20 Interesting facts about Robert Burns

Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, is one of the most celebrated poets in the world.

Born in 1759, he is best known for his poems and songs that reflect the life, customs, and dialect of the Scottish people.

Here are 20 interesting facts about Robert Burns:

  1. Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759, in Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland.
  2. He was the eldest of seven children and was raised on a small farm.
  3. Burns’ father was a poor farmer and the family struggled to make ends meet.
  4. Burns was largely self-educated and was a voracious reader from a young age.
  5. He began writing poetry at the age of 15 and his first published work, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, was released in 1786.
  6. Burns was a strong advocate for the Scottish dialect and believed that it was an important part of Scotland’s cultural heritage.
  7. He is best known for his romantic and nostalgic poems, such as “A Red, Red Rose” and “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose.”
  8. Burns was a passionate supporter of social and political equality and his works often reflect these views.
  9. He was a member of the Freemasons, a secret society that was popular in Scotland in the 18th century.
  10. Burns was a keen collector of folk songs and is credited with preserving many traditional Scottish songs that would have otherwise been lost.
  11. He was a prolific letter writer and many of his letters have been preserved, giving us an insight into his life and thoughts.
  12. Burns was an accomplished musician and many of his poems were set to music and are still widely sung today.
  13. He was an avid collector of Scottish folklore and was particularly interested in the supernatural, such as witches and ghosts.
  14. Burns was a strong supporter of the French Revolution and believed in the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
  15. He was also a supporter of the American Revolution and several of his poems express his admiration for the American cause.
  16. Burns died on July 21, 1796, at the age of 37, and is buried in St. Michael’s Churchyard in Dumfries, Scotland.
  17. Burns Night, a celebration of the poet’s life and work, is held annually on January 25th and is celebrated throughout the world.
  18. The Burns Supper, a traditional Scottish meal, is held in honor of the poet and features haggis, neeps, and tatties, along with readings from his works.
  19. The Burns Monument in Alloway, Ayrshire, was built in honor of the poet and is a popular tourist attraction.
  20. Burns’ works continue to be widely read and celebrated today, and his influence can be seen in the works of many modern poets and songwriters.

These are just a few of the many interesting facts about Robert Burns, one of Scotland’s most beloved poets.

Whether you’re a fan of his poetry, his songs, or his political views, there’s no denying the enduring impact that Burns has had on Scottish culture and the world at large.

What is Robert Burns most famous poem?

Robert Burns is most famous for his poem “Auld Lang Syne”, which nowadays is traditionally sung on New Year’s Eve and is one of the most recognizable and widely-sung songs in the world.

The poem is a nostalgic reflection on the passage of time and the memories of past times, and the reason why it is sung to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

The opening lines of the poem are:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne?”

Aside from “Auld Lang Syne” Burns wrote several other well known poems, including “To a Mouse” “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose,” “Tam o’ Shanter” and “A Red, Red Rose”.

Each of these poems reflects Burns’ deep love of Scotland and its people, and his admiration for the natural beauty and simple pleasures of rural life.

Many books have been written about Burns, including his complete poetical works.

Regardless of which poem is considered his most famous, Robert Burns remains one of Scotland’s most celebrated poets, and his works continue to be widely read and celebrated throughout the world to this day.

Feature Image by Scottish Poetry Library