Auld Lang Syne has been a popular song around the world particularly in the English speaking communities. I have heard the song sung in Japanese and Russian but when I ask people who wrote the song that is another matter. Robert Burns, Scotland national poet is credited with writing it in 1788 but it was another song that took my interest in regards to Land Of Holistic Pets. The poem was called The Twa Dugs – translated from Scot’s dialect to The Two Dogs.
It is a smashing poem about 2 dogs – one owned by the landed gentry and the other by an ordinary working man. From the Poem – extracts in English
“Two dogs who’d had to work since dine,
Forgathered once upon a time.”
“The first I’ll name, they called him Caesar,
Was kept just for his honour’s pleasure;”
“The other was a ploughman’s collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving Billie,
Whose master for a comrade had him,
And by some freak had Luath called him,”
I write this because one of our loyal customer James Prentice emailed me again the other week and reminded me of previous communications a number of year ago. This time however he told me about his own dog which he and his wife rescued from SSPCA shelter which was called Luath. Not a collie but none – the- less an unusual name and what could be more fitting than it being fed Luath Holistic Nutrition for dogs.
I had my own reasons for naming the product Luath – my own surname being Burns, having been brought up in Ayrshire and I already had a claim to fame in that my son and eldest daughter were both born on Robert Burns birthday – 25th January exactly 2 years apart. I felt it a fitting tribute to name the products with a connection to Robert Burns . The Robbie’s dog food was already named after him.
I have reproduced the full translated version below – although lengthy it is a wonderful story.
The Twa Dugs
Two dogs, one of gentle birth, the other of more humble, hold a dissertation on the social differences of their respective masters. They conclude their own station in the life is the better.
‘Twas in that place of Scotland’s isle,
That bears the name of Auld King Coil, Kyle, Ayrshire.
Upon a sunny day in June,
When, wearing through the afternoon,
Two dogs who’d had to work since dine,
Forgathered once upon a time.
The first I’ll name, they called him Caesar,
Was kept just for his honour’s pleasure;
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, Ears.
Showed he was none of Scotland’s dogs;
But he was whelped some place abroad,
Where sailors go to fish for cod. Labrador.
His locked, lettered new brass collar,
Showed him the gentleman and scholar;
But though he was of high degree,
Upon his oath, no pride had he;
But he liked to spend an hour in fun,
With a gipsy’s cur he could outrun,
At church or market, mill or smithy,
No mongrel dog was e’er unworthy,
But he would be right glad to see him,
And roam the hills and byways with him.
The other was a ploughman’s collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving Billie,
Whose master for a comrade had him,
And by some freak had Luath called him,
After some dog in a Highland song,
Was made long since, Lord knows how long.
He was a friendly faithful tyke,
That ever jumped a ditch or dyke,
His honest, comely winsome face,
Secured him friends in every place,
His breast was white, his shaggy back,
Well-clad with coat of glossy black;
His bushy tail, with upward curl,
Hung o’er his hips with graceful swirl.
No doubt they were, fond of each other,
And thick as thieves with one another;
While both their noses sniffed away,
At mice and moles among the hay,
They tired themselves with long excursions,
And vied each other in diversions;
Until with clowning weary grown,
Upon a knoll they sat them down,
And there began a long digression,
About the lords of all creation. Humans.
I’ve often wondered, honest Luath,
What sort of life poor dogs like you have;
For when of gentry’s life I tell,
I thought all folks lived just as well,
My lord rakes in his racked rents,
His coals, his dues, and all his stents; Perquisites
He rises when he likes hisel’,
His servants answer to the bell;
He calls his coach, he calls his horse,
He owns a heavy silken purse,
As long as my tail, where through the seam,
The yellow golden guineas gleam.
From morn till night his cooks are toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
But when the gentry have their fill,
The servants too tuck in at will;
Our kennel lad, poor little sinner,
A woeful elf, he eats a dinner,
Better than any tenant man,
His honour has in all his land.
But what poor cot folk fill their paunch with,
I own it’s past comprehension.
Truth Caesar, they have their trouble,
Digging away through mud and rubble,
With dirty stones building a dyke,
Baring a quarry and suchlike,
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains,
A couple of wee ragged bairns,
With nothing but his daily toil
To keep them all above the soil.
And when they meet with sore disasters,
Like loss of health, or want of masters,
You’d almost think, a wee touch longer
And they must starve of cold and hunger.
But how it is I’ve never kenned yet,
They’re mostly wonderfully contented.
For stalwart men or clever lasses
Are bred in such a way as this is.
But then to see how you’re neglected,
How cursed and cuffed and disrespected;
Lord man, our gentry care as little
For diggers, ditchers and such cattle;
They raise their nose to those who labour
As they would to a stinking badger.
I’ve notice on our lord’s court day,
And many a time my hearts been wae, Woeful.
