Globe 23 Jul 1929 page 13
Burns’ praises are sung and monument decorated: More widely known and read than any other poet, declares literary society president – anniversary of death marked.
The immortal genius of Robert Burns was again demonstrated yesterday when, more than a century after his death and thousands of miles away from his native Ayrshire, the songs and poems of this plowman poet enkindled the hearts and imagination of some 500 people gathered in Allen Gardens.
There is a saying that a man cannot be called famous until he has been dead 100 years, said Gordon C Campbell, President of the Burns Literary Society, in addressing the gathering. “Robert Burns has been dead 133 years. He has stood the test of time and today he is more widely known and read than any other poet.”
The occasion of the gathering was the annual decoration of the monument to Robert Burns in Allen Gardens by officials of the Burns Literary Society, which ceremony for years has recalled the anniversary of the death of the poet in 1796. The wreath was placed upon the monument yesterday by Mr Cameron in the presence of a large group, including members of the society and visitors.
After placing the wreath the gathering went to the shade of one of the large, leafy trees. Here, in surroundings that Burns himself might have sung, with nature in her fullest raiment, the great poet was remembered in songs, poems and speeches.
The addresses were varied by musical selections, George Neale singing the “Star of Rabbie Burns,” Jessie Davidson “Coming through the rye,” and two artists giving a duet, “Ye banks and braes.”
Duncan MacNeill, a Past President, introduced John McLaverty, whose talk on Burns mainly centred on his poem, “the twa dogs.” By introducing the two dogs into poetry, said Mr McLaverty, Burns had broken the rules of literature, but he had left the dogs real dogs, expressing at the same time the heart of the poet. He had tried, through this poem, to bring before the reader’s mind that, although there were rich and poor, the time was coming when man to man the world o’er would brothers be. Burns, he said, wanted to tell of the sorrows and joys of his own people. “He sings the sentiments of himself and his compeers in his and their native language.”
Phineas McIntosh, in the following address, also emphasized the human note so strong in the poet’s life and works: “Like a golden thread running through the warp and woof of his works is the ideal of the brotherhood of man,” said Mr McIntosh. He referred to the kindly helpfulness and sympathy, one for another, depicted by Burns in the Cottar’s Saturday night. It sometimes irked to see the very opposite side of this disposition shown in certain phase of Canada’s life, as, for instance, the snobbish distinction of men according to their occupations. The differences of position, race, religion in this country made the more imperative the example of those worthy folk at the cottar’s fireside, “and each other for the other kindly speir.”