New Year’s Eve is creeping upon is, and we could get ready . . .
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.
The “song” was actually a poem written by Robert Burns and set to the tune of the traditional folk song (Roud # 6294), He decidedly began the work by posing a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that old times be forgotten, and is generally interpreted as a call to remember long-standing friendships.
And though they didn’t each other, Burns wished he was pals with Andrew Carnegie . . . perhaps it’s more correct to say that Carnegie wanted him as a bosom buddy since Burns was his favorite poet. And so, on Friday, January 16, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh will celebrate the heritage of its founder and the man also known as Robbie Burns, Rabbie Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth. the Bard of Ayrshire and, in Scotland, The Bard with a Burns Bash at The Pittsburgh Golf Club. Guests of the dinner will be treated to a Scottish strolling supper and dessert buffet, whisky tasting, music, bag piper, highland dancers, silent auction and a souvenir photograph. Proceeds benefit Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.
Such “Burns Nights” are usually celebrated on Burns’ birthday, January 25, but we are sure he won’t burn. Interestingly, Burns died at age 37; some insist he died from alcoholic excess, venereal disease and/or typhus. His doctor stated that “The case was an ordinary one of rheumatism with heart complications, shortness of breath, faintness, weakness, rapid irregular pulse (auricular fibrillation), and towards the end, fever, parched tongue and delirium, presumably due to a bacteriological endocarditis which developed as a terminal infection.”
In case anyone at the Burns bash picks your mind, we offer some minutiae.
In 2009, Burns was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.
Burns’s literary influence can be found in the title of John Steinbeck’s 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, taken from a line in the second-to-last stanza of Burns’ “To a Mouse”: The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.
When asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration, Bob Dylan selected Burns’ 1794 song “A Red, Red Rose” as the lyric that had the biggest effect on his life.
J. D. Salinger used protagonist Holden Caulfield’s misinterpretation of Burns’ poem “Comin’ Through the Rye” as his title and a main interpretation of Caulfield’s grasping to his childhood in his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. The poem, actually about a rendezvous, is thought by Caulfield to be about saving people from falling out of childhood.
Wonder in Andy knew all that?
IF YOU GO
Grill Room of The Pittsburgh Golf Club, 5280 Northumberland Street, Pittsburgh
Friday, January 16, 2015, beginning at 7 p.m.
Business Attire or Highland Dress
For more details, or to purchase tickets, call 412.622.5772 or click members.carnegiemuseums.org/burns