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    Scotland’s National Poet & Bard, Robert Burns (1759-1796) on Postage Stamps

    Scots Wha Hae ("Scots, Who Have"; Scottish Gaelic: Brosnachadh Bhruis) is a patriotic song of Scotland which served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country, but has lately been largely supplanted by Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland.

    We dedicate this post to Iain and Margaret, our Scottish friends who are going to leave France. Both are great admirers of Robert Burns and they’re living in Dumfries & Galloway, not far from the native place of the great Scottish bard. Let’s say them “Ce n’est qu’un au-revoir” in music…

    AULD LANG SYNE

    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to mind
    Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
    And auld lang syne

    And surely ye ‘ll be your pint’ stowp
    And surely I ‘ll be mine
    And we ‘ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
    For auld lang syne

    We twa hae run about the braes
    And pou’d the gowans fine
    But we ‘ve wander’d monie a weary fit
    Sin’ auld lang syne.

    We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
    Frae morning sun till dine
    But seas between us braid hae roar’d
    Sin’ auld lang syne

    And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere
    And gie ‘s a hand o’ thine
    And we ‘ll tak a right guid-willie waught
    For auld lang syne

    [CHORUS]
    For auld lang syne, my dear
    For auld lang syne
    We’ll tak a cup o’ kindess yet
    For auld lang syne

    ……………………….

    Now for the English translation 🙂 :

    Times Long Gone

    Should old acquaintance be forgot,
    And never brought to mind
    Should old acquaintance be forgot,
    And days of long ago

    [CHORUS:]
    For old long ago, my dear
    For old long ago,
    We will take a cup of kindness yet
    For old long ago

    We two have run about the hillsides
    And pulled the daisies fine,
    But we have wandered many a weary foot
    For old long ago

    We two have paddled in the stream
    From noon until dinner time,
    But seas between us broad have roared
    Since old long ago
    And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
    And give us a hand of yours,
    And we will take a goodwill draught
    For old long ago

    And surely you will pay for your pint,
    And surely I will pay for mine
    And we will take a cup of kindness yet
    For old long ago

    Lyrics Source: www.links2love.com

    ………………………………………………

    Great Britain 2009 Commemorative stamps - Robert Burns

    Great Britain Commemorative stamp Robert Burns

    Hi Mairiuna! 🙂

    While Jean-Claude and yourself were in Biarritz with our dear Scottish friends, Iain and Margaret, who flew over from Kirkconnel, Scotland, to spend a vacation week in the Basque Country, (how I wish I could have been there! ), I had the idea of creating a short video about the countries that had issued postage stamps in commemoration of Scotland’s best-loved poet and bard, Robert Burns. And for the fun of it, I will showcase below some Robert Burns memorabilia that we happen to have in our collections.

    Robert Burns Postcard - Postmarked West Hartlepool - Jan 28,1904

    Robert Burns – Postcard – Postmarked West Hartlepool – Jan 28,1904

    Robert Burns Poster Stamp

    Robert Burns Poster Stamp

    Robert Burns Commemorative Postal Stamps - Great Britain

    One of my favourites are the Royal Mail Stamp Card Series issued by Great Britain in 1996 as they elegantly apppreciate his poetry. Each stamp depict an image along side with a line of the poem.

    Robert Burns Royal Mail Stamp Cards Series 1996

    To a Mouse

    The poem denotes the narrator of the poem is plowing his field when he cuts through a mouse nest. The poet shows regret and apologizes to the mouse before he goes on a tangent which reveals the deeper meaning of the poem.

    The connotation is that even when you mean no harm and have pure intentions, you can destroy somebody else’s well laid plans. Life is unpredictable, and while preparing for the unpredictable future we are not enjoying the present moment – which the mouse seems to be able to do. The narrator reminisces on “prospects drear,” i.e. bad events that have happened in the past which in some ways prevent him from moving on. Furthermore, some say that he is very fearful of the future and that these two reasons do not allow him to enjoy the present.

    He is also hinting that we humans aren’t very empathic or sympathetic towards animals like this mouse, but both species prepare for the future, hoping for nothing to affect their smooth lives. He asks, “So what if the mouse steals our corn? It still wants to survive; this is the same for humans, so why are we so apart?” And, they are best friends: one is tall and one is short; one is strong and one is weak.

    John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel Of Mice and Men from a line contained in the penultimate stanza: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley” (often paraphrased in English as “The best-laid plans of mice and men / Go oft awry”). The 1997 novel The Best Laid Plans by Sidney Sheldon also draws its title from this line.

