Let kings and courtiers rise and fa’,

This world has mony turns

But brightly beams aboon them a’

The star o’ Rabbie Burns.

SURVIVING the test of time is something only greats can aspire to.

Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Dostoevsky and Dickens have all faired fairly well over the centuries.

And Yeats, Wilde, Austen and Tolstoy are highly unlikely to ever go out of print either.

But rising above them all when it comes to being rejoiced, recited and revelled-in is the Ploughmen Poet from Ayrshire.

It's fair to say... few can hold a candle to Scotland’s Bard.

Robert Burns is honoured and treasured not just in his native lands but in the furthest corners of this world of ours.

His songs are sung, his poems are performed, and his romanticism, socialism and equality continue to strike a chord with the latest generations.

And this unwavering popularity, while greatly indebted to the incredible canon bequeathed by Burns himself, is also down to the artists, associations and clubs who champion his genius and his cause.

On Friday evening, one such club sat down to supper for the 110th time.

Galashiels Burns Club has been honouring the Bard since 1908 – and going by the packed-out Volunteer Hall, there will still be speakers and musicians reminiscing, philosophising, singing and reciting for many more decades to come.

What foresight Burns had…

Braw, braw lads on Yarrow-braes,

They wander thro’ the blooming heather;

But Yarrow braes, nor Ettrick Shaws

Can match the lads o’ Galla Water.

President Alastair Christie led the patriotic plaudits to Scotland’s champion of the common man from the main stage.

And he assembled a fine cast of speakers, reciters, singers and musicians to join in him in providing a fitting tribute to the man and his work.

The honour of presiding over the historic gathering wasn’t lost on Mr Christie.

He said: “I am aware of the great honour bestowed upon me.

"I only have to look at the list of names who have gone before me.”

The packed gathering was certainly ‘thanket’ for the fine fare served up by The Auld Mill.

And it was with great enthusiasm they recited the Selkirk Grace and clapped on piper Billy Easson and Haggis Bearer Tom Cass.

Following a filling four-courses, it was down to the top table to lead the appreciation.

Former Lauder Cornet Ian Fallas was given the privilege of delivering The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns.

He described Burns as ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ before reminding the gathering how on January 25, 1801 – five years after the death of Burns – the Rev Hamilton Paul arranged the very first Burns Supper to remember his great friend.

Just eight guests – all acquaintances and supporters of Burns –ate their supper before reciting his poems and singing his songs.

And Mr Fallas explained how Burns Suppers the world over have stuck to a similar format in the 217 years since.

He added: “Burns had an ability to paint wonderful pictures with words.

“He had a wisdom that didn’t belong with a young man.”

Interspersed throughout Friday’s celebrations were terrific renditions of some of Burns’ most rousing songs and poems.

Grant Lees, who had earlier Addressed the Haggis with great gusto, splendidly led the floor for A Man’s a Man, accompanied by Chris Achenbach on piano.

They also teamed up for the uplifting Star o’ Rabbie Burns.

Stuart Anderson, armed with his accordion, provided plenty toe-tapping with the likes of The Gard’ner wi’ his Paidle and Ye Banks and Braes.

Roy Mack delivered a fitting and humorous Toast to The Lassies from the stage.

And Robert McGurn was in fine fettle as he performed Holly Willie’s Prayer and Tam o’ Shanter.

The nicht’s ongauns were good – really good.

And it was left to Bruce Robertson to provide The Vote of Thanks to the many in the Volunteer Hall who made sure Burns was fittingly celebrated and remembered for another year in Galashiels - and continues to survive the test of time.