Poor tenant bodies short of cash,
How they must bear the factor’s gnash.
He’ll stamp and threaten, curse and swear,
Apprehend them, impound their gear;
While they must stand with aspect humble,
And hear it all, and fear and tremble.
I see how folk live who have riches,
But surely poor folk must be wretches.
They’re not so wretched as you would think,
Though constantly on poverty’s brink;
They’re so accustomed to the sight,
They view it all with little fright,
Then chance and fortune are so guided,
They are for more or less provided,
And though fatigued with hard employment,
The Day of Rest’s a sweet enjoyment. Sundays.
The dearest comfort of their lives,
Their thriving bairns and faithful wives, Children
The prattling things are just their pride,
That sweetens all their fireside,
And while twelvepennyworth of nappy Ale.
Can make them all so gay and happy,
They’ll talk of patronage and priests
With rising fury in their breasts,
Or talk of what taxation’s coming,
And wonder at the folk in London. Government.
As bleak-faced Hallowmass comes round,
You hear the jovial singing sound,
When rural life of every station,
Unite in common recreation;
Sly winks and wit, and social mirth,
Forgets there’s Care upon the earth.
That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty winds;
The ale flows o’er in creamy foam,
Warming all the hearts within the home;
The pipe and snuff are handed round;
Goodwill and cheer to all abound.
The old folks having a great carouse,
The young ones scampering through the house;
My heart has been so glad to see them,
That I for joy have barked with them.
Still it’s true what you have said;
Great tragedies are often played;
There’s many a credible stock
Of decent, honest, sore pressed folk,
Are torn out by both root and branch,
Some rascal’s prideful greed to quench,
Who seeks to ingratiate the faster,
In favour with some gentle master,
Who is away at Parliamenting,
For Britain’s good his soul indenting.
Forsooth my lad, you little know it,
For Britain’s good? I’ll always doubt it;
Say rather go as premiers lead him,
Say aye or no just as they bid him;
At operas and plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;
Or maybe, as his tenants pay,
To Hague and Calais make his way,
To make the tour and take a whirl,
Learn the fashion, see the world.
There at Vienna or Versailles,
He spends his father’s old entails; Inheritance.
And in Madrid abroad most nights,
He strums guitars, he sees bullfights;
Or down Italian vista startles,
Whore-hunting among the groves of myrtles;
Then sipping spa Germanic waters
To make himself look fair and fatter,
To clear the consequential sorrows,
Love gifts of carnival signoras.
For Britain’s good? For her destruction,
With dissipation, feud, and faction.
Good gracious me, is that the way
They waste their fortunes while we may
Standing cowering and harassed,
And go along that way at last;
If they would stay away from courts,
Enjoy themselves with country sports,
It would for everyone be better,
The laird, the tenant and the cotter.
For they are frank, warm-hearted billies,
And none of them ill-mannered fellows;
Except for felling of their woodland,
And speaking slightenly of woman,
Or shooting of a hare or moor-cock,
They’re not so bad or ill to poor folk.
But will you tell me, Master Caesar,
The great folk’s life a life of pleasure?
The cold or hunger can ne’er come near them,
The thoughts of it need never fear them?
Poor Luath, just suppose a change of places,
You’d never envy them their graces.
It’s true they need not starve or sweat,
Though winter’s cold or summer’s heat;
They’ve no hard work to craze their bones,
And fill old age with grips and groans;
But human beings are such fools,
For all their colleges and schools,
That when no real ills do perplex them,
They imagine just enough to vex them.
A country fellow at his plough,
His acres tilled by sweat of brow;
A country lassie at her wheel, Spinning.
Her dozens done, she feels so well.
Ladies and gents come off the worst,
When want of work their days are cursed.
They loiter, lounging, lank and lazy,
The Devil makes them feel uneasy;
Their days insipid, dull and tasteless;
And even their sports, their balls and races,
Their galloping through public places,
There’s such parade, such pomp and art,
That joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men wear out in sporting matches,
Then dabble away in deep debauches;
At night they’re mad with drink and whoring,
Next day their life is past enduring.
The ladies arm in arm in clusters,
Are sweet and gracious, all as sisters;
But hear their thoughts of one that’s absent,
No witch could utter thoughts so transcend.
While over their steaming cups of tea
Their slanderous tongues wag overfree.
Or through all night with weary looks,
Pore over the Devil’s picture books;
Stake on a chance a farmer’s stackyard,
And cheat like any unhung backyard.
There’s some exception, man and woman,
But this is gentry’s life in common.
By now the sun was out of sight,
And darker gloaming brought the night.
The beetles flew with lazy drone;
The cows stood lowing in the lane;
When up they got and shook their lugs,
Rejoiced they were not men but dogs,
And each took off his several way,
Resolved to meet some other day.