    The first stanza of the poem is read by Ian Anderson in the beginning of the 2007 remaster of “One Brown Mouse” by Jethro Tull. Anderson adds the line “But a mouse is a mouse, for all that,” at the end of the stanza, which is a reference to another of Burn’s songs, “Is There for Honest Poverty”, commonly known as “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”.

    Burns original:

    Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, 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’ murdering 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 win’s ensuin,
    Baith snell an’ keen!

    Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste,
    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 turned out, for a’ thy trouble,
    But house or hald,
    To thole the winter’s sleety dribble,
    An’ cranreuch cauld.

    But Mousie, thou art 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 are blest, compared 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!

    ……….
    English translation:

    Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
    O, what a panic is in your little breast!
    You need not start away so hasty
    With argumentative chatter!

    I would be loath to run and chase you,
    With murdering plough-staff.
    I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
    Has broken Nature’s social union,

    And justifies that ill opinion
    Which makes thee startle
    At me, your poor, earth born companion
    And fellow mortal!

    I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
    What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
    An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
    Is a small request;

    I will get a blessing with what is left,
    And never miss it.
    Your small house, too, in ruin!
    Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!

    And nothing now, to build a new one,
    Of coarse grass green!
    And bleak December’s winds coming,
    Both bitter and keen!

    You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
    And weary winter coming fast,
    And cozy here, beneath the blast,
    You thought to dwell,

    Till crash! the cruel plough passed
    Out through your cell.
    That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
    Has cost you many a weary nibble!

    Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
    Without house or holding,
    To endure the winter’s sleety dribble,
    And hoar-frost cold.

    But little Mouse, you are not alone,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes of mice and men
    Go often askew,

    And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
    For promised joy!
    Still you are blest, compared with me!
    The present only touches you:

    But oh! I backward cast my eye,
    On prospects dreary!
    And forward, though I cannot see,
    I guess and fear!

    Souce: Wikipedia

    Robert Burns Royal Mail Stamp Card Series 1996

    A Red, Red Rose

    Burns worked for the final ten years of his life on projects to preserve traditional Scottish songs for the future. In all, Burns had a hand in preserving over 300 songs for posterity, the most famous being “Auld Lang Syne”. He worked on this project for James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum (1787-1803) and for George Thomson’s five-volume A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice. Burns had intended the work to be published as part of Thomson’s selection. However, he wrote to a friend that Thomson and he disagreed on the merits of that type of song. “What to me appears to be the simple and the wild, to him, and I suspect to you likewise, will be looked on as the ludicrous and the absurd.”

    Instead, Burns gave the song to Scots singer Pietro Urbani who published it in his Scots Songs. In his book, Urbani claimed the words of The Red Red Rose were obligingly given to him by a celebrated Scots poet, who was so struck by them when sung by a country girl that he wrote them down and, not being pleased with the air, begged the author to set them to music in the style of a Scots tune, which he has done accordingly. In other correspondence, Burns referred to it as a “simple old Scots song which I had picked up in the country.”

    The lyrics of the song are simple but effective. “My luve’s like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in June” describe a love that is both fresh and long lasting. David Daiches in his work describes Burns as “the greatest songwriter Britain has produced” for his work in refurbishing and improving traditional Scots songs including “Red, Red Rose” which he described as a “combination of tenderness and swagger.”

    Burns original (click here to hear Kenneth Mc Kellar sing this marvellous song)

    1.
    O, my luve’s like a red, red rose,
    That’s newly sprung in June.
    O, my luve’s like the melodie,
    That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
    2.
    As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
    So deep in luve am I,
    And I will luve thee still, my Dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.
    3.
    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my Dear,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun!
    O I will luve thee still, my Dear,
    While the sands o’ life shall run.
    4.
    And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
    And fare thee weel a while!
    And I will come again, my Luve,
    Tho’ it were ten thousand mile!

    English Translation

    O, my love is like a red, red rose,
    That is newly sprung in June.
    O, my love is like the melody,
    That is sweetly played in tune.

    As fair are you, my lovely lass,
    So deep in love am I,
    And I will love you still, my Dear,
    Till all the seas go dry.

    Till all the seas go dry, my Dear,
    And the rocks melt with the sun!
    O I will love you still, my Dear,
    While the sands of life shall run.

    And fare you well, my only Love,
    And fare you well a while!
    And I will come again, my Love,
    Although it were ten thousand mile!

