Robert Burns

Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a hugely popular poet who became the National Bard of Scotland. He was a supremely talented satirist, a skilled story teller and perhaps most talented of all in the field of song writing. He is venerated in Scotland as a man who succeeded through the force of his own talent, born without privilege or nobility he tied together the Scottish past with the emerging industrial society and gave Scots the national identity they craved.

Burns fame is not confined to Scotland however and he is universally celebrated as a humanist poet, coming second only to Shakespeare in terms of his publication in other languages. Burns had a healthy contempt for the politicians of his time and an egalitarian outlook; he was able to speak both to and for the common man.

He was born in Alloway in Ayrshire in 1759, the eldest of seven children, his father was a tenant farmer and the family were poor. Burns didn't fancy farming much but he did fancy the women and soon got himself into some trouble fathering several illegitimate children. He eventually went to Edinburgh and quickly found fame as the "Ploughman Poet".

Burns was prolific and wrote well over 400 songs during his lifetime. He died of heart disease at the age of just 37. Since his death Burns popularity has continued to grow and Burns Suppers are held every year on the anniversary of his birth all over the world where people get together to eat haggis, drink whisky and enjoy Burns work.

Selected Works