Over the next few weeks, right across the world, people will be gathering to mark the life and extraordinary talent of Robert Burns. For this week’s reading, I intended at first to cover one of the famous poems. However, then I thought of this lesser-known piece that he wrote as a very personal tribute to a couple whose hospitality he enjoyed for many happy hours – Captain Robert Riddell of Glenriddell and his wife, Elizabeth.
The day returns, my bosom burns, the blissful day we twa did meet:
Tho' winter wild in tempest toil'd, ne'er summer-sun was half sae sweet.
Than a' the pride that loads the tide, and crosses o'er the sultry line;
Than kingly robes, than crowns and globes, Heav'n gave me more
-it made thee mine!
While day and night can bring delight, or Nature aught of pleasure give;
While joys above my mind can move, for thee, and thee alone, I live.
When that grim foe of life below comes in between to make us part,
The iron hand that breaks our band, it breaks my bliss