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December 22, 2017

Click here to listen: https://soundcloud.com/words-of-burns/winter-a-dirge


Christmas as we know it would not have been a celebration in religiously austere Ayrshire in the time of Robert Burns. There is therefore no mention of it in his works and only a passing reference to Yule. Winter, however, was a time in which he took considerable enjoyment as the short dark days provided suitable excuse to sit at his writing desk. However, despite his pleasure in the season, the following piece reflects a more sombre view.


“The wintry west extends his blast, And hail and rain does blaw; 
Or the stormy north sends driving forth The blinding sleet and snaw: 
While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down, And roars frae bank to brae; 
And bird and beast in covert rest, And pass the heartless day. 

"The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast," The joyless winter day 
Let others fear, to me more dear Than all the pride of May: 
The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul, My griefs it seems to join; 
The leafless trees my fancy please, Their fate resembles mine! 

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme These woes of mine fulfil, 
Here firm I rest; they must be best, Because they are Thy will! 
Then all I want-O do Thou grant This one request of mine!- 
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny, Assist me to resign.”


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