The following is my translation of the Selkirk Grace:
“Some Folks have meat and cannot eat, and some have meat that want it;
But we have meat and we can eat, and so the Lord be thankit!”
Many other forms exist, from the picturesque Scots to Gaelic.
The Grace has long been attributed to Robert Burns, the Scottish herald of the Romantic movement. Burns was a popular guest among the nobility, who were charmed by his command of the rustic tongue and his ability to entertain with stories and song.
He was a guest at the Earl of Selkirk’s country seat in the Isle of St. Mary’s, when he paid this tribute, off the cuff as it were, before dining at Lord Daer’s table, son of the 4th Earl.
There is some dispute about the authorship of the prayer. One Robert Chambers*, relying upon an unnamed correspondent, alleges the Grace was said by Covenanters in the south-west of Scotland in the seventeenth century, where it was apparently known as the Galloway Grace.
Doubtful it would be remembered today had it not been taken up by the Ploughman’s Poet.
“I didn’t understand a word of that!”
*see Select Writings of Robert Chambers, Volume VII, (1847)