Document 697

The Buik o Ruth: 10 - Sermon at the Kirk o the Greyfriars 1974

Author(s): A S Borrowman

Copyright holder(s): Mrs Lorna F Borrowman


16 October, 1974

To mark the Bicentenary of the death of Robert Fergusson.

Dugald Fergusson gied us a lament, in sooth, a lament for a makar. My preachin has twa heids. The firsten in remembrance o Robert Fergusson the makar, wha deid twa hunder yeir sinsyne in the schells in the Embro Bedlam.

Fergusson's life wasna lang, for he deid at the age o twinty-fower; a short life, albuist wi lustheid, wi its ain ploys, wi footh o aunters in brugh and kintrasid whilk, whiles, we dinna mind, thinkin anerlie o the dule, wanhap and wanhope whilk rinkit his daith.

And a dolefu daith it was, liggan on the strae, in a chaumer o puirtith and cauld, in a biggan hecht a seek-hoose, mair richtly hecht a jile.

Whan I mind o Robert Fergusson I mind als yon poem o Sorley MacLean's, translatit intil Lallans by the umquhile Regent and makar Douglas Young;

My een are nae on Calvary
or the Bethlehem they praise,
but on shitten back lands in Glesca toun
whaur growan life decays
and a stairheid room in a Embro land,
a chalmer o puirtith and skaith
whaur monie a shilpet bairnikie
gaes smoorit doun til daith.

It's the chaumer o puirtith and skaith whilk gar me grue, for in siccan a chaumer Fergusson deid, and waesucks in our ain disjaskit warld, mairattowre our ain kintra fowk dee o puirtith and skaith.

Whan I mind o Fergusson I tak tent o his puirtith and wanchancy daith, aye, but I mind that Fergusson was a gleg and eident chiel; that he sang like a lintie (wasna he Sir Precentor o the Cape Club?), that he was a guid fier, but I mind abune aa, that he was a skeely makar; his banes ligg in the mools in the Canongait Kirkyaird, but his saul gaes stramplin on.

We leeve in a sair belbevart warld, a warld o alagust, begeek and malacord. Man mindsna his ain brither wha has God til his forebear, but minds raither himsel, ilk rnan for himsel, and the deil tak the hinmaist, whan he kens richt weel that ilk man for himsel and the deil taks the hail clanjamphrey!

Sae we maun seek social justice for aa men o aa thede, mindin aye we canna evite dule and pain and that naething is coontit ferture nar uphoug exceptin the malversion o the saul.

The pooer o Christianity liggsna in argle-bargle anent the ferlies o the faith; the remarkables o the vangell an siclike. That's an auld sang whilk nae dout satisfied our faithers and our forefowk but says gey little to the fowk o our ain days an eild.

The waas biggit lang syne are dung doun, the verra founds are shooken and man is left wantit a bield. For monie fowk jalouse life is a lang journey intil the nicht and intil the daurk. In sooth, its a lang journey. The langest journey a man taks is the journey intil himsel, a journey to find wha he is, fou he's here, and whaur he's gaun.

I canna gie ye onie cousie nor couthie answer. It's owre kittle.

The pooer o Christianity in this disjaskit and discomfist warld liggs shairly wi ane bydan and on gaun thocht o God the Faither, and men as brithers, aa deponit in the life o Jesus hecht the Christ. Men want nae bield but aunters vast o the ingine and o the speerit - a tulzie wi greenyoch, mushinfu and sleekit fowk. I sall nail it wi scripture, frae first John fower, and twinty.

"Gif a man threip, I loe God, but loesna his brither, he is a leear."

And frae John fifteen and twal.

"This is my mandment that ye loe ane anither."

Guid fowk, think on thae things.

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The Buik o Ruth: 10 - Sermon at the Kirk o the Greyfriars 1974. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

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Information about Document 697

The Buik o Ruth: 10 - Sermon at the Kirk o the Greyfriars 1974


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Typed
Year of composition 1974
Word count 640

Text medium

Other Sermon originally delivered orally to mark bicententary of the death of Robert Fergusson

Text publication details

Publisher Gordon Wright
Publication year 1979
Place of publication Edinburgh
ISBN/ISSN SBN 903065 30 4
Edition 1st
Part of larger text
Contained in The Buik o Ruth and ither wark in Lallans
Editor Author: Alex S. Borrowman
Page numbers 32-33

Text setting


Text type

Prepared text (e.g. lecture/talk, sermon, public address/speech)


Author details

Author id 755
Forenames A
Initials S
Surname Borrowman
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1910
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Parish Minister
Place of birth Stirling
Region of birth Stirling
Birthplace CSD dialect area Stlg
Country of birth Scotland
Father's occupation Shop assistant
Father's place of birth Stirling
Father's region of birth Stirling
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Stlg
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Dress maker
Mother's place of birth Dunblane
Mother's region of birth E & SE Perthshire
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Per
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes all circumstances
French Yes Yes Yes Yes
German Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes for literary purposes