Robert (Rabbie) Burns, the Scottish poet and lyricist, was born on 25 January. 1759. Generally regarded as one of the most influential Scots of all time, his literary work is celebrated throughout the world.
Portrait of Robert Burns, 1787
Burns is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic Movement and, after his death in 1796, he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both Liberalism and Socialism. Indeed, it would be true to say that, throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, his work and life have achieved charismatic proportions. Translations of his work are particularly held in high regard in France and Russia.
When I was at school, we studied Burns’ poetry as part of the national school curriculum and, to me, he was as famous as Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley and Wordsworth.
In 2009, he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish Television (STV)
As well as writing original compositions, Burns also collected folk songs from across Scotland, often revising or adapting them. His poem (and song) “Auld Lang Syne” is often sung at Hogmanay (the last day of the year), and “Scots wha hae” served for a long time as an unofficial national anthem of the country.
Other poems and songs of Burns that remain well known across the world today include “A Red, Red Rose”, “ A Man’s a Man for a’ That”, “To a Louse”, “To a Mouse”, “Tam O’Shanter” and the very sad but beautiful “Ae Fond Kiss”
I have chosen my piano solo version of “A Red, Red Rose” to celebrate the life of one of the finest British poets ever to have lived. It is regarded by many to be one of the most charming love songs ever written, full of glorious hyperbole.
A Red, Red Rose.
“ O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in june;
O my Luve is like the melodie
That’s sweetly play’d in tune:
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.”