Thursday, January 30, 2014

Limericky Burns

(from 30 Dec 2011)

A tribute to Robert Burns and his verse. This was presented to the Nor-Cal Rabble on Burns Night in Jan 2012, and posted here in anticipation of this year's Burns Night.

Rabbie Burns and I never were close;
His command of the sex most verbose.
Maids, their hearts all a-flutter,
Made his life a big clutter.
Which of us better off, you suppose?

On the rhymes of old Burns I'm done percolating--
Poet’s grace notes and trills rather stimulating.
Though it's still so dang hard
To decipher the Bard
His reknown, I have found, is a venerating.

For a friend, he would willingly choose
A far visit (‘Twould wear out his shoes!)
For the abundant pleasures
In the simplest of leisures
Young Burns showed us, not Don’ts, but the Do’s.
(Epistle to James Smith, stanza 2)

There’s three reasons the Bard is remembered:
An old language was being dismembered;
To call out dev’lish strife
Was the task of his life;
But his joy was to chase the warm… {ehm…} "bird."

Rabbie's eye was so keen on wee mousie
When his plough blew to heck her poor housie.
Winter's cold is -as then-
Far beyond man's small ken
And our lives, more than not, gets all dousie.
(To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough)

The eild lessons o' Shanter are variegated.
Tipsy Tam went astray 'cause he hesitated
When Ol' Scratch and his clarks
Danced in fine cutty sarks.
Trusty Meg was the vehicle designated.
(Tam O' Shanter)

Where's an end to the Clan Holy Willie?
Over life casting spells oh so chilly?
All around, pompous tools!
Honest men as their fools.
Deadly serious stuff- not so silly!
(Holy Willie's Prayer)

Some pretend that dear Rabbie was celibate
And deflect any charge of "indelicate,"
But the Merry old Muses
All such thought disabuses
And demand scurvy writers prevaricate.
(The Merry Muses of Caledonia; no link)

In an ode for his misbegot child
There is nothing un-tender or wild;
He simply tried harder
To right ill-timed ardor.
We all pray that young Miss Bessie smiled.
(A Poet's Welcome To His Love-Begotten Daughter)

In another he paints social noise,
Where strong spirits cause men to be boys.
Where people are gathered,
They sometimes get lathered
And the deluding women hold joys.
(Epistle to James Smith, stanza 14)

While 'tis true that sweet Rabbie did sanitize
Sometime odd verse for viewing by many eyes
Still, he kept some good stuff
(Oh, you know- without fluff)
Which is wholly unneedful to now revise.

The Bard speaks of things nat'ral and human
With such an incisive acumen;
Wha's ne'er craved the old pinch
To... ah... measure nine inch?
If such be your gift, then please do, man.
(The Merry Muses, "Nine Inch Will Please A Lady"; no link)

Almost all of the old rhymes are bawdy
And they show human nature is "naughty";
But the blasted Victorians
Were such repressed stentorians
The loud critics came off stuffed and haughty.

The man's lustre is bright, no be tarnish;
Weary, time-worn accretions of smarmish.
To a Louse, To a Mouse,
To a Brace of Fat Grouse*
Remove all of those layers of varnish.
(To A Louse) (To A Mouse, ...)

*(OK... that last one was invented.)

Rabbie’s rhymes are oft viewed as spontaneous
But his words very seldom extraneous
As in great works of art,
They took time, they took heart,
But the Haggis Ode? Extemporaneous!
(Address To A Haggis)

As an example:

Yes, that pizza of fruit looks delish!
And in truth, it makes me only wish
That when all has been said
I am well under-fed
Before piling it all on my dish!

(Charge your glass, and be upstanding!)

So, a toast! To fair conviviality!
And wha' brings us to this sociality!
May this eve be a feast
Where we will, at the least,
Guard against so great vice, Bacchanality!

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