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					Robert Burns
        Scottish poet and writer of traditional
        Scottish folk songs, whose works are
        known and loved wherever the
        English language is read.
             Robert Burns
   Robert Burns
    (1759 - 1796)
    Category: Scottish

    Born: January 25,
    Alloway, Ayrshire,

    Died: July 21, 1796
                Burns Family
   Robert Burns born 25th January 1759 died 21st July
   Elizabeth Paton Burns 1785-1817 Dear bought Bess
   Jean Armour Burns 1786-Died 11 Months, Twins
   Robert Burns 1786-1857, twin to Jean
   Robert ( Clow ) 1788-?
   Twin Girls 1788 Died at Birth
   Francis Wallace Burns 1789-1803
   Elizabeth Park Burns 1791-1873
   William Nicol Burns 1791-1872
   Elizabeth Riddell Burns 1792-1795
   James Glencairn Burns 1794-1865
   Maxwell Burns 1796-1799
     Life of Robert Burns (1)
   Robert Burns was born near Ayr, Scotland, 25th of January,
    1759. He was the son of William Burnes. His father,
    though always extremely poor, attempted to give his
    children a fair education, and Robert, who was the eldest,
    went to school for three years in a neighboring village, and
    later, for shorter periods, to three other schools in the
    vicinity. But it was to his father and to his own reading
    that he owed the more important part of his education;
    and by the time that he had reached manhood he had a
    good knowledge of English, a reading knowledge of French,
    and a fairly wide acquaintance with the masterpieces of
    English literature from the time of Shakespeare to his own
    day. 1771 the family move to Lochlea, and Burns went to
    the neighboring town to learn flax-dressing.
     Life of Robert Burns (2)
   His father died in 1784, and with his brother Gilbert the
    poet rented the farm of Mossgiel;After that,he irregularly
    married with Jean, in order to raise money he published
    (Kilmarnock, 1786) a volume of the poems .This volume
    was unexpectedly successful, then he went up to
    Edinburgh, and during that winter he was the chief literary
    celebrity of the season. An enlarged edition of his poems
    was published there in 1787.His fame as poet had
    reconciled the Armours to the connection, and having now
    regularly married Jean, he brought her to Ellisland, and
    once more tried farming for three years. Continued ill-
    success, however, led him, in 1791, to abandon Ellisland,
    and he moved to Dumfries, where he had obtained a
    position in the Excise. But he was now thoroughly
    discouraged; his tendency to take his relaxation in
    debauchery increased the weakness of a constitution early
    undermined; and he died at Dumfries in his thirty-eighth
         LIFE STORIES (1)
   1/25/1759
   "Gie her a Haggis!"
    On this day in 1759 Robert Burns was
    born in Alloway, Scotland, and on this
    night lovers of Burns or Scotland or
    conviviality will gather around the world
    to celebrate the fact. Burns was elevated
    to national hero in his lifetime and cult
    figure soon afterwards, the first Burns
    Night celebration occurring almost
    immediately upon his death. If the haggis
    has changed, the Night has not. . . .
         LIFE STORIES (2)
   4/13/1939
   Burns to Saroyan to Bob Dylan
    On this day in 1939 William Saroyan's My
    Heart's in the Highlands opened. This was
    his first staged play, produced in the
    same year as his Pulitzer-winning second
    play, The Time of Your Life. These and
    other hits from the period ?The Daring
    Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934),
    The Human Comedy (1943) ?made
    Saroyon one of the most popular
    American writers of mid-century.
         LIFE STORIES (3)
   7/11/1818
    Keats, Burns and the Gatekeeper
    On this day in 1818, John Keats visited
    Robert Burns's first home in Alloway, and
    wrote his sonnet, "Written in the Cottage
    Where Burns Was Born." Keats was
    twenty-two years old, barely published,
    and on a summer-long walking tour of
    the North Country -- twenty or thirty
    rugged miles a day and "No supper but
    Eggs and Oat cake," which corrects the
    wan-and-weary side of the Keats myth.
          LIFE STORIES (4)
   7/21/1796
   Robert Burns as "Dirt and Deity"
    On this day in 1796 Robert Burns died in
    Dumfries, Scotland, at the age of thirty-
    seven. This was a decade, almost to the
    day, of the publication of Poems, Chiefly
    in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock
    edition), the collection which caused
    Burns to be as "ploughman poet" in
    Scotland and then around the world;
    some friends and early biographers
    blamed the fame for the death.
          LIFE STORIES (5)
   8/6/1786
   Robert Burns and the "Creepie Chair"
    On this day in 1786, twenty-seven-year-
    old Robert Burns served the last of three
    public penances for "ante-nuptial
    fornication" with his eventual wife, Jean
    Armour. The "fornication police," as Burns
    called them, allowed the poet to stand in
    his usual pew, rather than make him sit
    on the penitential stool -- or, again in
    Burns parlance, "the Creepie Chair."
         LIFE STORIES (6)
   8/23/1305
   Blind Harry, Robert Burns, William
    Braveheart Wallace
    On this day in 1305, Scotland's William
    Wallace was executed -- to be accurate:
    hanged, disemboweled, beheaded and
    quartered. The William Wallace legend
    and the popularity of the Braveheart
    movie owe much to a 15th century epic
    poem by Blind Harry the Minstrel. Robert
    Burns added to Wallace literature too,
    though his "Scots Wha Hae" went forth
    behind cover.
         LIFE STORIES (7)
   10/31/1820
   Irving, Burns and Keats on Halloween
    On this storied day or hallowed eve are
    based many spirit-world tales; some are
    of horror, such as Washington Irving's
    "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"; some are
    of love, or thereabouts, such as Robert
    Burns's "Halloween." Among the
    "principal charms and spells of that
    night," says Burns, are those which might
    have the lasses "come to the marriage-
    bed anything but a maid. . . ."
                     EARLY LIFE

