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Here’s a Bottle and an Honest Friend!

 

Robert Burns, in a natty suit and white high collar, with longish black hair, looking to his right (our left)

Robert Burns, beloved poet of Scotland, turns 251 today.

As a Burns birthday salute, here’s the poem “A Bottle and Friend,” published when Burns was 28. The theme is one of his favorites: the simple pleasures of life.

A Bottle and Friend

There’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.

(A modern translation:

There’s none that’s blessed of human kind,
But the cheerful and the joyous, man,
Fal, la, la, etc.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What would you wish for more, man?
Who knows, before his life may end,
What his share may be of care, man?

Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as you ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not near when sought, man.)

Now see our Robert Burns biography »

(Thanks to: Burns Country)

(Image: A 1787 portrait of Robert Burns by Alexander Nasmyth, now part of the collections of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.)

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