When chapman billies leave the street...........

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When chapman billies leave the street...........

Post by SCameron » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:16 am

When chapman billies leave the street...........
Tam O Shanter and Meg after the Chase.jpg
My favourite pressie this Christmas was a book of the marvellous paintings and drawings done by Scottish figurative painter Alexander Goudie (1933-2004) to illustrate Robert Burns' world-renowned poem ('Gothic tale') Tam o' Shanter.

This is one one my favourite pictures from the collection showing Tam and his trusty grey mare Meg after they were chased by the witches,warlocks and Auld Nick (the Devil) himself and escaped by the skin of their teeth but not before the witch Nannie had pulled off poor Meg's tail just as they reached the keystone of the auld brig over the River Doon (and safety as their assailants couldn't 'cross the water' .

Of course Tam, in his inebriated state, had given away his presence by shouting 'Weel done Cutty Sark' as he watched the Devil's orgy in the auld kirk. The witch Nannie and Meg's tail feature again prominently in the figurehead of the restored Dumbarton-built tea clipper Cutty Sark. Apparently the original planned figurehead was significantly more risqué but it was toned down so as not to provoke Victorian sensitivities.

For those that may be unaware, a 'cutty sark' is neither a ship not a particular blend of the water of life (whisky). It is, in fact a somewhat low-cut and revealing, Scottish, ladies' under-

Tam o' Shanter also includes the lines (added in parenthesis by Burns

"Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a toon surpasses
For honest men and bonny lasses"

oft quoted by former Waverley purser Jim MacFadzean as the vessel returned to the Harbour of Ayr, one of Scotland's oldest ports after a wonderful day excursion on the beautiful Firth of Clyde

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Re: When chapman billies leave the street...........

Post by alasdairmac » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:36 am

A great picture indeed Stuart, as befits what has rightly been described as the finest narrative poem ever written in a dialect of the English language.

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