Halloween (poem)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Edward Scriven's engraving of John Masey Wright's illustration to Robert Burns' Halloween
Halloween[a]

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans[b] dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the Cove,[c] to stray an' rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;

[...]

—Robert Burns[1]

"Halloween" is a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1785.[1] First published in 1786, the poem is included in the Kilmarnock Edition. It is one of Burns' longer poems, with twenty-eight stanzas, and employs a mixture of Scots and English.[2][3]

Background[edit]

The poet John Mayne from Dumfries, a comparatively obscure follower of the Scottish Muses, had attempted a poem on the subject of Halloween in 1780.[4] Having twelve stanzas, the poem makes note of pranks at Halloween; "What fearfu' pranks ensue!", as well as the supernatural associated with the night, "Bogies" (ghosts).[4][5] The poem appeared in Ruddimans Weekly Magazine, November 1780, published by Walter Ruddiman in Edinburgh;[4] that the Ayrshire poet Burns actually saw and was influenced by Mayne's composition is apparent, as he appears to communicate with Mayne's work, and also echoes some of his imagery.[4][6] According to Burns, Halloween is "thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are all abroad on their baneful midnight errands".[7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand anniversary,.—R.B.
  2. ^ Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.—R.B.
  3. ^ A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a favorite haunt of fairies.—R.B.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alexander Smith (1868). Poems, Songs and Letters, being the complete works of Robert Burns. Edited from the best printed and manuscript authorities, with glossarial index and a biographical memoir by Alexander Smith. (The Globe edition.). Macmillan & Company. pp. 44–7.
  2. ^ Robert Burns, Alexander Smith Poems, songs, and letters: being the complete works of Robert Burns, edited from the best printed and manuscript authorities with glossarial index and a biographical memoir Macmillan and co., 1868
  3. ^ BBC - Robert Burns - Halloween BBC
  4. ^ a b c d Robert Chambers The life and works of Robert Burns, Volume 1 Lippincott, Grambo & co., 1854
  5. ^ Ulster Scots - Words and Phrases:"Bogie" BBC Retrieved December 16, 2010
  6. ^ Thomas Crawford Burns: a study of the poems and songs Stanford University Press, 1960
  7. ^ Charles Knight (1833) The Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Difussion of Useful Knowledge, Volume 1 p.342. Retrieved January 14, 2011

External links[edit]