robert burns


  • [16] A copy of it was passed to Burns, who later recalled, “I had taken the last farewell of my few friends, my chest was on the road to Greenock; I had composed the last
    song I should ever measure in Scotland – ‘The Gloomy night is gathering fast’ – when a letter from Dr Blacklock to a friend of mine overthrew all my schemes, by opening new prospects to my poetic ambition.

  • [citation needed] In Edinburgh, in early 1787, he met James Johnson, a struggling music engraver and music seller with a love of old Scots songs and a determination to preserve

  • [37] The family went to the Court of Session in 1798 with a plan to support his surviving children by publishing a four-volume edition of his complete works and a biography
    written by Dr. James Currie.

  • His opinion that I would meet with encouragement in Edinburgh for a second edition, fired me so much, that away I posted for that city, without a single acquaintance, or a
    single letter of introduction.

  • After a few years of home education, Burns was sent to Dalrymple Parish School in mid-1772 before returning at harvest time to full-time farm labouring until 1773, when he
    was sent to lodge with Murdoch for three weeks to study grammar, French, and Latin.

  • [20] He made major contributions to George Thomson’s A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice as well as to James Johnson’s Scots Musical Museum.

  • [citation needed] Burns was in financial difficulties due to his lack of success in farming, and to make enough money to support a family he took up an offer of work in Jamaica
    from Patrick Douglas of Garrallan, Old Cumnock, whose sugar plantations outside Port Antonio were managed by his brother Charles, under whom Burns was to be a “book keeper” (assistant overseer of slaves).

  • [16] Known as the Kilmarnock volume, it sold for 3 shillings and contained much of his best writing, including “The Twa Dogs” (which features Luath, his Border Collie),[17]
    “Address to the Deil”, “Halloween”, “The Cotter’s Saturday Night”, “To a Mouse”, “Epitaph for James Smith”, and “To a Mountain Daisy”, many of which had been written at Mossgiel farm.

  • [81] In 1996, a musical about Burns’s life called Red Red Rose won third place at a competition for new musicals in Denmark.

  • On 3 April Burns sent proposals for publishing his Scotch Poems to John Wilson, a printer in Kilmarnock, who published these proposals on 14 April 1786, on the same day that
    Jean Armour’s father tore up the paper in which Burns attested his marriage to Jean.

  • [66] The club set its original objectives as “To cherish the name of Robert Burns; to foster a love of his writings, and generally to encourage an interest in the Scottish
    language and literature.”

  • At Dumfries, he wrote his world famous song “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”, which was based on the writings in The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine, one of the chief political theoreticians
    of the American Revolution.

  • In 1775, he was sent to finish his education with a tutor at Kirkoswald, where he met Peggy Thompson (born 1762), to whom he wrote two songs, “Now Westlin’ Winds” and “I Dream’d
    I Lay”.

  • [60] An example of Burns’s literary influence in the US is seen in the choice by novelist John Steinbeck of the title of his 1937 novel, Of Mice and Men, taken from a line
    in the second-to-last stanza of “To a Mouse”: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”

  • Failing health and death The death room of Robert Burns Robert Burns Mausoleum at St Michael’s churchyard in Dumfries Burns’s worldly prospects were perhaps better than they
    had ever been but he alienated some acquaintances by freely expressing sympathy with the French,[31] and American Revolutions, for the advocates of democratic reform and votes for all men and the Society of the Friends of the People which
    advocated Parliamentary Reform.

  • [13][14] At about the same time, Burns fell in love with Mary Campbell (1763–1786), whom he had seen in church while he was still living in Tarbolton.

  • [citation needed] About this time he was offered and declined an appointment in London on the staff of The Star newspaper,[22] and refused to become a candidate for a newly
    created Chair of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh,[22] although influential friends offered to support his claims.

  • [10] Kilmarnock volume Title page of the Kilmarnock Edition As Burns lacked the funds to pay for his passage to the West Indies, Gavin Hamilton suggested that he should “publish
    his poems in the mean time by subscription, as a likely way of getting a little money to provide him more liberally in necessaries for Jamaica.”

  • His stay in the city also resulted in some lifelong friendships, among which were those with Lord Glencairn, and Frances Anna Dunlop (1730–1815),[20] who became his occasional
    sponsor and with whom he corresponded for many years until a rift developed.

  • [29][30] Burns described how he had to master singing the tune before he composed the words: Burns House in Dumfries, Scotland My way is: I consider the poetic sentiment,
    correspondent to my idea of the musical expression, then chuse my theme, begin one stanza, when that is composed—which is generally the most difficult part of the business—I walk out, sit down now and then, look out for objects in nature around
    me that are in unison or harmony with the cogitations of my fancy and workings of my bosom, humming every now and then the air with the verses I have framed.

  • Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include “A Red, Red Rose”, “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”, “To a Louse”, “To a Mouse”, “The Battle
    of Sherramuir”, “Tam o’ Shanter” and “Ae Fond Kiss”.

  • [19] In Edinburgh, he was received as an equal by the city’s men of letters—including Dugald Stewart, Robertson, Blair and others—and was a guest at aristocratic gatherings,
    where he bore himself with unaffected dignity.

  • It was moved back to its original location in the Back Bay Fens in 2019 In January 1864, President Abraham Lincoln was invited to attend a Robert Burns celebration by Robert
    Crawford; and if unable to attend, send a toast.

  • [43] Statue of Burns in Dumfries town centre, unveiled in 1882 The strong emotional highs and lows associated with many of Burns’s poems have led some, such as Burns biographer
    Robert Crawford,[44] to suggest that he suffered from manic depression—a hypothesis that has been supported by analysis of various samples of his handwriting.

  • Some of his works, such as “Love and Liberty” (also known as “The Jolly Beggars”), are written in both Scots and English for various effects.

  • The success of the work was immediate, and soon he was known across the country.

  • One of the better known of these collections is The Merry Muses of Caledonia (the title is not Burns’s), a collection of bawdy lyrics that were popular in the music halls
    of Scotland as late as the 20th century.

  • He contributed 40 songs to volume two, and he ended up responsible for about a third of the 600 songs in the whole collection, as well as making a considerable editorial contribution.

  • [I never saw such another eye in a human head, though I have seen the most distinguished men of my time.]

  • In mid-1784 Burns came to know a group of girls known collectively as The Belles of Mauchline, one of whom was Jean Armour, the daughter of a stonemason from Mauchline.

  • He transferred his share in Mossgiel farm to his brother Gilbert on 22 July, and on 30 July wrote to tell his friend John Richmond that, “Armour has got a warrant to throw
    me in jail until I can find a warrant for an enormous sum …

  • It includes: the humble Burns Cottage where he was born and spent the first years of his life, a modern museum building which houses more than 5,000 Burns artefacts including
    his handwritten manuscripts, the historic Alloway Auld Kirk and Brig o Doon which feature in Burns’s masterpiece ‘Tam o Shanter’, and the Burns Monument which was erected in Burns’s honour and finished in 1823.

  • — Robert Burns Burns also worked to collect and preserve Scottish folk songs, sometimes revising, expanding, and adapting them.

  • He was kept very busy doing reports, father of four young children, song collector and songwriter.

  • [3][4][5] He was born in a house built by his father (now the Burns Cottage Museum), where he lived until Easter 1766, when he was seven years old.

  • In December 1781, Burns moved temporarily to Irvine to learn to become a flax-dresser, but during the workers’ celebrations for New Year 1781/1782 (which included Burns as
    a participant) the flax shop caught fire and was burnt to the ground.

  • Canada Burns Monument in Dorchester Square, Montréal, Québec Burns had a significant influence on Alexander McLachlan[46] and some influence on Robert Service.

  • As well as making original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them.

  • [6] He was also taught by John Murdoch (1747–1824), who opened an “adventure school” in Alloway in 1763 and taught Latin, French, and mathematics to both Robert and his brother
    Gilbert (1760–1827) from 1765 to 1768 until Murdoch left the parish.

  • Mauchline Robert and Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm, but after its failure they moved to the farm at Mossgiel, near Mauchline, in March, which they
    maintained with an uphill fight for the next four years.

  • Nasmyth had come to know Burns and his fresh and appealing image has become the basis for almost all subsequent representations of the poet.

  • Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature.

  • [54][55] Senator Heath Macquarrie quipped of Canada’s first Prime Minister that “While the lovable [Robbie] Burns went in for wine, women and song, his fellow Scot, John A.
    did not chase women and was not musical!

  • To his father’s disapproval, Robert joined a country dancing school in 1779 and, with Gilbert, formed the Tarbolton Bachelors’ Club the following year.

  • “[15] On 31 July 1786 John Wilson published the volume of works by Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish dialect.

  • This venture accordingly came to an end, and Burns went home to Lochlea farm.

  • Burns postponed his planned emigration to Jamaica on 1 September, and was at Mossgiel two days later when he learnt that Jean Armour had given birth to twins.

  • The first volume was published in 1787 and included three songs by Burns.

  • The first one, known as The Mother Club, was founded in Greenock in 1801 by merchants born in Ayrshire, some of whom had known Burns.

  • [61] When asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan selected Burns’s 1794 song “A Red, Red Rose” as the lyric that had the biggest
    effect on his life.

  • Burns influenced later Scottish writers, especially Hugh MacDiarmid, who fought to dismantle what he felt had become a sentimental cult that dominated Scottish literature.

