Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Today marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of Savannah, Georgia's sentimental gentleman, Johnny Mercer. A search on this site will provide you with many in-depth links to the man and his music. As expected, Power Line's eye on the cultural pulse of the American experience, Scott Johnson, has a notable assessment of the man here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gram Parsons: The Star Of Cosmic American Music

The singer-songwriter, Gram Parsons, would have turned 68 today. In his brief life he sought the fusion of rock and country into what he called Cosmic American Music. His death came long before he was acknowledged as one of America's most influential innovators in the world of popular music. Most authorities credit him with founding the country rock genre. He leaves behind a wonderful legacy of sound through his membership in three bands, the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers; his solo work, and a legendary association with Emmylou Harris.

Parsons in 1972

Parsons passed away in 1973 with hardly a decade of musical composition and performance behind him. Though his life was short, his influence on music was profound. Here are the Byrds performing his song, "One Hundred Years From Now," on their groundbreaking album - and Parsons's concept - Sweetheart of the Rodeo:

And here he is as lead vocal on "Hickory Wind," another of his compositions - this one with Bob Buchanan - recorded for the same album:

With his passing, one of American music's greatest innovators was stilled, but others, especially Emmylou Harris, would use his inventions and adapt them over the next forty years into the country rock music we know today.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints Day 2014

Allerheilegen (All Saints Day)                                                      Johann Koenig, 1599

On All Saints Day, Christians remember the faithful who have passed on to the glorious company of the saints in light. It has been observed since the 4th century after Christ and remains a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church. Over time, the original purpose of All Saints Day changed and, by the Middle Ages, "saints became the objects of prayers and petitions for merit before God." Seeing Christ "as the only source of forgiveness, [Martin Luther] cleansed the church of this abuse of the saints" but retained the holy day in the church calendar. He made his statement by nailing his 95 theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, ensuring that they would be seen by crowds of worshipers the following day. Today, the celebration of the beginning of the Reformation on October 31 sometimes overshadows All Saints Day in the Lutheran Church, but the days are often celebrated concurrently during Sunday worship.

Here is a prayer for today:

Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one Holy church, the body of Christ our Lord. Grant us grace to follow the example of your blessed saints in lives of faith and willing service and with them at last inherit the inexpressible joys that you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ our Lord...

And here is William Walsham How's hymn,"For All the Saints," sung to Ralph Vaughan Williams's beloved setting, Sine Nomine.

Another popular piece of music for the day is Johann Sebastian Bach's cantata, Wachet auf, ruft uns de Stimme, BWV 140, also known as Sleepers Awake. The most familiar parts of this composition include the chorale beginning at 14:39 and the chorus at 26:39. 

The Youtube post provides this translation:

I. (Chorus)

Wake ye maids! hard, strikes the hour,
The watchman calls high on the tower,
Awake, awake, Jerusalem.
Midnight strikes, hear, hear it sounding,
Loud cries the watch, with call resounding:
Where are ye, o wise virgins, where?
Good cheer, the Bridegroom come,
Arise and take your lamps!
Ye maids beware:
The feast prepare,
So go ye forth to meet Him there.

II. Recitative:

He comes.
The Bridegroom comes!
And Zion's daughter shall rejoice,
He hastens to her dwelling claiming
The maiden of his choice.
The Bridegroom comes; as is a roebuck,
Yea, like a lusty mountain roebuck,
Fleet and fair,
His marriage feast he bids you share.
Arise and take your lamps!
In eagerness to greet him;
Come! hasten, sally forth to meet him.

III. Aria (Duet)

[Soul] Come quickly, now come.
[Jesus] Yea quickly I come.
[Soul] We wait thee with lamps all alighted!
The doors open wide,
Come claim me my bride!
[Jesus] The doors open wide,
I claim me my bride.
[Soul] Come quickly!
[Jesus] Forever in rapture united

IV. Chorale

Zion hears the watchmen calling,
The Faithful hark with joy enthralling,
They rise and haste to greet their Lord.
See, He comes, the Lord victorious,
Almighty, noble, true and glorious,
In Heav'n supreme, on earth adored.
Come now, Thou Holy One,
The Lord Jehovah's Son!
We follow all
The joyful call
To join Him in the Banquet Hall!

