Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary

The Selkirk Grace

Scottish Prayer Attributed To Robert Burns

The Selkirk Grace is a Scottish Prayer commonly attributed to Robert Burns.

During the host's welcoming speech at a Burns supper (a celebration of the life and poetry of the poet Robert Burns) it is customary for the host to say a few words welcoming everyone to the supper and perhaps stating the reason for it.

When all the guests are seated a grace (a short prayer of thanks, usually said before or after a meal) is said, usually using the Selkirk Grace, a well-known thanksgiving that uses the Scots language.

Although attributed to Burns, the Selkirk Grace was already known in the 17th century as the "Galloway Grace" or the "Covenanters' Grace".

Although this grace was known for 80-100 years before it was attributed to Burns, it came to be called the Selkirk Grace because Burns was said to have delivered it at a dinner given by the Earl of Selkirk in 1794.

Inevitably, over the centuries, many similar variations have become known. Robert Burns actually used the more modern variation but the older variations, spoken in Lallans, are now by far the more popular at Burns Suppers, weddings and family gatherings.

Lallans (a variant of the Modern Scots word lawlands, meaning the lowlands of Scotland), is a term that was traditionally used to refer to the Scots language as a whole. However, more recent interpretations assume it refers to the dialects of south and central Scotland, while Doric, a term once used to refer to Scots dialects in general, is now generally seen to refer to the Mid Northern Scots dialects spoken in the north-east of Scotland.


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The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat an canna eat,
and some hae nain that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
So let the Lord be thankit.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

The Selkirk Grace

Some have meat but cannot eat,
some have none that want it;
But we have meat and we can eat,
So let the Lord be thanked.

The Selkirk Grace Prayer Video

The Selkirk Grace Prayer - Information Video
The Selkirk Grace
Plaque Mounted On The Wall Of The Rose Garden, Opposite Robert Burns's House And Museum In Dumfries


The Online Scots Dictionary Translate Scots To English.
Published in http://www.robertburns.org/suppers/itinerary.shtml
Dance information licensed under this Creative Commons Licence 3.0.
Text from this original Selkirk Grace article on Wikipedia.
Text from this original Lallans article on Wikipedia.
Image copyright (cropped) https://www.flickr.com/photos/summonedbyfells/ under this Creative Commons Licence 2.0.

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