  • [38] Hogg records that fund-raising for Burns’s family was embarrassingly slow, and it took several years to accumulate significant funds through the efforts of John Syme
    and Alexander Cunningham.

  • [8] It has been suggested that the position was for a single man, and that he would live in rustic conditions, not likely to be living in the great house at a salary of £30
    per annum.

  • Dunedin’s first European settlers were Scots; Thomas Burns, a nephew of Burns, was one of Dunedin’s founding fathers.

  • The funeral took place on Monday 25 July 1796, the day that his son Maxwell was born.

  • [33] Hogg records that Burns was given the freedom of the Burgh of Dumfries on 4 June 1787, 9 years before his death, and was also made an Honorary Burgess of Dumfries.

  • [52] Universities mark the date in a range of ways: McMaster University library organized a special collection[53] and Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Scottish Studies
    organized a marathon reading of Burns’s poetry.

  • I am wandering from one friend’s house to another.

  • [6] During this time he met and befriended Captain Richard Brown who encouraged him to become a poet.

  • [72] In 2020, the Robert Burns Academy in Cumnock, East Ayrshire opened and is named after Burns as an honour of Burns having spent time living in nearby Mauchline.

  • He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is in a “light Scots dialect” of English, accessible to an audience
    beyond Scotland.

  • When it became clear that Nancy would not be easily seduced into a physical relationship, Burns moved on to Jenny Clow (1766–1792), Nancy’s domestic servant, who bore him
    a son, Robert Burns Clow, in 1788.

  • Here he encountered, and made a lasting impression on, the 16-year-old Walter Scott, who described him later with great admiration: [His person was strong and robust;] his
    manners rustic, not clownish, a sort of dignified plainness and simplicity which received part of its effect perhaps from knowledge of his extraordinary talents.

  • His relationship with Nancy concluded in 1791 with a final meeting in Edinburgh before she sailed to Jamaica for what turned out to be a short-lived reconciliation with her
    estranged husband.

  • [6][clarification needed] He had little regular schooling and got much of his education from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and
    history and also wrote for them A Manual of Christian Belief.

  • [77] In 1996, the Isle of Man issued a four-coin set of Crown (5/-) pieces on the themes of “Auld Lang Syne”, Edinburgh Castle, Revenue Cutter, and Writing Poems.

  • He continued to write poems and songs and began a commonplace book in 1783, while his father fought a legal dispute with his landlord.

  • His house in Dumfries is operated as the Robert Burns House, and the Robert Burns Centre in Dumfries features more exhibits about his life and works.

  • Towns named after Burns include Burns, New York, and Burns, Oregon.

  • Tarbolton Despite his ability and character, William Burnes was consistently unfortunate, and migrated with his large family from farm to farm without ever being able to improve
    his circumstances.

  • The Edinburgh literati worked to sentimentalise Burns during his life and after his death, dismissing his education by calling him a “heaven-taught ploughman”.

  • He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural
    icon in Scotland and among the Scottish diaspora around the world.

  • His earliest existing letters date from this time, when he began making romantic overtures to Alison Begbie (b.

  • Many of Burns’s most famous poems are songs with the music based upon older traditional songs.


