The Kiss by Roy Lichtenstein, 1990
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, and then forever! " ~ Ae Fond Kiss, Robert Burns (1759-1796)
The final letter that Robert Burns wrote to Nancy McLehose, with whom he had a brief affair, contained the famous song, Ae Fond Kiss. The poet penned it on December 27 1791, when MeLehose was about to depart for Jamaica to attempt a reconciliation with her husband, James. he song expresses Burns’s despair at the end of their relationship. They had first met four years earlier in Edinburgh when Burns was unmarried. The couple exchanged a series of love letters using the pseudonyms Sylvander and Clarinda. Written by Burns in Dumfries, the letter, now held by the National Library of Scotland, informs Nancy that he is sending her some recently composed songs.
Ae Fond Kiss
July 6 is International Kissing Day!
One of the many dances inspired by Robert Burns' poetry, this particular poem is three stanzas originally written in 1791 as a letter. The title itself suggests a love poem, and the dance takes its cue from this happy thought. But the poem itself speaks to the theme of the passion and hopelessness of love.
After the publication of his collected poems, the Kilmarnock volume, Burns regularly travelled and stayed at Edinburgh. While there he established a platonic relationship with Mrs. Agnes Maclehose and they began a regular correspondence using the pseudonyms 'Clarinda' and 'Sylvander'.
Burns wrote 'Ae fond kiss' after their final meeting and sent it to her on 27 December 1791 before she departed Edinburgh for Jamaica to be with her estranged husband.
The Scots song "Ae fond kiss and then we sever" is Burns' most recorded love song. For a heart-rending version of the song by Karen Matheson with Paul Brady, click The Betrothal of Robert Burns and Highland Mary, by James Archer, R.S.A. (1823-1904).