   Burns was born in Alloway, Ayrshire, January 25, 1759. He was the
    eldest of seven children born to William Burness, a struggling
    tenant farmer, and his wife, Agnes Broun. Although poverty limited
    his formal education, Burns read widely in English literature and the
    Bible and learned to read French. He was encouraged in his self-
    education by his father, and his mother acquainted him with
    Scottish folk songs, legends, and proverbs. Arduous farm work and
    undernourishment in his youth permanently injured his health,
    leading to the rheumatic heart disease from which he eventually
    died. He went in 1781 to Irvine to learn flax dressing, but when the
    shop burned down, he returned home penniless. He had,
    meanwhile, composed his first poems. The poet's father died in
    1784, leaving him as head of the family. He and his brother Gilbert
    rented Mossgiel Farm, near Mauchline, but the venture proved a

   In 1784 Burns read the works of the Edinburgh poet Robert
    Fergusson. Under his influence and that of Scottish folk tradition
    and older Scottish poetry, he became aware of the literary
    possibilities of the Scottish regional dialects. During the next two
    years he produced most of his best-known poems, including "The
    Cotter's Saturday Night," "Hallowe'en," "To a Daisy," and "To a
    Mouse." In addition, he wrote "The Jolly Beggars," a cantata chiefly
    in standard English, which is considered one of his masterpieces.
    Several of his early poems, notably "Holy Willie's Prayer," satirized
    local ecclesiastical squabbles and attacked Calvinist theology,
    bringing him into conflict with the church.
   Burns further angered church authorities by having several
    indiscreet love affairs. In 1785 he fell in love with Jean Armour, the
    daughter of a Mauchline building contractor. Jean soon became
    pregnant, and although Burns offered to make her his wife, her
    father forbade their marriage. Thereupon (1786) he prepared to
    immigrate to the West Indies. Before departing he arranged to
    issue by subscription a collection of his poetry. Published on July
    31 in Kilmarnock in an edition of 600 copies, Poems, Chiefly in the
    Scottish Dialect was an immediate success. In September Burns
    abandoned the West Indies plan; the same month Jean became
    the mother of twins. He moved in the fall of 1786 to Edinburgh,
    where he was lionized by fashionable society. Charmed by Burns,
    the literati mistakenly believed him to be an untutored bard, a
    "Heavens-taught Plowman." He resented their condescension, and
    his bristling independence, blunt manner of speech, and occasional
    social awkwardness alienated admirers.

