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The Life of Robert Burns

Robert Burns was a Scottish Poet (although he collected and produced far more songs than poems) from the 18th century who is now world renowned, and whose work has inspired other artists around the globe throughout the years. Auld Lang Syne is arguably his most prominent work, as it is sang across the globe to celebrate New Year’s Eve as the bells are tolling.

Besides Auld Lang Syne, Burns’ most prominent works include My love is like a red red rose, Tam o’ Shanter and Comin’ Thro’ the Rye. Burns is considered a pre-romantics poet due to his appreciation of nature, exploration of human emotions and his individuality.

Burns night is celebrated on the poets birthday, 25th January 1759, and was initially started as a form of memorial held by close friends, where a fine meal was shared, speeches were made in honor of the poet, and his pieces were performed. Traditionally the meal served would be the Scottish staple of haggis, neeps and tatties.

Haggis, neeps and tatties. Traditionally ate on holidays such as Burns night or St Andrew’s Day.

On 3rd of April 1786 Burns submitted his work to a publisher in Kilmarnock in order to fund him moving to Jamaica to become a bookkeeper on a plantation (in other words, an overseer of slaves). They were published on the 14th of April and his success was immediate as he was soon known around the country, cancelling his Jamaica trip. This success lead to the influence he has had on countries outside of Britain, such as the USA, and even Canada.

Burns died young, only 37. His global reach can be seen through the tributes that were made to him across the world. His birthplace in Alloway, Dumfries, has been transformed by the National Trust for Scotland to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, consisting of the very cottage he lived and grew up in, as well as handwritten manuscripts and other pieces of his work. A replica of the Burns cottage can be found in Atlanta, Georgia, belonging to the Burns Club Atlanta. His reach truly stretched beyond what he could have ever imagined.

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