Burns Night

Don’t you just love Google for reminding you of great events like this? My first reaction to their graphic when I logged on this morning was ‘Oooo, BURNS NIGHT!’ I had clean forgotten about it, but I always try to celebrate it in my own way. For those who don’t know what it’s about this special event is held in honour of Robert Burns, the great Scottish poet of the Romantic era, who was born on January 25th. The aim of Burn’s Night is to celebrate his life and works of which the custom is to hold a ‘Burn’s Supper’. Now I didn’t know about this, but apparently it’s quite an elaborate get together, and just by the look of things I would love to attend one in the future.

Born: January 25th 1759 (Alloway, Ayreshire, Scotland)

Died: July 21st 1796 aged 37 (Dumfries, Scotland)

Top 5 Interesting Facts about Robert Burns

1. Had several honorary names including ‘Rabbie Burns’, ‘Scotland’s favourite son’, ‘the Ploughman Poet’, ‘Robden of Solway Firth’, ‘the Bard of Ayrshire’ and ‘The Bard’.

2. Was regarded as the pioneer of the Romantic movement and wrote many poems in the Scottish dialect.

3. Was also a gifted lyricist, his most famous song being ‘Auld Lang’s Ayne’ which is sung at Hogmanay (last day of the year).

4. Robert Burns was initiated into masonic Lodge St David Tarbolton on 4 July 1781, when he was 22. Traditionally, Burn’s Night was hosted by Freemasons, but that has changed over the years.

5. First published his poems on 14th April 1786 as a means of paying for his passage to the West Indies where he was offered work.

In the past I celebrated Burns Night by reading a few of my favourite poems by candlelight (in honour of the name, ‘Burns’), but this year I’m excited to be blogging about it instead. So here’s a classic poem that also inspired today’s google doodle:

A Red, Red Rose

“O my Luve’s like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve’s like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.”

This is widely printed as a poem, but it is actually a song that Burn’s claimed to have heard from a country girl. For me, this poem is almost at a par with Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodil’s’, which has the same lyrical quality. For the complete works of Robert Burns you can visit the BBC website who have dedicated a comprehensive page to him. You can even listen to his poems being read out by well-known figures such as HRH The Prince of Wales.

So, what are your favourite Burns’ poems and how do you celebrate it? Or do you have a different Romantic poet that is a firm favourite?