Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

11/11/2004

Robert Burns

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796)
Ploughman poet lauded by Edinburgh’s social elite, Burns also contributed to the Scottish musical tradition as an assiduous collector of traditional airs.


The Will of Robert Burns

Born in 1759 into a farming family to which he contributed his share of hard labour, Robert Burns became the tenant farmer at Mossgeil, Ayrshire following his father’s death in1784. Burns had received some formal teaching, had read Shakespeare, Dryden and Milton, whilst also picking up basic French and Latin. His literary upbringing included an oral culture of folk songs and stories including tales of “Wallace”. This did not prevent him later playing up the idea of an uneducated “ploughman poet” to his adoring Edinburgh audience.

His compilation of poems began in 1783 and by 1785 included “The Cottars’ Saturday Night”, “Holy Willie’s Prayer” and “To a Mouse”. In 1786, he published his Kilmarnock edition of “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect” which was popular locally before its success spread to Edinburgh. Burns’s intention had been to raise money from his poems to emigrate to Jamaica, but the reaction to his work, especially in the Capital persuaded him to change his plans.

For more information go to the link on the rhs

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