News Display: Robert Burns’ Birthday
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.
- The Birthday of Robert Burns. (1859, Jan 27). Daily Courier (1851-1868)
- In Memory of Scotland’s Poet: Scotchmen Celebrating the Birth-Day of Robert Burns. (1883, Jan 26). New York Times (1857-1922)
- Robert Burns’ Birthday: Why the Poet’s Fame Grows with the Lapse of Time. (1890, Jan 26). The Austin Statesman (1889-1891)
- Smith, P. J. (1959, Jan 25). Robert Burns’ Birthday: The Plowman Poet Was Born 200 Years Ago Today. Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963)
- In Bonnie Scotland: Up the Highland Road with Robert Burns. (1959, Apr 26). Daily Boston Globe (1928-1960)
- Universal Appeal of Scottish Poet. (1967, Feb 02). The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Morris, B. (1969, Jan 27). Robert Burns’s Birthday Party: Haggis and Fried Chicken. New York Times (1923-Current File)
- Lesem, J. (1987, Jan 21). Burns’ Night Supper: Bring on the Haggis, Tattles, an’ Neeps. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File)
- Roraback, D. (1988, Jan 16). Raise Ye Glass for Scots’ Burns Night Traditions. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- Gross, A. (1988, Jan 22). Those Versed in Burns Are Readying the Toasts. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File)
- Hannah, J. (1990, Feb 04). Burns County. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File)
- Visit the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum to read more about his life and the collections held there, including digitized poems, letters, books, artifacts, and artworks.
- Check out “The Banks of Doon“, a poem/song written by Robert Burns, word has it, on the back of napkin. Which of the three versions is in Manuscript Group 1? The bonnie treasures we have at the Gottesman Libraries, Oh!
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