V. Recitative

So come thou unto me,
My fair and chosen bride,
Thou whom I long to see
Forever by my side.
Within my heart of hearts
Art thou secure by ties that naught can sever,
Where I may cherish thee forever.
Forget, beloved, ev'ry care,
Away with pain and grief and sadness,
For better or for worse to share
Our lives in love and joy and gladness.

VI. Aria (Duet)

[Soul] Thy love is mine,
[Jesus] And I am thine!
[Both] True lovers ne'er are parted.
[Soul] Now I with thee, and thou with me.
[Jesus] In flow'ry field will wander,
[Both] In rapture united forever to be.

VII. Chorale

Gloria sing all our voices,
With Angels all mankind rejoices,
With harp and strings in sweetest tone.
Twelve bright Pearls adorn Thy Portals,
As Angels round Thy glorious Throne.
No ear has ever heard
The joy we know.
Our praises flow,
Eeo, eeo,
To God in dulci jubilo.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Reformation Day 2014

 Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, Mequon, WI      

Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses on the door of All Saints Church in Wittenburg, Germany on this day in 1517. He could no longer tolerate the Catholic practice of collecting indulgences from sinners seeking salvation. Today, Protestants commemorate this event every October 31 as Reformation Day.

Johann Sebastian Bach, the musical voice of the Reformation in the Baroque period, wrote the following cantata for Reformation Day 1725:

1. Chorus

God the Lord is sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and honor, He will allow no good to be lacking from the righteous.

2. Aria A

God is our sun and shield!
Therefore this goodness
shall be praised by our grateful heart,
which He protects like His little flock.
For He will protect us from now on,
although the enemy sharpens his arrows
and a vicious hound already barks.

3. Chorale

Now let everyone thank God
with hearts, mouths, and hands,
Who does great things
for us and to all ends,
Who has done for us from our mother's wombs
and childhood on
many uncountable good things
and does so still today.

4. Recitative B

Praise God, we know
the right way to blessedness;
for, Jesus, You have revealed it to us through Your word,
therefore Your name shall be praised for all time.
Since, however, many yet
at this time
must labor under a foreign yoke
out of blindness,
ah! then have mercy
also on them graciously,
so that they recognize the right way
and simply call You their Intercessor.

5. Aria (Duet) S B

God, ah God, abandon Your own ones
never again!
Let Your word shine brightly for us;
although harshly
against us the enemy rages,
yet our mouths shall praise You.

6. Chorale

Uphold us in the truth,
grant eternal freedom,
to praise Your name
through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thanks be to God!


Photo, Conrad Schmitt Studios, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Bach translation, emmanuelmusic,org

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Countdown - Day 1

It is the end of the countdown. It is time for the scariest of the scary. For the sounds, words, images that get within our persons and crawl around awhile until they enter our consciousness once more and  leave us pondering about the what and where , the who  and how of the shaded day we are about to enter.

Our music:

The words:

The Hollow Men

T.S. Eliot

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer --

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow

Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

The visual:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

William Kapell: Another Day The Music Died

In the mid-point of the 20th century the United States was still waiting for its very own native world-class pianist. The most likely candidate was William Kapell, a New Yorker in his early twenties who had already reached such maturity at the keyboard even Vladimir Horowitz said he could teach him nothing. Kapell was in great demand for international performances by 1953. On October 29 that year he was on return from his spectacular Australia tour when all hopes for greatness were lost. His airliner clipped the cloud-covered summit of Kings Mountain on approach to San Francisco. The crash killed Kapell, ten additional passengers and a crew of eight. His widow, Anna Lou Dehavenon, worked to keep his name and recorded performances  before the public but her efforts were limited until the 1980's and renewed interest in Kapell's genius.

