Happy birthday, Robbie

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 Five.

You’re welcome, Willie Stewart, 
You’re welcome, Willie Stewart, 
There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May
That’s half sae welcome’s thou art. 

Come, bumpers high, express your joy, 
The bowl we maun renew it;
The tappet hen, gae bring her ben, 
To welcome Willie Stewart.

You’re welcome, Willie Stewart, 
You’re welcome, Willie Stewart, 
There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May
That’s half sae welcome’s thou art. 

May foes be strang, and friends be slack 
Ilk action, may he rue it;
May woman on him turn her back 
That wrangs thee, Willie Stewart.

O lovely Polly Stewart,
O charming Polly Stewart,
There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May
That’s half so sweet as thou art.

The flower it blaws, it fades, it falls,
And art can ne’er renew it;
But worth and truth, eternal youth
Will gie to Polly Stewart!

O lovely Polly Stewart,
O charming Polly Stewart,
There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May
That’s half so sweet as thou art.

May he whose arms shall fauld thy charms
Possess a leal and true heart;
To him be given to ken the heaven
He grasps in Polly Stewart.

15 Responses to Happy birthday, Robbie

  1. Thomas says:

    Jean Redpath. The name brings back memories of Mary Cliff’s weekly folk-music program on WETA-FM in Washington DC. Redpath’s recordings were often featured.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely, 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Will S.' Sunny Side Blog and commented:
    The video isn’t showing for me, but love the poem. Great! Never knew this Burns one; and given my last name, I have to love it (as I do all Burns’ work, anyway)! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Normally, I might not have anything worth commenting on this one, but it so happens some commenter at AoS linked to this, so I share:
    Prince Charles is visiting an Edinburgh hospital.…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robbie Burns 25th jan 1759 – 21 July 1796 (36y 6m) contemporary of W.A Mozart 27th Jan 1751 – 5 Dec 1791(35y10m).

    Kind of supports the old adage only the good die young.

    Pity Wolfgang couldn’t have teamed up with Robbie, Lennon & McCartney, eat your hearts out!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A lovely post about the great poet, Robert Burns.

    Liked by 1 person

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