Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,

My Mother gave me her “Burns Birthday Book” when I was around 12 and I have added my own friends' birthdays to it since then. The book is dedicated ”To Bette-Joan, With love and Birthday Wishes, (Aunt) Ede January 31, 1945” and I suppose she received it around her 12th birthday too.  Opening the loose spined little book and leafing through its brittle pages I read names of friends and family, some who have drifted out of my and my Mom’s lives, people who are no more than memories. Each day is marked with a short line of Burns’ poetry and for years now I have familiarized myself with and pictured another of Burns poems for his birthday, January 25th, 1759.

A h-uile la sona dhuibh   ‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!

Contented wi' little, and cantie wi' mair,
Contented wi’ little, and cantie wi’ mair,
Whene’er I foregather wi’ Sorrow and Care,
I gie them a skelp as they’re creepin’ alang,
Wi’ a cog o’ guid swats, and an auld Scottish sang.
I whyles claw the elbow o’ troublesome Thought; 

But man is a sodger, and life is a faught:

My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch,
And my Freedom’s my lairdship nae monarch daur touch.
A towmond o’ trouble, should that be my 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!”

Scots Glossary
cog o’ gude swats= pot of good new ale
sowthers=puts to rights
snapper and stoyte=stumble and stagger