Kapell in 1948

In 1986, the University of Maryland became the home of the quadrennial Kapell International Piano Competition and Festival. Over the next fifteen years, old recordings returned, his complete authorized catalog appeared, and newly discovered recordings of his concerts in Australia made days before his death were issued. For a tantalizing sense of his abilities, here is a legendary recording made in 1945 when he was twenty-two years old:

Even if you know little about the classical piano, as I assuredly do, you'll come away from hearing his performance with the understanding that you just heard a very special genius. His performance ended in 1953 but his music really never died.it remains an inspiration to a generation of new students, one of whom may become "the pianist of the century." 

Halloween Countdown - Day 2

In 1946, Jean Cocteau directed a version of the French fairy tale, La Belle et La Bete (The Beauty and the Beast). For film buffs, it's an innovative production. For audiences, both children and adults, it's a compelling, visual dream feast filled with suspense and surprise. Although the story has nothing to do with Halloween this scene is one of many that captures the magic of the season quite well.

Granted this is a long poem but it is Robert Burns's wonderful description of the Halloween traditions of Scotland. Here is the introduction in the poet's own words:

The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; butfor the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions ofthe country where the scene is cast, notes are added to give some account ofthe principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to thepeasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makesa striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in allages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, ifany such honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among themore unenlightened in our own.  R.B. 1785

[Notes appear after the poem. Some readers may find them more helpful if read before the poem.] 

Halloween (1)

Upon that night, when fairies light 
On Cassilis Downans (2) dance, 
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze, 
On sprightly coursers prance; 
Or for Colean the rout is ta'en, 
Beneath the moon's pale beams; 
There, up the Cove, (3) to stray an' rove, 
Amang the rocks and streams 
To sport that night; 

Amang the bonie winding banks, 
Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear; 
Where Bruce (4) ance rul'd the martial ranks, 
An' shook his Carrick spear; 
Some merry, friendly, countra-folks 
Together did convene, 
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks, 
An' haud their Halloween 
Fu' blythe that night. 

The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat, 
Mair braw than when they're fine; 
Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe, 
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin': 
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs
Weel-knotted on their garten; 
Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs 
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin 
Whiles fast at night. 

Then, first an' foremost, thro' the kail, 
Their stocks (5) maun a' be sought ance; 

They steek their een, and grape an' wale
For muckle anes, an' straught anes. 
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift, 
An' wandered thro' the bow-kail, 
An' pou't for want o' better shift 
A runt was like a sow-tail 
Sae bow't that night. 

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane, 
They roar an' cry a' throu'ther; 
The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin, 
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther: 
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour, 
Wi' joctelegs they taste them; 
Syne coziely, aboon the door, 
Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them 
To lie that night. 

The lassies staw frae 'mang them a', 
To pou their stalks o' corn; (6) 
But Rab slips out, an' jinks about, 
Behint the muckle thorn: 
He grippit Nelly hard and fast: 
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses; 
But her tap-pickle maist was lost, 
Whan kiutlin in the fause-house (7)
Wi' him that night. 

The auld guid-wife's weel-hoordit nits (8)
Are round an' round dividend, 
An' mony lads an' lasses' fates 
Are there that night decided: 
Some kindle couthie side by side, 
And burn thegither trimly; 
Some start awa wi' saucy pride, 
An' jump out owre the chimlie 
Fu' high that night. 

Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e; 
Wha 'twas, she wadna tell; 
But this is Jock, an' this is me, 
She says in to hersel': 
He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him, 
As they wad never mair part: 
Till fuff! he started up the lum, 
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart 
To see't that night. 

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt, 
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie; 
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt, 
To be compar'd to Willie: 
Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling, 
An' her ain fit, it brunt it; 
While Willie lap, and swore by jing, 
'Twas just the way he wanted 
To be that night. 

Nell had the fause-house in her min', 
She pits hersel an' Rob in; 
In loving bleeze they sweetly join, 
Till white in ase they're sobbin: 
Nell's heart was dancin at the view; 
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't: 
Rob, stownlins, prie'd her bonie mou', 
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't, 
Unseen that night. 

