Robbie Burns


"The Ploughman Poet" Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759. He was a poet and lyricist who inspired many. His birthday is celebrated as an unofficial national holiday in Scotland.

Born in Alloway, South Ayrshire, Scotland, "The Bard" lived a hard life of poverty. Educated by his father, Burns was the principle laborer on his family farm. His first poem was inspired by a female co-worker.

Settling on a small farm after his father's death, Robert formed the Tarlbolton Bachelor's Club and became a Freemason at Lodge St. David. Burns was known for his fondness of scotch and ladies and had many casual love affairs. His first child was born to his mother's servant. Soon after, Jean Armour gave birth to twin sons and later married Burns. In total, she had nine children although only 3 lived past infancy.

The success of Burns' first collection of published works, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, led to recognition across the country. He helped James Johnson preserve old Scots songs and contributed nearly a third of the songs in the cots Musical Museum. He also contributed over 100 songs to the Melodies of Scotland and to A Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice. Constant themes included class inequalities, gender roles, Scottish cultural identity, poverty, and socializing. He was an inspiration to liberalism, socialism and the campaign for self-government.

At the young age of 37, Burns' heart gave out on July 21, 1796. A memorial edition of his works was published to raise money for his family. Burns' close friends began the tradition of a supper every January 25th to pay tribute to him. Burns suppers are still a common tradition today and the format of the supper has not changed since 1796.

Among Burns' works is his most famous poem, Auld Lang Syne, which is sung at Hogmanay (New Years Eve) celebrations. Some of his other well known works include A Red, Red Rose, A Man's A Man for A' That, To a Louse, To a Mouse, The Battle of Sherramuir and Ae Fond Kiss. His life and works continue to be greatly promoted today.

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