Toast to the Lassies by Dick Silvester


Burns could not have attained the status he has so long enjoyed, were it not for the fact that he was surrounded by remarkable women.

The irresistible beauty, and the sensuality, of the women who inhabited the world of Burns is evidenced by the fact that he fathered no fewer than thirteen (13) children through liaisons with no fewer than five (5) wonderful women.


Peggy Thompson, whose memory is preserved in Now Westlin Winds and Slaught’ring Guns

Jean Armour, Burns only bride who bore him two (2) sets of twins, before their wedding,
Mary Campbell, immortalized as Highland Mary,
Nancy Craig known secretly to Burns, and now, to all the world as Clarinda, who inspired Ae Fond Kiss, and
Anna Parke, celebrated as Anna with the Golden Locks.


His love of the lassies in his life flows through his poetry from the age of 14 right up until his death.
Here are two extracts where the genius Burns says so much in so few lines.  


To Miss Ainslie at church after the congregation was given a roasting by the minister about sinning. At the end of the service Burns wrote on the inside cover in her bible the following:


"Fair maid, you need not take the hint,
Nor idle texts pursue:
'Twas guilty sinners that he meant,
Not Angels such as you".

To his wife Jean Armour in the first year of married life he exaulted Jean thus:


"Tho' I were doom'd to wander on
Beyond the sea, beyond the sun
Till my last weary sand was run,
Till then, and then, I'd love thee!


Please raise your glass with me as we toast the lassies.











Dick Silvester is director of the Halifax Burns Club Awfiest Choir and a former president of the club. He gave this toast to the Lassies at the Annual Burns Supper in 2012.