May liberty meet wi success
May prudence protest her frae evil
May tyrants and tyranny tine i the mist
And wander their way to the deil!
For the past years I have been following in Robert Burns footsteps and reading of the national Scots bard. As I live north of Glasgow I’ve been able to make several journeys down to Burns country in Ayrshire to find the real Burns behind the many myths. Here are some of my favourite Burns photos.
Burns wanted to be a Bard for all of Scotland, not only Ayrshire – and so in 1787 he embarked on travels by horseback across the Borders, the west highlands and further north. He collected songs and poems, to help keep Scots heritage alive. Its not widely recognised but he gained great inspiration from many English poets, such as Alexander Pope and other writers and his letters are written in English. But it was when he read Robert Fergusson’s poetry in Scots, he realised the power of his native tongue. So he combined the force of Scots and the imagery of English. He also knew Latin and French and had been tutored by his father and a young teacher John Murdoch. He was also a great reader.
|Ellisland farm beside the river Nith
|Burns desk Ellisland looking over the orchard
Burns was a unique mix of his mother's ballads and his fathers education. He worded hard, wrote and read constantly. Robert Burns 1759 - 1796
Burns first book of poems published
Oct. Again in Edinburgh and wrote songs for the Scots Musical Museum. Dec met Nancy.
1788. Left Edinburgh and married Jean in April and moved to build a farmhouse Ellisland north of Dumfries. Jean joined December at the farm. Trained to be an exciseman collecting taxes.
1790 Feb. Third Volume of Scots Musical Museum with 40 songs published.
At Hallowe’en composed Tam O’Shanter.
1791 Moved to Dumfries in October
July his brother William died at 13.
Fourth volume of poems published with 47 of my poems. Nancy left for Jamaica in January 1792. Elizabeth Riddell born November.
April given the Dumfries first foot and walk, which paid more.
Reform was happening. John Taylor was arrested and accused by Robert Dundas as a ringleader – ‘of a mob, raged in a riotous and tumultuous manner.’ And brought before Creech. A witness was Robert Graham of Fintry and Alexander Nasmyth was on the jury. Burns asked him to design scenery for the new theatre.
Sent Creech poems autumn 1792 and signed myself Ca ira, a wild flourish!
Creech published Second Edinburgh Edition, 2 volume edition of Burns Poems.
The French king was executed. Burns suffered extreme mood swings and conflicts – hypochondria he called it. 'I often despaired, suffered low moods. The more I was in the position of authority the more I rebelled!'
May moved to a red brick 2 storey town house, Mill fennel,
James Glencairn born August.
Joined the Dumfries volunteers. Sept Elizabeth died. Burns fell ill.
December fifth volume of Scots Music Museum published with 3 Burns songs –
Dancing was independence. Burns died july 1796
|First Book Poems Chiefly in the Scotch Dialect