Robert Burns (1759–96), known as Scotland's national bard, wrote several renowned lyrics, including "Auld Lang Syne" and "Address to a Haggis." Many Scots commemorate his life and work on Burns Night, January 25, the poet's death anniversary.
His parents were poor farmers from South Ayrshire who had many children. Only two of them survived past childhood: Robert and his older brother John. When their father died when Robert was eleven years old, he took over the running of the farm. He also began writing poems, songs, and plays for local audiences at social events and in the halls of honorables. In 1785, at age twenty-one, he married Agnes Thomson, one of his pupils. She inherited a small fortune and helped her husband support himself and their family.
Burns is considered the father of modern poetry in the English language. His poems are often set to music, and he is even said to have coined the word "poetry."
During his lifetime, Burns's poems were widely read and loved by people all over Britain and Europe. Today, they remain so. His works include both sacred and secular poems, most notably "The Bard's Epistles," a series of thirty-one poems written in imitation of Virgil's Eclogues.
"Auld Lang Syne," which is sung at New Year's Eve celebrations in Scotland, parts of the United Kingdom, and other parts of the world, is perhaps his most well-known work. Burns is regarded as one of Scotland's most prominent cultural icons, and his name is highly recognized among Scottish expats and descendants all over the world.
He wrote several more poems for this occasion, including "The First Night of January" and "New Year's Day."
Burns was born on Jan. 31, 1759, in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father was a tenant farmer who could not afford to send him to school, so he learned to write by copying letters for neighbors. When he was 18, he went to Dumfries to work as an assistant to a bookkeeper but soon decided to go to London to pursue a career as a writer. He lived in London for eight years, working as a tax collector for the government and also writing poetry (for which he never received payment).
He returned to Scotland in 1787 and worked as a farm manager until his death in 1796, at the age of 37. During that time, he married his first wife, Jean McLean, but she died after only four years of marriage. Two children with her: Alexander and Margaret. Then he married Jean Beattie in 1793 and had three more children: John, William, and Elizabeth.
Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, is well-known around the world for his writing, which focuses on universal themes of love and nature. Every year on January 25th, a national holiday is named for him. On this day, Burns suppers are held, complete with traditional haggis and whiskey foods, as well as performances of his most famous works. He has been called "the Scottish Homer" and "the Bard of Ayrshire."
Burns was born in 1759 in Ayrshire, Scotland. His father was a farmer and his mother was a weaver's daughter. When he was only six years old, his family moved to Dumfries, where his father took over the running of their farm. Here he learned to write and play music. At the age of 11, he went to school in Lanarkshire for three months before returning home.
During his time at school, he fell in love with a girl named Agnes Baird. However, she did not feel the same way about him. After he returned home, he wrote several poems about her. One of these poems, "To a Lassie Whae Grew Up Wi' Siller Teeth", won first prize from the local newspaper. This started Burns on his literary career. He later traveled to Edinburgh to seek further promotion from his work.
In 1786, at the age of 26, he published The Cotter's Saturday Night, the first collection of his poems.
Shakespeare isn't even given that honor. Every year on January 25th, we honor Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, with Burns suppers including recitals of the bard's best-loved works. Burns wrote much of his poetry in Scots, but that doesn't mean he's only famous in Scotland. His work is widely read and loved around the world.
He died penniless and alone in Edinburgh in 1796.
Here in the United States, a small but active group of lovers of all things Scottish organizes events throughout the year in cities across the country. They have been known to hold "Burns Nights" when everything from music to food is served up in the spirit of this great man.
His birthday is also National Poetry Day. Since 2001, this day has been dedicated to poems, poets, and poetry. The Academy of American Poets features readings from contemporary poets on their website, www.poetryday.com.
Burns' work is considered by many to be not only the father of modern poetry but also one of the most important influences on America's founding fathers. He was a political activist who fought for independence from England and for human rights. Today, his work remains influential in promoting social justice, equality before law, and an end to war.
Burns' poetry is known for its simplicity yet depth.
Robert Burns, Scottish national poet (born January 25, 1759, Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland—died July 21, 1796, Dumfries, Dumfriesshire), penned poetry and songs in Scots and English. He was also known for his amours and his defiance of conventional faith and morals. Burns is regarded as one of the founders of modern literature in both countries.
Burns's father was a farmer who suffered severe financial setbacks because of his son's writing career. Young Robert had to leave school at an early age to help support his family. In 1779, at the age of 18, he began work as a clerk in a lawyer's office in Ayr. Two years later, he moved to Edinburgh, where he worked as a tax collector for the government. It was here that he met some of the most important people in British history, including Sir Walter Scott and Adam Smith.
In 1786, Burns started writing poems and selling them to newspapers and magazines. The following year, he published his first book of poems, "A Collection of Poems by Mr. Robert Burns." This success encouraged him to continue writing and singing about social issues such as poverty, unemployment, and war. His famous songs include "Oh My Pa's Gone to the War," "The Campbells' Charge," and "Auld Lang Syne."