Robert Burns

1759 - 1796

Robert Burns
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Robert Burns

Poet and writer. Born in Alloway in South Ayrshire, the eldest of seven children of a farmer, William Burnes (1721-84) and Agnes Broun (1732–1820). Although portraying himself as a simple ploughman, the poet was actually a bright, well-read and cosmopolitan tenant farmer, with quite an eye for the ladies.

Burns went to live at Lochlie Farm near Tarbolton and then Mossgiel Farm near Mauchline, before moving to Dumfries in failing health (1791). He regularly visited Edinburgh, becoming a popular society figure. In 1788 he married Jean Armour, and went on to father nine children by her. He is known to have taken several other lovers.

Amongst many other works he wrote the poems Tam O'Shanter, To a mouse and the songs My Love is like a Red, Red Rose and Auld Lang Syne, the latter now sung world-wide at the end of functions and particularly just before midnight at the end of the old year. The first edition of Burns' poems was printed and published in Kilmarnock, commemorated by a statue in the town centre. Burns died in Dumfries and is buried in St. Michael's Churchyard.

Scots, and those of Scottish descent, celebrate his memory on Burn's Night, which is on his Birthday, the 25th January.

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