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Robert Burns


The national poet of Scotland is Robert Burns. He was revered for his original compositions. He revised and adapted folk songs from across Scotland. He was a well thought of cultural icon, not only in Scotland, but around the world as well. In a celebration of his life, his work became popular in the 19th and 20th centuries.

A Leader in Poetry and Verse

He was born on the 25th of January in 1759. He was known as Scotland’s favorite son, the Bard of Ayrshire, Rabbie Burns, and the Ploughman Poet. He thrived as a poet and a lyricist. He was a pioneer of the Romantic Movement. He wrote in the Scottish dialect as well as English. This made him accessible to a larger audience. He was very blunt about his civil and political views in many of his pieces. Well after his death, he was considered as a source of inspiration to many in socialism and liberalism. He was a strong influence on Scottish literature.


Early Years


He grew up in a home built by his father. Today it is the Burns Cottage Museum. He lived there until 1766. He was seven years old at the time. The house was sold and his family took up residency on a 70 acre farm called Mount Oliphant. It was located southeast of Alloway. This is where he spent his youth amidst hardship and poverty. He worked strenuous manual labor. Much of his education was taught by his father. He learned arithmetic, writing, geography, history, and reading. He wrote the A Manual of Christian Belief. He attended an adventure school taught by John Murdoch. He learned mathematics, French, and Latin. After continuing education at home, he attended Dalrymple Parish School. Later he returned home to full time labor. In 1773, he was sent away to live with Murdoch to study Latin, French, and grammar.


Final Years


His health began to deteriorate and he aged prematurely. He often fell into fits of despondency. He had a long-standing rheumatic heart condition. He died from bacterial endocarditis that was exacerbated by a strep infection. It reached his blood after he underwent a dental extraction in 1795. Three months of famine didn’t help his health either. He died on the 21st of July in 1796. He was only 37 years old. His funeral was held on the 25th of July. That is the day his youngest son named Maxwell was born. To raise money for his family, a memorial edition of his poems was published. Within a short time, people from all over Scotland began to send in money to help support his wife and children.


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