Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise!
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream -
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream!
Thou stock dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear -
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair!
This evening we will dine on haggis, neeps and tatties with plenty o' broon sass. Robert Burns's Address to a Haggis shall be recited as we use a ceremonial dagger, a ram's-head pommel on its hilt, to burst open the haggis and spill out its opulence onto the plate. Actually, the 'dagger' is a hand-forged letter-opener by Stan Pike blacksmith, but its drama is perfect for the job.
At some point in the evening I shall read aloud my favourite poem by Burns - Sweet Afton. I have copied the first two verses here because I find the 'wild whistling blackbirds' line almost painfully exquisite; why does it always bring tears to my eyes?
I first heard the poem recited on a BBC radio programme years ago, and was so moved by it I made the little embroidery on raw linen pictured above.
Please join us and raise a glass to our beautiful bard of Scotland, Mr. Robert Burns.