Previous work:

Contented wi little

Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair, Whene'er I forgather wi' Sorrow and Care, I gie them a skelp, as they're creeping alang, Wi' a cog o' gude swats and an auld Scottish sang. I whyles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought; But Man is a soger, and Life is a faught; My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch, And my Freedom's my Lairdship nae monarch dare touch. A townmond o' trouble, should that be may fa', A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a': When at the blythe end o' our journey at last, Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past. Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way; Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jade gae: Come Ease, or come Travail, come Pleasure or Pain, My warst word is: 'Welcome and welcome again!'


John Shedden

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1794 and is read here by John Shedden.

More about this song

Burns composed this song on 18 November 1794, and he considered it as something of a self-portrait.

Indeed, when the painter Alexander Reid came to create his portrait miniature Burns wished to link the two together, so that, ‘the portrait of my face and the picture of my mind may go down the stream of time together’.

The song is set to the tune, ‘Lumps o Puddins’, a humorous air that Burns believed was worthy of preservation. In a letter to George Thomson, Burns suggested that if he did not wish to use it then he would instead submit it to James Johnson for The Scots Musical Museum.

However, Thomson did like the piece, and so Burns wrote to Johnson in May 1795 asking him what had happened to the work.

Ralph McLean

Themes for this song

war friendship religion

Selected for 18 November

Today's poem was composed on this day in 1794. It sums up the character and disposition of its author two years before his early death. What stoic wisdom and cheerful imperturbability it evinces, defiantly and gallantly so. Given the poet's susceptibility to depression, this was a hard won view of life well worthy of widespread emulation.

Donny O'Rourke

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