I enjoyed performing at my first Burns Supper of the season last night. I’ve been asked to sing and play at four this year. Last night’s immortal memory was very interesting and quoted William Wordsworth from his poem “At the Grave of Burns 1803”
“I mourned with thousands, but as one
More deeply grieved, for He was gone
Whose light I hailed when first it shone,
And showed my youth
How Verse may build a princely throne
On humble truth.”
The full poem is here
I had read before about Wordsworth’s visits to Scotland but only discovered this morning on a search, that his 1803 visit was the subject of a book by his sister Dorothy with the rather snappy title “Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland 1803”
I was delighted to find that this book is available on line. If you click here it will take you to page 56 which describes the arrival in Dumbarton of the Wordsworths and Samuel Taylor Coleridge who accompanied them on the first part of the tour.
Simply clicking on the right hand page advances it and on the left page to take you back.
Below, Dorothy Wordsworth describes their accommodation in Dumbarton.
There is an absolutely fascinating account of their stay in Dumbarton including a visit to the Rock, followed by their journey to the Vale of Leven and north via Loch Lomond.
I have quoted Wordworth’s poem about Island I Vow on the Loch before. He was interested to find a hermit living in the ruined castle there in his visit in 1814:
Proud remnant was he of a fearless race,
Who stood and flourished face to face
With their perennial hills…All were dispossessed, save him whose smile
Shot lightning through this lonely isle!
No rights had he but what he made
To this small spot, his leafy shade
On a subsequent visit in 1831, Wordsworth learned that the hermit had died some time previously and wrote:
How disappeared he? Ask the newt and toad;
Ask of his fellow men and they will tell
How he was found, cold as an icicle,
Under an arch of that forlorn abode
I wrote about my first visit to I Vow here
Anyway I hope this partially dispels the myth that Burns Suppers are ONLY for the purpose of drinking whisky.
Mind you last night there was a fair bit of that too!
Thanks Scotrail for the (free) journey home!