Friday, December 16, 2016

Holly-jolly book cover:
"The Cotter's Saturday Night"

  • Title: The Cotter's Saturday Night
  • Author: Robert Burns (1759-1796)
  • Cover artist: Possibly F.A. Chapman, who did the interior illustrations
  • Publisher: The John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia
  • Cover measurements: 6½ inches by 8 inches
  • Date of publication: 1872
  • Pages: 68
  • Format: Hardcover
  • About the author: Burns was a poet and lyricist who was widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland. According to Wikipedia, "he is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism." The first country to put him on a postage stamp was the Soviet Union, in 1956.
  • What's a cotter? A peasant who performs labor in exchange for the right to live in a cottage.
  • Is this book valuable? It's a lovely book, but no. There are multiple copies of this specific edition selling online for less than $10.
  • Is it about Christmas? No, despite the festive cover. But one Amazon reviewer wrote this in 2013: "The Cotter's Saturday Night is a tremendous compass pointing to exactly what the modern family needs: weekly downtime taken together to rest, reflect and be with each other. This really makes me desire these things from the days long gone, reminding me of Christmas at my grandparents!" I think we can all agree with that sentiment.
  • Excerpt #1: "The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes, This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend."
  • Excerpt #2: "At length his lonely cot appears in view, Beneath the shelter of an aged tree; Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through To meet their dad, wi' flichterin noise an' glee."
  • Excerpt #3: "Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved Isle."

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