At Hame wi Charles Murray

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At home with Charles Murray

Charles Murray (1864-1941), born and brought up in Alford on Donside, was the most well known Scots poet of the first half of the last century. He wrote in a lively and bold form of Scots drawn from the language of his own Donside. His first collection, Hamewith, was so popular that he came to be known as “Hamewith” himself. It wasn’t only in the North East but wherever the Lowland tongue was used, in and outwith Scotland, everyone young and old learned “The Whistle”, “It Wasna his Wyte” and “There’s Aye a Something”.

So effective is his grasp of the cadences of the local dialect it may be assumed that Murray’s poems are meant for reading aloud. They present to us a picture of life in the country districts Murray knew when he was a boy – the hills and fields, the people and their activities and entertainments and, above all, their language.

The Charles Murray Memorial Fund has recently released two new Murray “publications” – one a CD of recitations which has been compiled by Gordon Hay, the other a new edition of poems entitled, Hamewith – Charles Murray: the collected poems, edited by Colin Milton, Associate Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen.

The CD costs £12. You can buy it from Gordon Hay by calling him on 01779476351 or by e-mailing him at ghay@stewartwatson.co.uk

Report from Colin Milton