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WEEK TEN

This week we continue with one of Burns’ earliest but best-known songs – ‘Green Grow The Rashes’ – which he set down, apart from the last verse, in his Commonplace Book in August 1784. The last verse, probably added in Edinburgh, is a boon to any chiel proposing The Toast to the Lassies. The second song is Burns at his Nationalist-best as he laments those who sold out Scotland’s Liberty in 1707.

GREEN GROW THE RASHES

Chorus:
Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.

There's nought but care on ev'ry han',
In ev'ry hour that passes, O;
What signifies the life o' man,
An' 'twere na for the lasses, O.
Green grow, etc

The warly race may riches chase,
An' riches still may fly them, O;
An' tho' at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O.
Green grow, etc

But gie me a canny hour at e'en,
My arms about my Dearie, O;
An' warly cares an' warly men,
May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!
Green grow, etc

For you sae douse, ye sneer at this,
Ye're nought but senseless asses, O;
The wisest Man the warl' saw,
He dearly lov'd the lasses, O.
Green grow, etc

Auld Nature swears, the lovely Dears
Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her prentice han' she try'd on man,
An' then she made the lasses, O.
Green grow, etc

Footnote:   An early song, he set it down in his Commonplace-Book in August 1784.

SUCH A PARCEL OF ROGUES IN A NATION

Gaberlunzie - Scots Independent CD
Click here to listen to this song in Real Audio by Gaberlunzie

Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam'd in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An' Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England's province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few,
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, or I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I'll mak this declaration;
We're bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

Footnote:  The Act of Union between Scotland and England came into force on 1st May 1707. As this anti-Union song by Robert Burns points out the Union was brought about by bribery and corruption. There was also a military threat, as England's General Wade sat on their side of the Border ready to invade if The Three Estates vote had gone against the incorporating Union. I happily raise a glass to 'The cassin o the Wanchancie Covenant!' ( see Scots Sayings in Scots Language Feature ).

                                                                                              Return to A Burns Collection 

 


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