polled its viewers in 2009 on the question of who was the greatest Scot of all time, Robert Burns was the winner (William Wallace was the runner-up).
Scottish folk singer Jean Redpath (1937-2014) and American composer and ethnomusicologist Serge Hovey (1920-1989) teamed up in 1976 to record the complete songs of Robert Burns. Had they completed this rather ambitious project, it would have run to 22 volumes; but Hovey’s death in 1989 meant that only seven volumes were completed. This song appeared in Volume 1.
The winter it is past, and the summer’s come at last,
And the small birds sing on every tree;
The hearts of these are glad, but mine is very sad,
For my lover is parted from me.
The rose upon the brier by the waters running clear
May have charms for the linnet or the bee;
Their little loves are blest, and their little hearts at rest,
But my lover is parted from me.
My love is like the sun in the firmament does run,
Forever constant and true;
But his is like the moon that wanders up and down,
And every month it is new.
All you that are in love and cannot it remove,
I pity the pains you endure;
For experience makes me know that your hearts are full of woe,
A woe that no mortal can cure.
When the guys got together for poker on Friday night, one of the regulars was missing.
“Where’s Frank?” asked Charlie.
“Back in the hospital,” said Joe. “He had another heart attack.”
“Not again!” said Harry. “What happened?”
“Well, you know his doctor warned him to avoid strenuous activity,” said Joe. “So when we had all that snow yesterday, Frank didn’t know what to do. His wife can’t shovel ’cause she’s got a bad back, and Frank can’t shovel ’cause he’s got a bad heart. Then that lazy good-for-nothing teenage son of theirs pops up and says, ‘Don’t worry, Dad — I’ll do all the shoveling.’ Frank had a heart attack on the spot.”