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 3.

There’s nought but care on ev’ry hand,
In ev’ry hour that passes, O:
What signifies the life of man,
An ’twere not for the lasses, O.
Green grow the rushes, O;
Green grow the rushes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
Are spent among the lasses, O.

The worldly race may riches chase,
And riches still may fly them, O;
And tho at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O.
Green grow the rushes, O;
Green grow the rushes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
Are spent among the lasses, O.

Gie me a cannie hour at e’en,
My arms about my dearie, O;
And worldly cares, and worldly men,
May all gae tapsalteerie, O.
Green grow the rushes, O;
Green grow the rushes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
Are spent among the lasses, O.

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this;
Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O:
The wisest man the world e’er saw,
He dearly loved the lasses, O.

Green grow the rushes, O;
Green grow the rushes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
Are spent among the lasses, O. 

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her prentice hand she tried on man,
And then she made the lasses, O.
Green grow the rushes, O;
Green grow the rushes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
Are spent among the lasses, O. 

12 Responses to Happy birthday, Robbie

  1. Today is my son’s birthday, also. He’s not famous at all, though.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tidalscribe says:

    We’ve had our haggis, tatties and neeps today.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robbie Burns 1759 – 1796 died aged 37
    W. A Mozart 1756 – 1791 died aged 36
    Both young in their prime so much lost!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. msjadeli says:

    A very special offering for today.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Donnalee says:

    I love Robbie Burns and can agree that “The sweetest hours that e’er I spend
    Are spent among the lads, O. ” Or sometime among the pussycats–

    I was given another box of the annual superb Robert Burns chocolate and whiskey collection from l.A. Burdick, which they only sell for this few-week period. Ah! They are excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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