News Display: Robert Burns’ Birthday

| January 25, 2017

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MY father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, O,
And carefully he bred me in decency and order, O;
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne’er a farthing, O;
For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding, O.

Then out into the world my course I did determine, O;
Tho’ to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming, O;
My talents they were not the worst, nor yet my education, O:
Resolv’d was I at least to try to mend my situation, O.

— from “My Father Was A Farmer: A Ballad“, by Robert Burns

A while back, I was lucky enough to have spent the Christmas holidays in Alloway, Scotland, a quaint and pretty village just south of Ayr on the River Doon. Burns’ Cottage, the Brig o’Doon, Alloway Auld Kirk, the old and new Museum buildings, and the Burns Monument, were certainly attractions not to be missed, but neither was the beauty of the landscape — seen this time from the air. A first flying lesson, with loving thanks to my mother-in-law, coasted me over rolling green hills, dusted with snow; Ailsa Craig, alive with gannets and puffins; and golfers braving the elements of a Scottish winter, like seagull specks on a sea of green. From high above and down below, I could see why Robert Burns loved his country, and why the Scots loved him; for he spoke, not just to the common man, but to our human soul and experience — nothing, from a mouse (or a louse), to a church, was too small to escape notice. If you happen to read his lyrical poems, or attend a Burns Night, you will be taken in, deliciously.

January 25, 1759 marks the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns in Alloway, Ayrshire. The son of farmers and with little formal education, Burns became an acclaimed writer of the heart in the Scottish dialect. His works include “For Auld Lang Syne“(now a Scottish anthem), “Red, Red Rose“, and “To a Mouse“.

January 25 is celebrated as “Robert Burns Night” in Scotland and Scottish communities throughout the world Traditional food and fare, including haggis, venison, salmon, and whiskey, are feasted upon, while Burns’ poetry is read aloud.

The following articles are selected from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

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