A night of Robert Burns’ pastoral songs, a night in the Marama Hall, well attended, presented by Professor Nigel Leask of the University of Glasgow, and accompanied by the University’s Department of Music.  The singers and musicians passing themselves off as unquestionably fine.

I thought my edition of Burns was the Complete Poems and Songs, however I can’t find his naughty poem When maukin bucks… listed under any of its titles or lines.  Prurience perhaps, when others are included?

One hundred and thirty love songs, in a life’s work of over five hundred pieces.  Burns was more literate and familiar with his country’s poetry and sung culture than his persona suggests.  He sought out material and made it presentable, often preserving what would otherwise have been lost.

He funded himself supporting himself as an excise man.  “[Y]ou may think my songs either above, or below, price; for they shall absolutely be the one or the other. In the honest enthusiasm with which I embark in your undertaking, to talk of money, wages, fee, hire, and etc. could be downright Sodomy of Soul!”

The final word from Lord Byron, “What an antithetical mind, a mixture of dirt and deity!”

Robert Burns

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