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Forum Home > ROBERT BURNS THE FARMER > Robert Burns- a Bard Certainly but not a Farmer

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Robert Burns Day is celebrated every January wherever Scots gather toremember the Bard. Robert Burns was a man of the people. His story isthat of the poor farmers of Scotland. He was also a genius.


Bornin 1759 in Alloway Rabbie, as he is sometimes affectionately called,enjoyed an education beyond that of most of his peers. He firstattended school at Alloway Mill and later his father entrusted hisfamily's education to one John Murdoch. His father was a great believerin education and asked John to concentrate on English and French WhenJohn Murdoch moved on Burns' father William undertook his furtherschooling. He was a good living man and his home was full of goodeducational books and Robert was happy to learn all that his fathercould teach. Later he spent a summer at Kirkoswald school under HughRodger, a master mind on mathematics.


Dr. William Dalrymple whobaptised him features in The Kirk's alarm. All his writings wereinfluenced by the people and places he knew and loved. His father avery good man leased Mont Oliphant a farm of some 70 acres and thereRobert Burns had to work threshing the corn and was in fact thelabourer on the farm as his father could not afford one. His brotherGilbert maintained that this hard work was the cause of the poet'sdepression in later life. Nonetheless his first songs were composedfrom 1773 at Mount Oliphant including "Handsome Nell." However "TheRuined Farmer" and "The Twa Dogs" are both reminders of how the hardwork affected him and how trying to farm the bad land eventually killedhis father in yet another farm at Loughlea .There Robert lived forseven years.


His social life had expanded by then and he wasprolific in his outpouring of poems and ballads. He moved to Irvine fora year to become a flax dresser. However the building went on fire andthat was the end of his apprenticeship. Although he and his brotherGilbert leased a farm in Mossgiel Robert bought bad seed and the cropfailed. While he was attempting to farm he was writing more and moreand became well known locally for his work. His first volume of theKilmarnock Edition of 1786 contained forty five poems.


Burns wasso disappointed at his lack of ability to make a living that he decidedto emigrate to Jamaica and indeed has his bags packed. Luckily he waspersuaded to go to Edinburgh instead and it was here that hisfriendships with the gentry flourished. From there he made many journeyand gathered the material he needed for his ballads and poems based onthe beauty of the countryside and the people he met.


Burns was apatriotic, a founder of the bachelors' club and an excise man foryears. He was not, however, a farmer and his last farm at Ellisland didnot prosper either and he and his wife moved to Dumfries where he laterdied.  He is remembered all over the world, particularly on New Year'sEve when probably his most famous work of all is sung "Should auldacquaintances are forget".


Niamh Crowe



Please support this amazing Petition:


I shall forever support The Legend That is Robert Burns and The Hero That is Sir William Wallace - SCOTLAND THE BRAVE!!  FREEDOM!!!

January 12, 2010 at 8:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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