Today is Robert Burns’ birthday. The national bard of Scotland was born January 25, 1759 to William Burnes and Agnes Broun on a farm near Alloway in Ayrshire.
William Burnes was a cotter who struggled all his life to make a living for his wife and seven children. Robert would learn the Bible from his father.
Robert was taught the oral traditions, poems and songs of Scotland by his mother. This emphasis on education led Robert to be a masterful reader and eventually a writer.
Hard work on the farm and a proper education by his parents taught him the importance of the equality of all men. As he grew older his fancy for the ladies became a snare leading to many romantic entanglements.
Robert allowed daily drudgery to lead to a life of drink. Women, wine and song were an integral part of this young man’s life.
With his poems and eventually his collection of Scottish songs he was appreciated by all levels of social strata. His milieu included an array of struggles.
On July 21, 1796 after a life of hardships and riotous living Robert died from rheumatic heart disease. His doctors had advised him to bathe in the Solway which contributed to his premature demise at the tender age of 37.
Scotland and the world lost a rare individual whose legacy would live on. A poet is much like a philosopher who touches both the mind and heart with his words.
Usually, on this planet traversing the cosmos a person is heaped with laurels and honours posthumously. Robert Burns was a man who knew life. In many ways he lived it well within his understanding of life, but it was a difficult life.
It is easy to view someone from history and pass moral judgments on their life. It is more fitting to remember that Robert Burns was a traveller on the road of life with its twists and turns. His contributions to this globe are genuine treasures which should be appreciated.
G. D. Williams © 2012