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ROBERT BURNS, the BARD of SCOTLAND
(1739 - 1796)
His father W. Burns was a hardworking farmer. He knew the value of a good education and he was determined to give his children the best schooling possible.
There were 7 children in the family and Robert was the eldest. When he was 6 his father sent him to school to Alloway. His mother's friend Betty told him many fantastic tales about devils, ghosts, fairies and witches.
At 13 he was out in the fields all day helping his father, and he studied nature closely and following the plough, he whistled and sang. In his songs he spoke of what he saw, of the woods, the fields, the valleys, of the deer, of the hare and the small field mouse, of the farmer's poor cottage home.
Burns began to write poetry in his l6th. His first love song "Handsome Nell" was dedicated to the girl who helped him in the harvest fields.
Life was hard for the family. His father died 1784. In 1788 Burns married Jean Armour she is immortalized in many beautiful poems written by the poet, such as " I LOVE MY JEAN ", " THY BONNIE FACE".
Robert and Jean continued meeting secretly and Robert gave Jean a paper declaring them man and wife. When Jean's father learned about it, he tore the paper up and forbade his daughter to see Robert. Jean obeyed and Robert being offended by it, swore never to see her again.
One of the finest poems widely popular in Scotland "TAH O'SHANTER' was written in 1790. 1793 saw the appearance of the "TREE OF LIBERTY" in which R. Burns greeted the French Revolution but the poem was published only 40 years after Burn's death.
All of R. Burn's poetry shows him to be one of great masters of lyrical verse, warm patriot of his native country. He had always stood for liberty, equality, justice and honesty. His poetry is deeply democratic and full of criticism directed against the landlords, the government officials.
Our reader finds pleasure in reading Burn's poems and songs in the wonderful translation of Samuel Marshak.
Whenever we speak of Scotland, the name of Scotland's Bard R.Burns is always there, as the ever-living, never-dying symbol of that country.
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