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Lynda Roberts

Branch 142, Dunnville

12 January 2014

A Celebration of the Life of Robert Burns
The Ploughman Poet

Robert Burns, Scotlandís National Poet.  Born in Alloway, Ayrshire, on January 25th, 1759 to William and Agnes Burns, tenant farmers who ensured their son received a relatively good education and became an avid reader at a very early age.  The works of Alexander Pope, Laurence Sterne and Henry Mackenzie fired Burnsís poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration.  He started writing poetry at the age of 15 and became one of the most famous characters of Scotlandís cultural history.  He is best known as the pioneer of the Romantic Movement for his lyrical poetry and his Scottish folk songs, many of which are well known around the world today.

Hard physical labour took its toll on the young Burns who increasingly turned his attentions towards the passions of poetry, nature, drink and women which would characterize the rest of his life.  He fathered twins with eventual wife Jean Armour but a rift developed in their relationship nearly resulting in Burns emigrating to the West Indies with lover Mary Campbell his (Highland Mary).  Maryís sudden death and the success of his first publication of poetry, kept him in Scotland.  At 27, Burns had already become famous across the country.

Newly hailed at the Ploughman Poet, because his poetry complemented the growing literary tastes for romanticism and pastoral pleasures, Burns arrived in Edinburgh where he was welcomed by a circle of wealthy and important friends.

In just 18 months, Burns has spent most of the wealth from his published poetry so in 1789 he began work as an Excise Officer in Dumfries 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.

The hard work this job entailed, combined with the toil of his earlier life and dissolute lifestyle began to take their toll on Burnsí health.  He died on July 21st, 1796 at the age of 37 and was buried with full civil and military honours on the very day his son Maxwell was born.

On Saturday, January 25th, we will be celebrating his life and works at our first Burns Supper at 6:00 pm.  
Tickets are on sale at Branch 142 for $30 per person, all inclusive.  Please join us.

Lynda Roberts, lynda.roberts243@gmail.com  
Public Relations Officer  
Branch 142, Dunnville