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The Selkirk Grace
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by Robert Burns (1794)
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Some hae meat and canna eat,
   And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
   Sae let the Lord be thankit.


This is the grace traditionally said at Burns Suppers, the annual gatherings celebrating Robert Burns and his poetry held around the time of his birthday in late January. A version of it was known in the 17th century as the Galloway Grace or the Covenanters’ Grace, well before Burns wrote it down. In 1794, Burns was asked to say grace at a dinner hosted by the Earl of Selkirk at the family home on St. Mary’s Isle, Kirkcudbright, in Galloway—he recited this old Scots-dialect quatrain, and since then it has been called the Selkirk Grace.


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