Send some poems to a friend - the love thought that counts!
Poems for the People   -  Poems by the People

Passions in PoetryRobert Burns
1759 - 1796

Burns, sometimes known as the 'ploughman poet', was the eldest son of a poverty-stricken farmer. Though his father had moved to Ayrshire, where Burns was born, in order to attempt to improve his fortunes, he eventually died as a bankrupt - after taking on first one farm and then, unsuccessful, moving to another - in 1784. Robert, who had been to school since the age of six, and was also educated at home by a teacher, had, by the age of fifteen, already become the farm's chief labourer. He had also acquired a reading knowledge of French and Latin and had read Shakespeare, Dryden, Milton and the Bible. After his father's death, he and his brother continued farming together, working now at Mossigiel.

The poverty of Burns' early life, though far from being overcome, had produced in him a supporter of the French Revolution and a rebel against both Calvinism and the social order of his time. His rebellious nature soon became evident in his acts. Burns' first illegitimate child was borne to him by Elizabeth Paton in 1785. Two sets of twins later followed, and various amorous intrigues, from Jean Amour, whom he afterward married.

It was also during this period that Burns' first achieved literary success. Though he had thought of emigration to Jamaica as a possible way to avoid his mounting problems, he published his Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect on July 31 1786 at Kilmarnock. This volume contained, among others, 'The Cotter's Saturday Night', 'To a Mouse', 'To a Mountain Daisy' and 'The Holy Fair', all of which were written at Mossigiel. The volume brought him immediate success.

After 1787 Burns, married in 1788 and having moved to Ellisland with his bride, worked chiefly for James Johnson, whom he met in Edinburgh, and, later, for George Thomson. It was for these men that Burns compiled and added to the two great compilations of Scottish songs: Thomson's Scott's Musical Museum and Johnson's Select Collection of Original Scottish Airs for the Voice. Alongside this work, which Burns did on an unpaid basis, he also worked, from 1791 onward, as an Excise Officer. This allowed him to give up farming and move to the Dumfries. He died from rheumatic fever just five years later, having also published, again in 1791, his last major work, a narrative poem entitled 'Tom O'Shanter'.

Love Poems
Sad Poems
Friendship Poems
Poems on Life
Poetry Buffet
Read the latest Passionate News and discover what's happening in the world of poetry.If you have a question, we probably have the answer in our Frequently Asked Questions section
Every Resident Poet gets their own page, listing all their published worksLearn how to sell your poetry to the magazine or book markets
Links to some of the BEST Poetry sites on the Net!Search our huge database of poems for that special word or phrase
Instant Gratification - and thousands more poems! Join our growing community.You, too, can have your poetry showcased to the world!
Full list of ALL our poetry categories
Learn to write better poetry in our Learning Center!
Browse or send a poem from the classical Masters of poetry
Mix beautiful art with our poetry, and send the results to that special someone in your life
Classic Poetry > Robert Burns > Lord George Gordon ByronGo to next Poet
Robert Burns
Poetry | Biography
Passions in Poetry

Top | All Poems | About Passions in Poetry | Your Privacy | Email Us
All poetry is copyright by the individual authors.
All other material on this web site, unless otherwise noted, is
Copyright 1998 - 2017 by Ron Carnell and Passions in Poetry.