A Poem For Saturday


"The Fornicator" by Robert Burns:

Ye jovial boys, who love the joys,
The blissful joys of lovers,
And dare avow wi’ dauntless brow,
Whate’er the lass discovers;
I pray draw near, and you shall hear,
And welcome in a frater,
I’ve lately been in quarantine,
A proven fornicator.

Continued here. Pauline Gray fills us in on the inspiration for the 1784 poem:

It is widely believed that Robert Burns first came under the censure of the church in 17841785 owing to his affair with a servant girl Elizabeth Paton.  … 'The Fornicator' is a defiant and unashamed assertion of Burns's belief that sex conquers all. And so, Burns's declaration that he is indeed a 'Fornicator' becomes a defiant affirmation of his sexuality as opposed to a label of debauchery and impiety.

(Photo from Joseph Gerhard’s series Unmade Beds, via Judy Berman. Gerhard writes on his website that "There is an intimacy to an unmade bed that makes a photograph … both immediately familiar and vaguely transgressive.")