But Merran sat behint their backs, 
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell: 
She lea'es them gashin at their cracks, 
An' slips out-by hersel'; 
She thro' the yard the nearest taks, 
An' for the kiln she goes then, 
An' darklins grapit for the bauks, 
And in the blue-clue (9) throws then, 
Right fear't that night. 

An' ay she win't, an' ay she swat- 
I wat she made nae jaukin; 
Till something held within the pat, 
Good Lord! but she was quaukin! 
But whether 'twas the deil himsel, 
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en', 
Or whether it was Andrew Bell, 
She did na wait on talkin 
To spier that night. 

Wee Jenny to her graunie says, 
"Will ye go wi' me, graunie? 
I'll eat the apple at the glass, (10)
I gat frae uncle Johnie:" 
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt, 
In wrath she was sae vap'rin, 
She notic't na an aizle brunt
Her braw, new, worset apron 
Out thro' that night. 

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face! 
I daur you try sic sportin, 
As seek the foul thief ony place, 
For him to spae your fortune: 
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight! 
Great cause ye hae to fear it; 
For mony a ane has gotten a fright, 
An' liv'd an' died deleerit, 
On sic a night. 

"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor, 
I mind't as weel's yestreen- 
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure 
I was na past fyfteen: 
The simmer had been cauld an' wat, 
An' stuff was unco green; 
An' eye a rantin kirn we gat, 
An' just on Halloween 
It fell that night. 

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen, 
A clever, sturdy fallow; 
His sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean, 
That lived in Achmacalla: 
He gat hemp-seed, (11) I mind it weel, 
An'he made unco light o't; 
But mony a day was by himsel', 
He was sae sairly frighted 
That vera night." 

Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck, 
An' he swoor by his conscience, 
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck; 
For it was a' but nonsense: 
The auld guidman raught down the pock, 
An' out a handfu' gied him; 
Syne bad him slip frae' mang the folk, 
Sometime when nae ane see'd him, 
An' try't that night. 

He marches thro' amang the stacks, 
Tho' he was something sturtin; 
The graip he for a harrow taks, 
An' haurls at his curpin: 
And ev'ry now an' then, he says, 
"Hemp-seed I saw thee, 
An' her that is to be my lass 
Come after me, an' draw thee 
As fast this night." 

He wistl'd up Lord Lennox' March 
To keep his courage cherry; 
Altho' his hair began to arch, 
He was sae fley'd an' eerie: 
Till presently he hears a squeak, 
An' then a grane an' gruntle; 
He by his shouther gae a keek, 
An' tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night. 

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout, 
In dreadfu' desperation! 
An' young an' auld come rinnin out, 
An' hear the sad narration: 
He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw, 
Or crouchie Merran Humphie- 
Till stop! she trotted thro' them a'; 
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night! 

Meg fain wad to the barn gaen, 
To winn three wechts o' naething; (12)
But for to meet the deil her lane, 
She pat but little faith in: 

She gies the herd a pickle nits, 
An' twa red cheekit apples, 
To watch, while for the barn she sets, 
In hopes to see Tam Kipples 
That vera night. 

She turns the key wi' cannie thraw, 
An'owre the threshold ventures; 
But first on Sawnie gies a ca', 
Syne baudly in she enters: 
A ratton rattl'd up the wa', 
An' she cry'd Lord preserve her! 
An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a', 
An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour, 
Fu' fast that night. 

They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice; 
They hecht him some fine braw ane; 
It chanc'd the stack he faddom't thrice (13)
Was timmer-propt for thrawin: 
He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak 
For some black, grousome carlin; 
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke, 
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin 
Aff's nieves that night. 

A wanton widow Leezie was, 
As cantie as a kittlen; 
But och! that night, amang the shaws, 
She gat a fearfu' settlin! 
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn, 
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin; 
Whare three lairds' lan's met at a burn, (14)
To dip her left sark-sleeve in, 
Was bent that night. 

