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Robert Burns. Brian Conlon Peter Chen Samuel Wu Matthew Lomax. A Biography.

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robert burns

Robert Burns

Brian Conlon

Peter Chen

Samuel Wu

Matthew Lomax

a biography
A Biography
  • Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr. His parents, Willian Burnes and Agnes Broun, were tenant farmers but they ensured their son received a relatively good education and he began to read avidly. The works of Alexander Pope, Henry Mackenzie and Laurence Sterne fired Burns's poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration.
  • Handsome Nell, for Nellie Kilpatrick, was his first song.
  • Hard physical labour on the family farm took its toll on the young Burns, who increasingly turned his attentions towards the passions of poetry, nature, drink and women which would characterise the rest of his life. He fathered twins with eventual wife Jean Armour, but a rift in their relationship nearly led to Burns emigrating to the West Indies with lover Mary Campbell (his Highland Mary). Mary's sudden death and the sensational success of his first published collection of verse kept him in Scotland. At just 27, Burns had already become famous across the country with poems such as To a Louse, To a Mouse and The Cotter's Saturday Night.
midlife
Midlife
  • Newly hailed as the Ploughman Poet because his poems complemented the growing literary taste for romanticism and pastoral pleasures, Burns arrived in Edinburgh, where he was welcomed by a circle of wealthy and important friends.
  • Illicit relationships and fathering illegitimate children ran parallel to a productive period in his working life. His correspondence with Agnes 'Nancy' McLehose resulted in the classic “Ae Fond Kiss”. A collaboration with James Johnson led to a long-term involvement in The Scots Musical Museum, which included the likes of “Auld Lang Syne”.
late life
Late Life
  • In just 18 short months, Burns had spent most of the wealth from his published poetry, so in 1789 he began work as an Excise Officer in Dumfries (an irony not lost on him) and resumed his relationship with wife Jean. His increasingly radical political views influenced many of the phenomenal number of poems, songs and letters he continued to pen, including such famous works as For a' that and a' that.
  • The hard work this new job entailed, combined with the toil of his earlier life and dissolute lifestyle began to take their toll on Burns's health. He died on 21 July 1796 aged just 37 and was buried with full civil and military honours on the very day his son Maxwell was born. A memorial edition of his poems was published to raise money for his wife and children.
the social background
The Social Background
  • Scotland was the period in 18th century Scotland characterized by an outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By 1750, Scots were among the most literate citizens of Europe, with an estimated 75% level of literacy. The culture was orientated towards books, and intense discussions took place daily at such intellectual gathering places in Edinburgh as The Select Society and, later, The Poker Club as well as within Scotland’s ancient universities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
his works
His Works
  • A Red, Red Rose
  • Highland Mary (song)
an analysis highland mary
An Analysis (Highland Mary)
  • Highland Mary is a song dedicated to one of the authors lovers.
  • The song uses a couplet structure, with each second line rhyming.
  • The poet describes a situation which the author shared with the subject- Mary- to explain that his love for her shall go on, even without her.
analysis a red red rose
Analysis (A Red, Red Rose)
  • A Red, Red Rose utilizes metaphors to explain the authors undying love of a girl.
  • It uses a couplet structure, with each second line rhyming with the line that is 2 ahead or 2 behind it.
comparisons
Comparisons
  • A Red Red Rose has the same, ultimate meaning as Highland Mary- to make note of the authors undying love for the subject. However, the way they reach this is very different.
  • While a Red, Red Rose uses metaphors to compare- and, as such, attach- the metaphor to the idea of love, and make note of his loves undying nature. This is evident when it states
  • “Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:I will luve thee still, my dear,While the sands o’ life shall run.”
  • This makes the direct comparison to love, and states that his love will last as long as life does.
comparison
Comparison
  • In comparison, Highland Mary describes intimate situations the author had with “Mary”. This is established in almost every line, but is seen quite well in
  • “How sweetly bloom'd the gay, green birk, How rich the hawthorn's blossom, As underneath their fragrant shade, I clasp'd her to my bosom! The golden Hours on angel wings, Flew o'er me and my Dearie; For dear to me, as light and life, Was my sweet Highland Mary.”
  • This stanza does not display metaphors, as would have been seen in “A Red, Red Rose”, though it has the same goal.
his signifigance
His Signifigance
  • He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.
samuels poem death letter to loved ones
Samuels Poem-Death Letter to Loved Ones

Please do not grieve over me

Please do not cry or be sad

Life goes on from what I can see

Just remember all the fun we had

Tell everyone I will miss dad

And that I will never forget them

Not seeing me won’t be so bad

I will be watching over all of you

Don’t mourn over me

I may not be with you tonight

But I will be watching over you from above

I will make sure you are safe and sound

You will all probably miss me dearly

But we will meet again you’ll see

I will expect you here one day

While God takes care of me

peters poem a haiku
Peters Poem- A Haiku

The future is vast

I am constantly waiting

To see what will come

brians poem of cheesiness
Brians Poem- Of Cheesiness

As far as ones life goes on

As far as the seas stay blue

For as cold as the winters snow

And as hot as the summers day

So to shall my love stay

Always and only

With you

bibliography
Bibliography
  • “Robert Burns: Biography” BBC. The Crown (publicly owned) 4 Jun. 2013.
  • Herman, Arthur (2003). The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots' Invention of the Modern World. 4th Estate, Limited. ISBN 1-84115-276-5.
  • “Who was Robert Burns?” visitscotland.com. Partnerships UK Ltd, Atos Origin.