Burns' Night Reply to Toast to the Guests

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Ladies and Gentlemen

It might seem a little audacious to use words to express our thanks. After all, we have been privileged to listen to some truly memorable words tonight. The spirit of the Scottish Bard must surely be busy. For here and in many towns around the world it must warm his heart to hear his words spoken with so much warmth, eloquence and love.

To be guests at such an evening is a memorable experience. Yes, we had a sense of expectation. It is always good to get an invitation. There is a sense of excitement and anticipation. We can never, though, really appreciate what it is to be here in such an atmosphere, until we are actually here.

What a night it has been the food so lovingly prepared, the haggis so well stuffed and split open, the toasts and those beautiful words. Really Burns was a great, colourful character. He wrote so many things that sometimes it is difficult to know your own particular favourite.

As a guest tonight I feel privileged to have heard his words spoken so well. They are as true as the day they were written. His lyrical lines clearly are immortal. They come to us and stay inside us invoking feelings of real joy, love and compassion. Those same feelings come to life in us as we recognise them. This is what makes our experience universal. To be able to celebrate a writer and a poet who can capture this universal experience is a wonderful thing.

To be here tonight in such company is a great honour. To be a guest is always a thrill. Yet seldom are the stakes or the expectations higher. This night is unique in the entire world. To be present is to have a real sense of feeling and of occasion. Let’s face it there are not many nights in a year where one can legitimately drink whiskey and listen to poetry and know that one without the other would be incomplete.

We guests must say the same for the company tonight. For without each other exactly as we are, would be to feel incomplete. Tonight we connect with all banquets ever held where wit, poetry, feasting and eloquence go hand in hand. We are glad of it and we are happier for it. We thank you all who have gone to so much trouble that we may feel so at home, relaxed and welcome. We offer you, our hosts, our deep thanks and we hope, if my thanks have been gracious enough, that a year from now we shall be celebrating Robbie’s special night together again.

If you liked our sample speech, see more Burns' Night speeches here



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