Whiles owre a linn the burnie plays, 
As thro' the glen it wimpl't; 
Whiles round a rocky scar it strays, 
Whiles in a wiel it dimpl't; 
Whiles glitter'd to the nightly rays, 
Wi' bickerin', dancin' dazzle; 
Whiles cookit undeneath the braes, 
Below the spreading hazel 
Unseen that night. 

Amang the brachens, on the brae, 
Between her an' the moon, 
The deil, or else an outler quey, 
Gat up an' ga'e a croon: 
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool; 
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit, 
But mist a fit, an' in the pool 
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit, 
Wi' a plunge that night. 

In order, on the clean hearth-stane, 
The luggies (15) three are ranged; 
An' ev'ry time great care is ta'en 
To see them duly changed: 
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys 
Sin' Mar's-year did desire, 
Because he gat the toom dish thrice, 
He heav'd them on the fire 
In wrath that night. 

Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks, 
I wat they did na weary; 
And unco tales, an' funnie jokes- 
Their sports were cheap an' cheery: 
Till butter'd sowens, (16) wi' fragrant lunt, 
Set a' their gabs a-steerin; 
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt, 
They parted aff careerin 
Fu' blythe that night.

[Footnote 1: Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other
mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands;
particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold
a grand anniversary,.-R.B.]
[Footnote 2: Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the
neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-R.B.]
[Footnote 3: A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean;
which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a
favorite haunt of fairies.-R.B.]
[Footnote 4: The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the
great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-R.B.]
[Footnote 5: The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a "stock," or
plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the
first they meet with: its being big or little, straight or crooked, is
prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the
husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root, that is "tocher,"
or fortune; and the taste of the "custock," that is, the heart of the stem, is
indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to
give them their ordinary appellation, the "runts," are placed somewhere above
the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings
into the house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts," the
names in question.-R. B.]
[Footnote 6: They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at three different times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid.-R.B.]
[Footnote 7: When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet,
the stack-builder, by means of old timber, etc., makes a large apartment in
his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind:
this he calls a "fause-house."-R.B.][Footnote 8: Burning the nuts is a favorite charm. They name the lad and lass
to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and according as they
burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue
of the courtship will be.-R.B.]
[Footnote 9: Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly
observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling,
throw into the "pot" a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old
one; and, toward the latter end, something will hold the thread: demand, "Wha
hauds?" i.e., who holds? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by
naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse.-R.B.]
[Footnote 10: Take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple
before it, and some traditions say you should comb your hair all the time; the
face of your conjungal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if
peeping over your shoulder.-R.B.]
[Footnote 11: Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed,
harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and
then: "Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is
to be my true love, come after me and pou thee." Look over your left shoulder,
and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of
pulling hemp. Some traditions say, "Come after me and shaw thee," that is,
show thyself; in which case, it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and
say: "Come after me and harrow thee."-R.B.]
[Footnote 12: This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger that the being about to appear may shut the doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which in our country dialect we call a "wecht," and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times, and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door and out at the other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the employment or station in life.-R.B.]
[Footnote 13: Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a "bear-stack," and fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.-R.B.]
[Footnote 14: You go out, one or more (for this is a social spell), to a south running spring, or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to dry. Lie awake, and, some time near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.-R.B.]
[Footnote 15: Take three dishes, put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty; blindfold a person and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by chance in the clean water, the future (husband or) wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three
times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.-R.B.]
[Footnote 16: Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the Halloween Supper.-R.B.]

Our postcard for the day comes from the Ullman Manufacturing Company. The card is described as an American Colorgravure Post Card, Hallowe'en Series 182, Subject 2759.  There is no copyright date; however, it bears a 1911 postmark.  Obviously this card suffers from poor registration but, given the subject, a blurred image almost adds somewhat to the effect.


The Burns poem, footnotes, and introduction were taken from robertburns.org.