    Source: Wikipedia

    Robert Burns Royal Mail Stamp Card Series Scots Wha Hae 1996

    Scots Wha Hae (“Scots, Who Have”; Scottish Gaelic: Brosnachadh Bhruis) is a patriotic song of Scotland which served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country, but has lately been largely supplanted by Scotland the Brave and Flower of Scotland.

    The lyrics were written by Robert Burns in 1793, in the form of a speech given by Robert the Bruce before the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, where Scotland maintained its sovereignty from the Kingdom of England. Although the lyrics are by Burns, he wrote them to the traditional Scottish tune Hey Tuttie Tatie which, according to tradition, was played by Bruce’s army at the Battle of Bannockburn,[1] and by the Franco-Scots army at the Siege of Orleans

    The tune tends to be played as a slow air, but certain arrangements put it at a faster tempo, as in the Scottish Fantasy by Max Bruch and the concert overture Rob Roy by Hector Berlioz.

    The song was sent by Burns to his publisher George Thomson, at the end of August 1793, with the title Robert Bruce’s March To Bannockburn, and a postscript saying that he had been inspired by Bruce’s ‘glorious struggle for Freedom, associated with the glowing ideas of some other struggles of the same nature, not quite so ancient.’ This is seen as a covert reference to the Radical movement, and particularly to the trial of the Glasgow lawyer Thomas Muir of Huntershill, whose trial began on 30 August 1793 as part of a British government crackdown, after the French Revolutionary Wars led to France declaring war on the Kingdom of Great Britain on 1 February 1793.

    Muir was accused of sedition for allegedly inciting the Scottish people to oppose the government during the December 1792 convention of the Scottish ‘Friends of the People’ society, and was eventually sentenced to fourteen years transportation to the convict settlement at Botany Bay, Australia.

    Burns was aware that if he declared his Republican and Radical sympathies openly he could suffer the same fate. It is notable that when Burns agreed to let the Morning Chronicle, of 8 May 1794, publish the song, it was on the basis of ‘let them insert it as a thing they have met with by accident, and unknown to me.’

    The song was included in the 1799 edition of A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice, edited by George Thomson, but Thomson preferred the tune “Lewie Gordon” and had Burns add to the fourth line of each stanza, to suit. In the 1802 edition, the original words and tune were restored.

    Scots Wha Hae” is the party song of the Scottish National Party. It is sung at the close of their annual national conference each year.

    Scots, Wha Hae (Click here to hear Nathalie Leducq play the tune on flute)

    Scots, Wha Hae.
    Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
    Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
    Welcome to your gory bed
    Or to victorie!

    Now’s the day, and now’s the hour:
    See the front o’ battle lour,
    See approach proud Edward’s power –
    Chains and slaverie!

    Wha will be a traitor knave?
    Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
    Wha sae base as be a slave? –
    Let him turn, and flee!

    Wha for Scotland’s King and Law
    Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
    Freeman stand or freeman fa’,
    Let him follow me!

    By oppression’s woes and pains,
    By your sons in servile chains,
    We will drain our dearest veins
    But they shall be free!

    Lay the proud usurpers low!
    Tyrants fall in every foe!
    Liberty’s in every blow!
    Let us do or dee!

    English Translation

    Scots, Who Have.
    Scots, who have with Wallace bled,
    Scots, who Bruce has often led,
    Welcome to your gory bed
    Or to victory!

    Now is the day, and now is the hour:
    See the front of battle lour (impending),
    See approach proud Edward’s power –
    Chains and slavery!

    Who will be a traitor knave?
    Wha will fill a coward’s grave?
    Who so base as be a slave? –
    Let him turn, and flea!

    Who for Scotland’s King and Law
    Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
    Freeman stand or freeman fall,
    Let him follow me!

    By oppression’s woes and pains,
    By your sons in servile chains,
    We will drain our dearest veins
    But they shall be free!

    Lay the proud usurpers low!
    Tyrants fall in every foe!
    Liberty is in every blow!
    Let us do or die!

    Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scots_Wha_Hae

    Before I wrap it up, let’s add just one more item from our cherished “Robbie’s” collectibles; a beautiful calendar offered to Mairiuna in 2009 by Iain and Margaret.

    Robert Burns - 2009 Calendar

    Robert Burns – 2009 Calendar

    Talk soon,

    Janice

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    2 comments to Scotland’s National Poet & Bard, Robert Burns (1759-1796) on Postage Stamps

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