(1759 - 1796)
Burns was born on January 25, 1759 in Alloway, Ayrshire,
the oldest of seven children. His father, William Burness
was a gardener and tenant farmer. In 1785 he fell in love
with Jean Armour, because she became pregnant he offered
to marry her, but her father forbid it. On July 31,1786
he published a collection of his poems which became an immediate
success. He moved to Edinburgh and was welcomed into the
literary circles. In time he returned home to farming and
trained to become a full-time excise officer in Dumfries.
As well as editing volumes of James Johnson's Musical Museum
from 1788 until his death on 21 July, 1796 he wrote copiously
and collected works with almost all his spare time.
Burns is known worldwide for the insight, honesty, and expression
through his work. He is honored by the common folk, and
his songs are regularly performed by folk singers both modern
and traditional. Burns was born into poverty and his formal
education was scanty. Although he was poor, Burns read intensely
and came across works of Robert Ferguson that inspired him.
His poems, perhaps influenced by his continued poverty,
were often political and he supported the French Revolution,
which did not always endear him to those who might have
been helpful to him. Indeed there were threats of arrest
for treason and sedition.
Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786)
The Edinburgh edition (1787)
The Scots Musical Museum, 6 vol. (1787-1803)
A Select Collection of Original Scotish Airs for the
Everything One wants to know about Burns - http://www.robertburns.org/
Noyes, Russell. English Romantic Poetry and Prose.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1956.