Transliterations 2: Rab Wilson and Robert Ayton's 'On the Marriage of Dear Carr to his Beloved Girl' ('Pro Nuptiis Cari et Carinae', c.1613)

Steven Reid , Principal Investigator, and Rab Wilson

This month's feature marks two big events relating to the project - the launch of our edition of Robert Ayton's Latin poetry in the Delitiae, and the project's participation in StAnza, Scotland's international poetry festival, where David will be presenting and where there will be a digital installation featuring images from the original Delitiae alongside literal translations and modern 'transliterations' of selected poems. 1

The following 'transliteration' is a reworking into Scots by Rab Wilson of one of Ayton's poems addressing the marriage of Frances Howard to Robert Carr, and the involvement of both of them in the murder of Howard's first husband, Thomas Overbury. The original Latin text and a literal translation can be found here, and full details of the 'Overbury affair' and another poem by Ayton on the subject ('Carina Caro') can be found by following the link in the poem.

Rab Wilson is an ex-miner. He left the pits following the 1984-85 strike to become a psychiatric nurse and, in his own words, 'is a poet wha screives maistly in Scots'. His publications include Omar Khayyam in Scots (2004), an 'owersettin' of the famous Persian epic. 1957 Flying Scot, a Sonnet Redoublé, with a suite of fifteen contemporary jazz compositions by Ben Bryden, was published by Roncadora in 2011. Ye're There Horace! was an art book based on the Roman satirist Horace made in conjunction with artist Hugh Bryden. Burnsiana is his collaboration with artist Calum Colvin featuring poems written in response to the work of Robert Burns.

This poem is also available as part of the 'St Andrews Digital Poetry Trail' here, where you can listen to Rab reading his version of the text. A QR code for the poem can also be found on the trail at St Leonard's College.

On the Marriage of dear Carr to his beloved girl
Eftir Robert Ayton

A wee pussiont 'pistle frae Ayton's gleg pen,
Gies Boabby Devereux a witherin blast,
Whilst handselin in Rab Carr's handfast
Tae Frances (doutin her chyce in men!).
Boabby it seems wis a Jenny Wullock,
Wha left Fanny's maukin fir years uncreeshed,
A larbar wha's pintle her dree decreed;
Tae dee lik Jenkin's Hen oan a hillock!
Fan's mairriage bed aye wis mair famine than feast,
Boabby - leistweys wi her! - wisnae randy,
(Ower mony gae-douns tae play houghmagandy!)
The torch o their mairriage nou dowsed, she's released!;
Dame Natuir it seems aye hains back her stibble,
Frae fairmers wantin the graith fir tae dibble!


1: See our 'News' item for 2 February 2015 for further details.