A man’s a man
Burns night, Can you remember. Then you didn’t go. The Spectator had a lovely joke. English and Scottish supporters are fighting outside the gates of heaven. The Almighty steps up. Enough of this nonsense about which is the better country. Pick a poet and let him in 20 minutes make up a rhyming poem with Timbuktu . The English pick Wordsworth. He goes beautifully.
I went into a foreign land/I came across a silver strand/A sailing ship hove into view/Her destination Timbuktu.
For the North Britons up stepped Robbie.” Tim and I a’walking went/We spied three virgins in a tent/Since they were three and we were two/I bucked one and Tim bucked two.”
None like us. Of course our Robbie was as famous for his loves and lassies as well as his poems. None more than his unrequited love for Agnes Nancy Maclehose. While his breeches were dropped for others he and Nancy had to make do with the most romantic and moving correspondence. While her Calvinist faith(and her married status) and maybe her uncle’s patronage forbade her going that extra mile, her memory of their passionate friendship illuminated her long life.
Burns wrote several poems specially for Agnes. Including the last one before he married Jean. Aye fond kiss,and then we sever/And farewell and part forever.
But needs must ,while the correspondence was carrying on , Burns tupped Nancy’s maid Jenny Clow who came bearing the letters. She bore his child. One of the reasons that Burns took his job as a tax man was that he needed a regular income not only to support his wife but his numerous illegitimate children.
But of course the Maclehose connection caught the eye. Vivien’s oldest(and dearest?) friend and one time business partner ,designer Chrissie married into the Maclehose family. Her marriage to David did not last, but she him and the two grown up girls are mature enough to spend feast days together. David’s brother Christopher was awarded a CBE for his work as a brilliant publisher not least in bringing the Larsson books to the English speaking world. Their father was a vicar maybe every bit as daunting as Agnes Calvinistic parents who no doubt frowned every time the sun came up. His brother, their uncle was one time governor of Hong Kong.
Chrissie is a girl I’ll never see/She talks and talks, too much for me.