   While Burns was in Edinburgh, he successfully published a second,
    3000-copy edition of Poems (1787), which earned him a
    considerable sum. From the proceeds he was able to tour (1787)
    the English border region and the Highlands and finance another
    winter in Edinburgh. In the meantime he had resumed his
    relationship with Jean Armour. The next spring she bore him
    another set of twins, both of whom died, and in April Burns and
    Armour were married.
   In June 1788, Burns leased a poorly equipped farm in Ellisland, but
    the land proved unproductive. Within a year he was appointed to a
    position in the Excise Service, and in November 1791 he
    relinquished the farm.
           LATER SONGS AND
   Burns's later literary output consisted almost entirely of songs, both
    original compositions and adaptations of traditional Scottish ballads
    and folk songs. He contributed some 200 songs to Scots Musical
    Museum (6 vol., 1783-1803), a project initiated by the engraver and
    music publisher James Johnson. Beginning in 1792 Burns wrote
    about 100 songs and some humorous verse for Select Collection of
    Original Scottish Airs, compiled by George Thomson. Among his
    songs in this collection are such favorites as "Auld Lang Syne,"
    "Comin' Thro' the Rye," "Scots Wha Hae," "A Red, Red Rose,"
    "The Banks o' Doon," and "John Anderson, My Jo."
   After the outbreak of the French Revolution, Burns became an
    outspoken champion of the Republican cause. His enthusiasm for
    liberty and social justice dismayed many of his admirers; some
    shunned or reviled him. After Franco-British relations began to
    deteriorate, he curbed his radical sympathies, and in 1794, for
    patriotic reasons, he joined the Dumfriesshire Volunteers. Burns
    died in Dumfries, July 21, 1796.
             LATER SONGS AND
   A memorial edition of Burn's poems was published for the benefit of
    his wife and children. Its editor, the physician James Currie, a man
    of narrow sympathies, represented the poet as a drunkard and a
    reprobate, and his biased judgment did much to perpetuate an
    unjustly harsh and distorted conception of the poet.
   Burns touched with his own genius the traditional folk songs of
    Scotland, transmuting them into great poetry, and he immortalized
    its countryside and humble farm life. He was a keen and discerning
    satirist who reserved his sharpest barbs for sham, hypocrisy, and
    cruelty. His satirical verse, once little appreciated, has in recent
    decades been recognized widely as his finest work. He was also a
    master of the verse-narrative technique, as exemplified in "Tam
    o'Shanter." Finally, his love songs, perfectly fitted to the tunes for
    which he wrote them, are, at their best, unsurpassed.
The Early Editions of Burns
   Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
    Kilmarnock: Printed by John Wilson, 1786.
   Unsigned review
    in English Review [London], 9:2 (February 1787)
   Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
    [Edinburgh: Bell, Fowler & Co., 1913].
   Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
    Edinburgh: printed for the author and sold by
    William Creech, 1787.
   Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect
    Philadelphia: Printed for and sold by Peter
    Stewart and George Hyde, 1788.
            Burn’s Poetry (1)
   Burns' poetry falls into two main groups: English and
    Scottish. His English poems are, for the most part, inferior
    specimens of conventional eighteenth-century verse. But
    in Scottish poetry he achieved triumphs of a quite
    extraordinary kind.
   Since the time of the Reformation and the union of the
    crowns of England and Scotland, the Scots dialect had
    largely fallen into disuse as a medium for dignified writing.
    Shortly before Burns' time, however, Allan Ramsay and
    Robert Fergusson had been the leading figures in a revival
    of the vernacular, and Burns received from them a
    national tradition which he succeeded in carrying to its
    highest pitch, becoming thereby, to an almost unique
    degree, the poet of his people.
   He first showed complete mastery of verse in the field of
    satire. In "The Twa Herds," "Holy Willie's Prayer," "Address
    to the Unco Guid," "The Holy Fair," and others, he
    manifested sympathy with the protest of the so-called
    "New Light" party, which had sprung up in opposition to
    the extreme Calvinism and intolerance of the dominant "
    Auld Lichts."
           Burn’s Poetry (2)
   The fact that Burns had personally suffered from the
    discipline of the Kirk probably added fire to his attacks, but
    the satires show more than personal animus. The force of
    the invective, the keenness of the wit, and the fervor of
    the imagination which they displayed, rendered them an
    important force in the theological liberation of Scotland.
   But the real national importance of Burns is due chiefly to
    his songs. The Puritan austerity of the centuries following
    the Reformation had discouraged secular music, like other
    forms of art, in Scotland; and as a result Scottish song had
    become hopelessly degraded in point both of decency and
    literary quality. About his song-making, two points are
    especially noteworthy: first, that the greater number of his
    lyrics sprang from actual emotional experiences; second,
    that almost all were composed to old melodies. As few of
    the traditional songs could appear in a respectable
    collection, Burns found it necessary to make them over.
    Sometimes he kept a stanza or two; sometimes only a line
    or chorus; sometimes merely the name of the air; the rest
    was his own.
             Burn’s Poetry (3)

