Here stands a shed to fend the show’rs,
An’ screen our countra gentry;
There Racer Jess, an’ twa-three whores,
Are blinkin at the entry.
Here sits a raw o’ tittlin jads,
Wi’ heaving breast an’ bare neck;
An’ there a batch o’ wabster lads,
Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.
Robert Burns “The Holy Fair” 1786
There were over 70 stalls, street theatre, concerts and exhibitions.
Mauchline, where Burns lived for four years is a treasure chest of history for anyone interested in the bard. For example this is Poosie Nansie’s
In Poosie-Nansie’s held the splore,
To drink their orra duddies;
Wi’ quaffing an’ laughing,
They ranted an’ they sang,
Wi’ jumping an’ thumping,
The vera girdle rang,
The Jolly Beggars (For Love and Liberty)
In the churchyard, there were several graves bearing familiar names
The grave of William Fisher, aka Holy Willie
The grave of Mary Morrison who died when she was only 20 years old.
Oh Mary wouldst thou wreck his peace who for thy sake would gladly die
Or wouldst thou break that heart o’ his wha’s only faut was lovin’ thee
If love for love thou wiltnae gie at least be pity to me shown
A thocht ungentle cannae be the thocht o’ Mary Morrison
Burns wrote the poem/song about Mary when she was only 16.
One of the most poignant graves was that of Jean Armour and four Burns children (two sets of twin girls) who died in infancy. The eldest of the four was not yet three when she died.
Capercaillie played an excellent version of this at the end of their one hour show:
Anyone within travelling distance should put this event in their diaries for next year.
Filed under: Famous People, Poetry | Tagged: capercaillie, jolly beggars, mary morrison, mauchline holy fair, poosie nansie's, robert burns | 1 Comment »