Robert Burns 1759 - 1796

Robert Burns

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For over 200 years Scotland's national bard Robert Burns has been perhaps the most widely known Scot due to his poems and at least one song synonymous with New Year celebrations world wide 'Auld Lang Syne'. This song has managed to circumnavigate the globe countless times on the lips of Scots before the advent of electricity, radio, satellites or the Internet. To many Burns songs are the mark of his genius of which he wrote at least 373 the majority composed in the last four years of his short life. Throughout the world ''Burns Songs' have appeared in almost every published volume of Scots songs since the 1780's.

In the early 19th century European translations of his works inspired composers of the stature of Beethoven, Schumann, Franz, and Brahms. In the 20th century Shostakovich, Tippet and Britten among others adopted his lyrics into their repertoire as have all Scots composers and performers from the 1800's to the present day. Wherever his songs are recited they excite passion, love and respect among Scots. 'Scots Wha Hae', the words written to a tune ascribed to the Bruce's common army at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314, is a potent symbol of Scotland's national identity and 'Auld Lang Syne' a perpetual guarantee for the moral rejuvenation in love and truth of the whole western world. The importance of this 18th century bard among the national conscience of Scots can be seen from the designation of an annual feast day on his birthday, January 25th, to preserve his imortal memory and celebrate his life, an accolade normally reserved for saints.

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