   Some of Burns famous songs are: Auld Lang
    Syne; Comin’ Thro the Rye; Sweet Afton; Scots
    Wha Hae; Green Grow the Rashes; and A Red,
    Red, Rose.

   The Chinese Version of Robert Burns: Selected Poems
           A Red, Red Rose
           (written in 1794, Published in 1796)

   This is one of burns’ popular love lyrics
    and is also a good example of how the
    poet made use of old scottish folk poetry
    and created immortal lines by revising
    the old folk material. The extreme
    simplicity of the language and the
    charming rhythmic beat of the verse
    express better than anything else the
    poet’s true sentiments toward his beloved.
    My love is Like a Red, Red,
             Rose (1)
   This song is truly Burns own hand, every line has produced
    a rush of traditioners who pretend to treat us with what
    they call the old words. To all lovers of Burns and to the
    great mass of romantic souls who appreciate fine love
    songs, these are immortal words for the rose newly sprung
    in June provides us with perfect imagery. Indeed the
    poet's world-wide appeal rests strongly on this and other
    love songs whose various elements of old ballads are
    brought together. Only the touch of a genius could
    transform them into such a song.
   Burns imagination and his ear gathered these inherited
    comparisons and metaphors together, altered them,
    however slightly, purged them of all vulgarity and created
    in the end one of the loveliest lyrics of all time. It is a
    masterpiece of technique rather than of passion. It is by
    the superb blending of the various units into one
    harmonious whole that the song achieves its beauty.
    My love is Like a Red, Red,
             Rose (2)
   The red rose is a lyric of genius, made out of the common
    inherited material of folk song. It is an example of
    something that is very old but which seems startlingly new
    because it manages to convey deep feeling without
    qualification or embroidery. In the rose, there is no
    incongruence between particular and universal. The reader,
    still more, the singer, experiences what they have felt for
    a person which they themselves have loved. The reader
    attaches the beautiful words and tune to their own image
    of the face and of the person. This they can do, only
    because the song generalizes the emotions of countless
    lovers, high and low, at all times and in all places. Here
    the distinction between personal and impersonal becomes
    quite worthless. Burns is any man in love with any woman,
    yet in the act of artistic creation he is more truly and more
    intensely himself than at any ordinary moment of daily life.
   A Red, Red Rose                         一朵红红的玫瑰
    O my luve is like a red, red rose,      啊,我爱人象红红的玫瑰,
    That’s newly sprung in June;
    O my luve is like the melodie
    That’s sweetly played in tune.          啊,我爱人象一支乐曲,

    As fair thou art , my bonie lasso,      你那么美,漂亮的姑娘,
    So deep in luve am I;                   我爱你那么深切;
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,    我会永远爱你,亲爱的,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry.              一直到四海涸竭。

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear ,    直到四海涸竭,亲爱的,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;         直到太阳把岩石消熔!
    And I will luve thee still , my dear,   我会永远爱你,亲爱的,
    While the sands o’life shall run.

    And fare thee weel,my only luve,
    And fare thee weel awhile;              再见吧,小别片刻!
    And I will come again, my luve,         我会回来的,我的爱人,
    tho’it were ten thousand mile!          即使万里相隔!
             Auld Lang Syne
(written in 1788, Overwritten in 1793 and published in 1796)

   Burns heard an old
    man sang this folk
    and recorded it
    then overwrote it
    which afterwards
    became the
    famous song with
    a Chinese name
        Translations of Burns
   The Roy Collection contains translations of Burns's
    poems in a variety of languages.

   In addition to the items separately described here,
    the exhibit displayed translations into Norwegian,
    Spanish, Polish, Italian, and English; a poster from
    the Moscow 1975 Burns conference, with Samuil
    Marshak's translation of "For a' that;" and a
    broadsheet with a French translation of "Auld lang
    syne," by the French-Canadian Benjamin Sulte

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