250 years old today

January 25, 2009 at 3:44 pm (literature, music, Rosie B, scotland)

Okay, it’s the man’s 250th birthday and it has to be marked:-

The Tree of Liberty (complete poem here)

Heard ye o’ the tree o’ France,

I watna what’s the name o’t;

Around the tree the patriots dance,

Weel Europe kens the fame o’t.

It stands where ance the Bastile stood,

A prison built by kings, man,

When Superstition’s hellish brood

Kept France in leading-strings, man.

 . . . .

Let Britain boast her hardy oak,

Her poplar and her pine, man,

Auld Britain ance could crack her joke,

And o’er her neighbours shine, man

But seek the forest round and round,

And soon ’twill be agreed, man,

That sic a tree can not be found

‘Twixt London and the Tweed, man.

And of course this has to be played as well:-


There’s a load of nationalist and twee crap around Robert Burns – the corporate hospitality of Burns suppers with their facetious Address to the Haggis, Address to the Lassies, Reply from the Lassies etc.  But the basics – the delicious, perfectly balanced food, the fine drink, the grand poetry – are something to admire.

Here’s the last verse of that mighty poem about equality and fraternity:-

Then let us pray that come it may,

(As come it will for a’ that,)

That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,

Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

It’s coming yet for a’ that,

That Man to Man, the world o’er,

Shall brothers be for a’ that. 

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