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The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns

Book 17
The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns

The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns is a collection of poetical works, the scope of which is as varied as it is entertaining. Burns, the "ploughman poet," could write as easily about politics, history, Scottish nationalism, hatred for pomposity and social disadvantage, and the excitement of having illicit love affairs (of which he had many) as he could about nature and an admiration of beauty. This book contains the complete poems and songs of this remarkable man, with an introduction to and chronology of his life, a glossary of Scots words and indexes of title and first lines.

Robert Burns is more than Scotland’s national poet. He has become a symbol of Scottish national identity whose work is still read, recited and sung in schoolrooms, at Burns Suppers and in concerts all around the world. Burns was born on 25 January 1759, the oldest son of an Alloway farmer. His family led a very frugal, physically demanding life and the young Robert wrote poetry as an escape from these circumstances. By is mid-twenties he was an accomplished writer of verse, publishing his first work Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, in 1786.

His work shows an acute insight into human behaviour, often reflecting his own fiery political views and demonstrating a great talent for caricature and satire. It also shows irony and wit, unashamed romanticism and sentiment, bawdy humour, a seemingly indiscriminate admiration for the fairer sex and a capacity for compassion and feeling for his fellow man.

Burns died on 21 July 1796 but he had lived a full life in his 37 years. A celebrity and a prolific poet, he left behind a body of work that remains undiminished in importance. This charismatic figure is surely one of the best known and best loved Scots.


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