Works Cited

[‘Burns is also known by various other names and epithets. These include Rabbie Burns, the National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire, the Ploughman Poet, Scotland’s favourite son, Robden of Solway Firth, and simply the Bard.[1][2]
2. O’Hagan, A: “The People’s
Poet”, The Guardian, 19 January 2008.
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25 April 2011.
7. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Cousin 1910, p. 62.
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1 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
9. ^ Crawford, Robert (30 April 2011). The Bard. Random House. pp. 222–223. ISBN 9781446466407. Retrieved 26 March 2018.; Leask, Nigel (25 June 2009). “Burns and the Poetics of Abolition”. In Carruthers, Gerard
(ed.). Edinburgh Companion to Robert Burns. Edinburgh University Press. p. 51. ISBN 9780748636501.; “Letter of Charles Douglas to Patrick Douglas dated Port Antonio 19th June 1786 (page 3 of 3) – Burns Scotland”. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
10. ^ Jump
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12. ^ “Feature on The Poet
Robert Burns”. Robert Burns History. 13 January 2004. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
13. ^ “Folkin’ For Jamaica: Sly, Robbie and Robert Burns”. The Play Ethic. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 10
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14. ^ “The myth of Scottish slaves”, Stephen Mullan, published March 4, 2016, accessed 22 June 2021
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Scotsmen. Blackie and Son. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
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25. ^ David Sibbald. “Robert Burns the Song Writer”.
26. ^ “Folksong Arrangements by Haydn / Folksong Arrangements by Haydn and
Beethoven / Projects / Home – Trio van Beethoven”.
27. ^ “Thomson’s Select Melodies of Scotland, Ireland and Wales (Thomson, George)”.
28. ^ “25 Schottische Lieder, Op.108 (Beethoven, Ludwig van)”.
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Ludwig van)”.
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31. ^ Beethoven-Haus Bonn (1 April 2002). “Beethoven-Haus Bonn”.
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“MS: ‘The Dumfries Volunteers’ – Robert Burns Birthplace Museum”.
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1796, Dumfries Commissary Court (National Archives of Scotland CC5/6/18, pp. 74–75)”. ScotlandsPeople website. National Archives of Scotland. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
39. ^ “Appointment of judicial factor for Robert Burns’s children, Court of Session
records (National Archives of Scotland CS97/101/15), 1798–1801”. ‘The Legacy of Robert Burns’ feature on the National Archives of Scotland website. National Archives of Scotland. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
40. ^ Hogg, PS (2008). Robert
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45. ^ Rumens,
C (16 January 2009). “The Bard, By Robert Crawford”. Books. London: The Independent. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
46. ^ Watson, J (7 June 2009). “Bard in the hand: Trust accused of hiding Burns’s mental illness”. Scotland on Sunday. Retrieved 10 June
47. ^ Robert Burns and Friends (Essays by W. Ormiston Roy Fellows presented to G. Ross Roy), Patrick Scott & Kenneth Simson, eds., Book Surge Publishing, 2012, ISBN 978-1439270974, Chapter “Alexander McLachlan: ‘The Robert Burns’ of Canada”,
contribution of Edward J. Cowan, pp. 131–149
48. ^ Burness, Edwina (January 1986). “Burness, Edwina (1986) “The Influence of Burns and Fergusson on the War Poetry of Robert Service,” Studies in Scottish Literature:Vol. 21: Iss. 1″. Studies in Scottish
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49. ^ “Haggis stress”. The Western Start. 25 January 2013. Archived from the original on 1 February 2014. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
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54. ^ “Happy Robbie Burns Day from the ‘Bard’ Himself!”.
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57. ^ “In Sir John
A.’s Footsteps: The Virtual Tour”. City of Kingston (Ontario). n.d. Archived from the original on 19 February 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
58. ^ “Gung HAGGIS Fat Choy: Toddish McWong’s Misadventures in Multiculturalism”. Retrieved 27 January
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60. ^ “The Twa Dogs” – National Trust for Scotland
61. ^ Crawford, Robert. “The Abraham Lincoln
Papers at the Library of Congress.” Robert Crawford to Abraham Lincoln, Saturday, 23 January 1864 (Invitation to attend Robert Burns celebration). 23 January 1864. (accessed 20 January 2013). Lincoln’s toast:
see Collected Works, VIII, 237.
62. ^ See, e.g., Paul Stevenson, “Stanton—the Writer with a Heart” in Atlanta Constitution, 1925 January 18, p. 1; republished by Perry, LL; Wightman, MF (1938), Frank Lebby Stanton: Georgia’s First Post Laureate,
Atlanta: Georgia State Department of Education, pp. 8–14
63. ^ Michaels, S (6 October 2008). “Bob Dylan: Robert Burns is my biggest inspiration”. The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 June 2009. Dylan has revealed his greatest inspiration is Scotland’s
favourite son, the Bard of Ayrshire, the 18th-century poet known to most as Rabbie Burns. Dylan selected A Red, Red Rose, written by Burns in 1794.
64. ^ “J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye”. Sparknotes. Retrieved 14 July 2010. When [Holden] tries
to explain why he hates school, she accuses him of not liking anything. He tells her his fantasy of being “the catcher in the rye,” a person who catches little children as they are about to fall off of a cliff. Phoebe tells him that he has misremembered
the poem that he took the image from: Robert Burns’s poem says “if a body meet a body, coming through the rye,” not “catch a body.”
65. ^ “Burns Biography”. 27 January 1990. Archived from the original on 11 December 2004. Retrieved
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66. ^ Trew, J (10 April 2005). “From Rabbie with love”. Heritage & Culture. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
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69. ^ Poet in motion – Robert Burns takes to the rails
for the third time Rail issue 282 3 July 1996 page 52
70. ^ Naming Notes Rail issue 290 23 October 1996 page 53
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74. ^ “Burns
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79. ^ Pobjoy
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80. ^ £5 Coin Retrieved : 27 November 2011
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82. ^
“THE SONGS OF ROBERT BURNS from the Scots Musical Museum”. Jean Redpath Sings. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
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original on 9 October 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
84. ^ “Clarinda – The Musical – United States Premiere!”. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
85. ^ “Our Own Robbie Burns (Tucker, Henry L.)”.
86. ^ Robert Burns voted Greatest Scot
STV. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
Photo credit:’]