Tag Archives: Burns

Burns Suppers

The Meenister’s Log

At this time of year, many different groups of people get together to celebrate the birthday of the Scottish Bard, Robert Burns (not to be confused with Rabbi Burns who was the Jewish comedian George Burns’ cousin)

Robert Burns

Weirdly,   it is assumed that the Parish Minister can add to the speechifying, even if, like me, you know or care little about our national poet.  It’s also assumed that all Ministers are excellent singers (I’m tone deaf) and can recite “Tam o’ Shanter” by heart and with all the appropriate actions (I’ve got such a poor memory that even after forty years of ministry, I have to READ the Lord’s Prayer!)


……..here are two examples from different speeches made a long time ago (and for those of a sensitive disposition, please don’t read the latter)

A wee Glesga fella decided one night to play “Partick Roulette”  For those unfamiliar with this phrase – it means frying chips when you’re pissed.

So the pan catches fire and he catches fire with an extra whoosh as he’s wearing a spilled alcohol sweater.

He ends up in hospital swathed in bandages.

To his surprise, out of the corner of his one remaining eye, he sees John Wayne, and the Duke is muttering something like “Oh, my love has a red red nose”

“OMG” he thinks, “I’m hallucinating – nae mare Lighter Fluid fur me”

Then – it can’t be Clint Eastwood, surely?  The “Man with no Name” is reciting “Wee, cowboy timorous feastie”

And Roy Rodgers “Tam o’ Sea shanty”

Enough!  “Nurse!”

“Nurse, where the hell am I?”

“In the bad burns unit”


“In the Western”*

* Western Infirmary, Glasgow  

WARNING – the following is “R” rated – do not read if easily offended (but I bet you will….)

This was at an all male Burns’ Supper in a former mining village:

Jean Armour was worried and agitated.  Her Rabbie hadn’t been home for a couple of nights.

Her friend tried to comfort her, “Och, ye ken whit he’s like, he’ll be hame soon”

And with that, staggering down the street came the man himself, holding a bunch of flowers (probably taken from St Michael’s Kirkyard).

“Here he is!  And he’s brocht ye flooers”

To which Rabbie’s long suffering wife responded, “You know what this will mean?”

“Whit, lass?”

“I’ll be lying on my back all night with my legs apart”

“Oh, dae ye no have a vase?”


Leave a comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

Holy Willie’s Prayer

Holy Willie’s Prayer is a poem that was written about a certain Willie Fisher who was an elder in the Parish church of Mauchline, in Ayrshire. Fisher was a hypocrite and himself a sinner who spied on people and reported them to the minister if he thought they were doing wrong.

The poem is a satire based on Fisher’s sickly self-righteousness. The phrase “Holy Willie” have become part of the Scots language for describing someone that is humourless and ultra religious.

Note: Burns was a God fearing man. This poem is not anti religion. It is stricly a condemnation of religious hypocrisy and self righteousness.

O Thou, that in the heavens does dwell,  As it pleases best Thysel’,  Sends aen to Heaven an’ ten to Hell,  For Thy glory,  And no for onie guid or ill  They’ve done afore Thee!
I bless and praise Thy matchless might,  When thousands Thou hast left in night,  That I am here afore Thy sight,  For gifts an’ grace  A burning and a shining light  To a’ this place.
What was I, or my generation,  That I should get sic exaltation?  I wha deserv’d most just damnation  For broken laws,  Six thousand years ‘ere my creation,  Thro’ Adam’s cause.
When from my mither’s womb I fell,  Thou might hae plung’d me deep in hell,  To gnash my gums, and weep and wail,  In burnin lakes,  Where damned devils roar and yell,  Chain’d to their stakes.
Yet I am here a chosen sample,  To show thy grace is great and ample;  I’m here a pillar o’ Thy temple,  Strong as a rock,  A guide, a buckler, and example, To a’ Thy flock.
O Lord, Thou kens what zeal I bear,  When drinkers drink, an’ swearers swear,  An’ singing here, an’ dancin there,  Wi’ great and sma’;  For I am keepit by Thy fear  Free frae them a’.
But yet, O Lord! confess I must,  At times I’m fash’d wi’ fleshly lust:  An’ sometimes, too, in worldly trust,  Vile self gets in;  But Thou remembers we are dust,  Defil’d wi’ sin.
O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi’ Meg  Thy pardon I sincerely beg;  O may’t ne’er be a livin’ plague  To my dishonour,  An’ I’ll ne’er lift a lawless leg  Again upon her.
Besides, I farther maun avow,  Wi’ Leezie’s lass, three times I trow –  But Lord, that Friday I was fou,  When I cam near her;  Or else, Thou kens, Thy servant true  Wad never steer her.
Maybe Thou lets this fleshly thorn  Buffet Thy servant e’en and morn,  Lest he owre proud and high shou’d turn,  That he’s sae gifted:  If sae, Thy han’ maun e’en be borne,  Until Thou lift it.
Lord, bless Thy chosen in this place,  For here Thou has a chosen race!  But God confound there stuborn face,  An’ blast their name,  Wha brings Thy elders to disgrace  An’ open shame.
Lord, mind Gaw’n Hamilton’s deserts;  He drinks, an’ swears, an’ plays at cartes,  Yet has sae mony takin arts,  Wi’ great an’ sma’,  Frae God’s ain priest the people’s hearts  He steals awa’.
And when we chasten’d him therefore,  Thou kens how he bred sic a splore,  And set the world in a roar  O’ laughing at us; Curse Thou his basket and his store, Kail an’ potatoes.
Lord, hear my earnest cry and pray’r,  Against that Presbyt’ry o’ Ayr;  Thy strong right hand, Lord mak it bare  Upo’ their heads;  Lord visit them, an’ dinna spare,  For their misdeeds.
O Lord my God! that glib-tongu’d Aitken,  My vera heart an’ flesh are quakin,  To think how we stood sweatin, shakin,  An’ pish’d wi’ dread,  While he, wi’ hingin lip an’ snakin,  Held up his head.
Lord, in Thy day o’ vengeance try him,  Lord, visit them wha did employ him,  And pass not in Thy mercy by them,  Nor hear their pray’r,  But for Thy people’s sake destroy them,  An’ dinna spare.
But, Lord, remember me an’ mine  Wi’ mercies temporal and divine,  That I for grace an’ gear may shine,  Excell’d by nane,  And a’ the glory shall be Thine,  Amen, Amen!

1 Comment

Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic