“And Then She Made the Lasses O”

green growYesterday was the anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, 18th-century Scottish poet and songwriter.

Burns is best known for “Auld Lang Syne,” which Americans sing on New Year’s Eve and Scots sing at Hogmanay. He also wrote “Scots Wha Hae,” a patriotic anthem of Scotland, and dozens of other poems.

My favorite, though, is “Green Grow the Rashes O.” It’s a paean to women, based on older (very) bawdy songs. I love Burns’ version for its theme of artistry and crafting, and for Burns’ gentle honoring of all women.

In the final verse of this song, a “toast to the lassies,” Burns casts Nature as an artist, who turns her loving hands to the making of humans.

At first, while an apprentice, Nature practices on making man.

And, then, having worked out the kinks, Nature makes woman:

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O:
Her ‘prentice han’ she try’d on man,
An’ then she made the lasses, O

What’s not to love about that sentiment?!

_______________________________

Full lyrics:

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’
In every hour that passes, O
What signifies the life o’ man
An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O

The war’ly race may riches chase
An’ riches still may fly them, O
An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast
Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en
My arms about my Dearie, O
An’ warly cares, an’ warly men
May a’ gae tapsalteerie, O

For you sae douse, ye sneer at this
Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O
The wisest Man the warl’ e’er saw
He dearly lov’d the lasses, O

Auld Nature swears, the lovely Dears
Her noblest work she classes, O
Her prentice han’ she try’d on man
An’ then she made the lasses, O

Green grow the rashes, O;
Green grow the rashes, O;
The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O.

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7 thoughts on ““And Then She Made the Lasses O”

  1. Yay, you remembered Robbie too. This is a comment I posted on my previous post in response to a comment on the amount of snow predicted “January 25th is Robbie Burns Day http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/01/23/burns-night-supper_n_4653790.html. Apparently Robbie Burns exalted in winter ( it was his ‘best season for devotion ” ) I thought of you and your recent snow posts when I read this poem of his, this morning. http://www.robertburns.org/works/211.shtml Keep snug and warm. “

  2. I was fortunate enough to win a Dewar’s Scotch contest years ago and won a trip to Scotland. Burns’ Cottage was one of the places we visited. Ahhh…how I love Scotland!

    • I was in Scotland about 4 years ago–it was wonderful! I loved everything, including the distillery tour we took at Laphroaig on Islay. I’m not that crazy about Scotch but it was a fascinating tour!

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