Kettillonia is delighted and honoured to publish a small selection from the work of the late Andrew Tannahill, poet, translator and friend of some of the leading figures of the Scottish Renaissance, including Hugh MacDiarmid, J.D. Fergusson, Hamish Henderson and Douglas Young.
Tannahill, descended from the family of the Paisley weaver poet Robert Tannahill, was heir to both a radical political tradition and a rich literary one. Of his extensive poetic output, the bulk was written in Scots, a language in which he was steeped. MacDiarmid wrote to him, 'I have no fault to find with the Scots, you are a master of it, and I only wish you'd write more in it.'
Tannahill did just that. His work includes a complete translation of Baudelaire's Fleurs du Mal and versions from the work of many other European poets. Alongside his own political verse, satirical songs and squibs, and reflections on love, loss and old age, the present selection includes examples of his translations from Baudelaire, Ronsard and Shakespeare. There is also an introductory biographical essay on Tannahill by Alan Riach, Professor of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow.
To honour her father's memory, Dr Mabel Tannahill has generously established the Andrew Tannahill Fund for the Furtherance of Scottish Literature at the University of Glasgow. All profits from the sale of this pamphlet will be donated to the fund.
Sonnet Pour Helene
Translated from the French of Pierre de Ronsard
When you're gey auld, and sit at gloaminfa'
By caunel licht fornent the ingle's gleid
Singin my sangs, you'll say, thrang wi the threid,
Ronsard loed me langsyne when I was braw;
The servant lassie, hearkenin to your saw,
Noddin ower needle, wi the darg hauf-deid,
At my name's sough sall heis a waukrife heid
To bless her that the makar waled ower a'.
Aneath the grun I'll ligg, a ghaist but bane,
In mirk o myrtles sleepin a' my lane.
You'll coory, chitterin carlin, ower the bleeze,
Vexed for the love you lichtlyit and your scorn.
Live now! I tell you! Dinna bide the morn!
Rax oot and pu' life's rose afore it dees.